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Balkh women prefer hijab over traditional burqa

Monitoring Desk

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: The sale of traditional burqa has declined because women now prefer purchasing modern black veil also known as hijab in northern Balkh province, shopkeepers said.

Women activists also say females not felt comfortable while wearing traditional blue burqa and felt good in black hijab.

Religious scholars also say Islam has explained everything regarding hijab and there is nothing undisclosed.

Burqa remains an important dress code for women to wear while in public for being part of the Afghan culture. But buqa sellers in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, say women now prefer modern black hijab over the old burqa.

Mohammad Ibrahim, who has been running a burqa selling shop in Mazar-i-Sharif for the past 40 years, said the sale of burqa has recently declined. “In the past, I used to sell 20 to 30 burqas daily but now five to eight burqas are sold daily,” he said.

He said hijab was economical then burqa and women felt more comfortable in hijab compared to burqa.

He added people in the city mostly used hijab and most of his clients were from districts and villages.

Ibrahim said in the past he would sell only burqas, but now after growing demand from customers he started selling hijabs as well.

Women’s rights activist Jameela Hasaam said families should allow their female members to wear the outfit advised by religion and in accordance with Afghan culture.

She said burqa has become an important part of the Afghan culture. Hasaam said nothing was mentioned about burqa in Islamic teachings which discussed the hijab used for covering of specific parts of body.

“Sometimes the burqa causes problems for women. For example in summer season due to heat, women face problem in burq while in winter or heavy raining that create ponds and clay, women cannot move easily.”

Mualvi Muhsin Danish, a member of the Balkh Ulema Council, said Islamic hijab and covering of body was compulsory and its conditions had been explained.

He said there was nothing by the name of burqa in Islam but the religion ordered covering body in line with its principles.

He said Islamic hijab meant covering up all parts of the body with no part exposed to outsiders. He said wearing of burqa and hijab was legal.

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