Original Research

Hijab and the construction of female religious identity

G.L. Jardim, J.M. Vorster
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 37, No 2 | a469 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v37i2.469 | © 1970 G.L. Jardim, J.M. Vorster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 August 2003 | Published:

About the author(s)

G.L. Jardim, School of Biblical Studies and Bible Languages, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa
J.M. Vorster, School of Ecclesiastical Sciences, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa

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Thinking of Muslim women, the first image that usually comes to mind is a veiled woman or, especially after 11 September 2001, the burqa (Afghan name and form of veiling) in Afghanistan. This image of prescriptive veiling is immediately viewed as oppressive and as an indication of the inferior status of women in Islam.

In this article an attempt is made to present the different ways in which hijab (Islamic practice of veiling) is interpreted and applied, followed by an analysis of Islamic identity as reflected in Islamic scripts. Personal identity is discussed according to Jensen’s distinction that sheds some light on the different spheres of human reality within Islam, that is: the social person, the legal person and the religious person.

This article aims to present orthodox and feminist views on personal identity that should be informative of the orientation of Muslims within society at large.


Feminism; Hijab; Identity; Islam


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