The Anatomy of the Hijab

The hijab is a fascinating creature with a life of it's own. Sure, it may look like a piece of cloth wrapped around one's head, but it's SO much more than that! It has an interior layer much like our own skeleton, can transform to take on many different shapes (and heights), and has the ability to camouflage itself according to the colour of outfit you are wearing.

I mean really, what else can do this?!

In terms of it's scientific classification, if we consider the traditional "Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species" (isn't it sad that I REMEMBER this MANY years after I learned it in Bio 231?!), the scientific name for it would be...umm...Hijabisapiens?! Hijabilicious?! Wait...that sounds haram!!!

If we look at the evolution of the hijab since it's inception during the dawn of Islam, it has most definitely changed in many ways. Scientific inquiry would reveal that fabrics have become lighter and more breathable, colours have become brighter and more in line with current trends, and the manner in which women style their scarves has multiplied to a point of "hijab salons" popping up in Middle Eastern countries. Yet while the physical metamorphosis of the hijab has been very apparent, its spiritual essence has remained constant.

Yet while the hijab has been studied to a great degree, there are many aspects of it that the general public may not be aware of. I would like to refer the reader to the image below:

1. The top layer of the hijab proves to be the most challenging (I find) to get right...you really DON'T want any bumps at the top, otherwise you end up looking disheveled. I also find it to be where the greatest amount of what I call "hair flattening" happens, since the force vectors distributed across this point is the greatest. Also...it's annoying when you get an itch here!

2. The sides of the hijab are where I pin mine, and I find that this allows for ample jaw range of motion (during talking, eating, and drinking tasks), and prevents pressure from building up across your sinuses (a huge problem for me in the past). Lastly, this style prevents excessive pressure from the cloth cutting across your throat area...not fun!

3. Most hijabs consist of two layers, something called a 'bandana' underneath and a top scarf layer. The bandana's function is essentially twofold: first to hold one's hair away from one's face, and second, to balance one's face/scarf ratio out by showing a little or a lot (depending on the shape of your face). Some choose to go bright and bold with the bandana colour they wear, whereas others feel that it should blend with the colour of your scarf.

So here we have it. Something that looks quite simple and ordinary is actually quite complex! There are hijabs for running (apparently, they reduce resistance), special swimming hijabs (part of burquinis!), and SOMEDAY one will be made with breathable LUON, perhaps with vents that zip open to allow fresh air inside. Or a hijab with a built in visor for those of us who are active and who enjoy nature!

In the meantime, scientists continue to study the hijab with the hopes that someday it will be classified and understood in its entirety. Stay tuned for updates! :P

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