A Syrian hijab is a covering that is worn over the head and shoulders of some Syrian women but leaves the face uncovered. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, make it a law for Muslim women to wear the hijab. Other countries, such as Syria, offer more latitude, and although most Muslim women do wear the hijab in public, there are some who do not. The term "hijab" can also refer to a more general overall style of dress, both for men and women, that is in accord with Muslim religious teachings and usually is modest in appearance.
There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding the hijab around the world. In some countries, such as Tunisia and Turkey, the hijab, or the fuller version of this, the niqab, has been banned in certain institutions. These usually are public forums such as libraries and public schools, with the rationale being that they could offend the secular population. The niqab covers the face almost entirely, with just a small slit through which the person can see. The Syrian hijab essentially covers only the hair of the wearer, is tucked securely around the face and chin and is pinned at the back.
Part of the hijab dress code in Syria also dictates a modest covering of the body for Muslim women. This usually consists of an ankle-length, long-sleeved coat that is worn over street or business attire. The coats are not all dowdy, and some can be smart and chic. This covering is worn in conjunction with the Syrian hijab. Many Syrians, however, opt for casual dress wear, such as jeans and T-shirts.
Syrian Muslim women might adopt many styles of wearing the Syrian hijab as well as colors, from beaded to lace to multi-patterned veils. The hijab is mostly manufactured from cotton, but also can be made from lycra or chiffon. Mostly, the common theme is the actual reason behind wearing the hijab; the belief that the person wearing the garment is in accord with God, or Allah.
The practice of veiling women goes back to the early Byzantine and Persian communities. The early ritual of covering the hair and body among Muslim women stems from the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari, a verbal report of the Mulsim prophet Muhammad. In contemporary Syria, the Syrian hijab does not seem to be a huge point of contention over whether is it worn, but many people do observe this dress code, even while wearing designer jeans and sneakers.