Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 34, No 2 (2015)

The Hijab: A Personal Journey

Soraya Zaki Hafez
Issued Date: 14 Dec 2015


Hijab has taken on distinctive meanings according to its cultural contexts—it was part of discussions on women’s rights in Egypt in the 1930s, and women became a litmus test of modernity. At that time the full range of women’s lives was the focus, not a narrow concern about whether or not they wore hijab. Through the Nasser period the hijab could be associated with country women and thus rejected by the middle class; however, it was often worn to identify hajjis, those who had made the pilgrimage that year. This began to shift in the Sadat era as hijab was donned in affirmation of Islam and by the 1980s, with the influences of Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood, hijab had become a political statement. In Canada, it often is associated with Muslim identity. Through the gaze of personal experience, Erving Goffman’s idea of impression management does not provide sufficient explanatory framework. There are many discourses around the hijab and no one discourse is sufficient to pin down the complexity of international hijab-wearing.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v34i2.29230


Bullock, K. 2002. Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil: Challenging Historical and Modern Stereotypes. London: International Institution of Islamic Thought.

Goffman, E. 1959. The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life. New York: DoubleDay/Anchor.

Hoodfar, Homa. 2003. “More Than Clothing: Veiling as an Adaptive Strategy.” In The Muslim Veil in North America: Issues and Debates, edited by S. Alvi, H. Hoodfar and S. McDonough, 8–46. Toronto: Women’s Press.

Lazreg, Marnia. 2009. Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Philipp, Thomas. 1978. “Feminism and National Politics in Egypt.” In Women in the Muslim World, edited by Lois Beck and Nikki Keddie, 278–279. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pickthall, Marmaduke William. 1930. The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an. New York: Knoff.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email:

Privacy Policy