What’s the difference between a hijab, chador, niqab, burka and burkini?

The hijab was originally worn as a gesture of modesty, though some women also use it to publicly identify themselves as Muslim.

According to the Arabs in America website, “Some Arab or Muslim women opt to don the hijab as a means of expressing their cultural heritage.”

In the Western world, the wearing of hijab, which can be seen as a response to the rules of modesty, is a personal choice for most Muslim women, regardless of the form it takes or the reasons behind it. While some women may choose not to wear the hijab, it still garners attention due to the contrasting norms in Western society.

There are various kinds of headwear. Here is how they vary:


The khimar is the most commonly worn type of veil in the West, which covers the neck and head but leaves the face clear, while the shayla commonly worn by Muslim women keeps a woman’s neck and face exposed. These scarves come in many colors and styles and are often used to describe the headscarves worn by Muslim women, but the word “hijab” generally refers to the act of covering up. The Arabic word “hijab” means “cover.”


The al-amira is a two-piece veil. It consists of a close-fitting cap, usually made from cotton or polyester, and a tube-like scarf.


It completely covers the hair, neck, and shoulders, while leaving the face clear. The khimar, a veil resembling a long cape, drapes down to just above the waist.

Chador or Chadar.

Shayla or Shawal. Blouse and trousers, or blouse and dress, the chador is usually worn underneath. It is a cloak that covers a woman’s head and feet. It is often accompanied by a smaller headscarf underneath. The tchador, also known as a chador, is a full-body cloak worn by many Iranian women outside the house.

The face veil known as niqab is worn by many women in the Gulf region. The shayla, a rectangular scarf, is draped over the head and secured at the shoulders either by tucking or pinning.

The burka is a headscarf that is worn with a separate eye veil. However, it can also be worn with a separate eye veil, like a khimar, which usually covers the head. The niqab is a veil that covers the woman’s nose and mouth, but leaves her eyes visible. The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear.

The burkini is a one-piece veil that typically covers the body and face, leaving only a screen mesh panel through which a woman can see. It is often referred to as the burka or burqa, which is the most common type of Islamic veil used to conceal the majority of a woman’s body.

The burkini is a modest swimwear worn by Muslim women around the world, which covers the entire body except for the hands and feet, providing enough light for swimming.