Most non-Muslim people tend to get confused between Hijab, Niqab, Sheila, Burqa and Abaya, the names used for women’s dress in different Muslim countries for different purposes. Not only names are different but there is difference in their style and form. In Hijab, whole body except the face, hands and feet is covered. Niqab has no compulsion in Islam but is used to cover the face except eyes. Sheila is the term used for the long scarf to cover hair. Burqa is common Central Asia attire that covers the body and face. Abaya is a simple attire worm usually in Arabian countries which is loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress. This dress is much similar to Burqa worn in India and Pakistan.
Traditional form of this dress has black color and is usually known as Black Abaya which may either be a large square of fabric and is usually draped from shoulders. It is too long to cover the whole body but face, hands, and feet remain exposed. Women sometimes wear black gloves on their hands. Some women cover their face also. So, women use different styles to wear this dress. This dress is not worn by any non-Muslim because it is not a fashion trend and it is more a symbol of orthodox Muslim culture or religion. Throughout the Arabian Peninsula and parts of North Africa, one can see the ubiquitous covering for women in Saudi Arabia.
New form of traditional Abaya
Now a day, traditional form of this dress has been replaced by Abaya online, the new form in new styles and colors which has been widely accepted as a fashion trend in Muslim culture because of its exclusive range. The traditional dress couldn’t be worn on special occasions but this new form offers an exotic look of the wearer on special occasions and even bridal open abayas are also available for wedding.