Easy Middle Eastern/North African Head Covering Instructions

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Scarves are not just for Muslims, ya know.  In the middle east and north Africa, women of many faiths wear a head covering.  Aside of being modest, and keeping people's hands off your hair in public places, it is great protection from the hot sun, and drying winds of summer, and the cold winter.

Despite the myths, most women who wear scarves are not forced to.  In fact, the governments and private institutions in many places forbid it, ironically, because they view it as a symbol of oppression and extremism that has no place in school or business.  So if you see someone in a scarf, she is probably not an extremist or oppressed, just exercising her right to physical privacy, and trying to please the eyes of her God instead of every guy on the street.

There are as many ways to wear a scarf as there are women who wear them.  On this page, we'll cover the basic style that is in fashion now, called the shayla.  It is a style using an oblong scarf that is wrapped to frame the face.

Somewhat orthodox Muslim and married Jewish women cover all of the hair including sideburns.  So for this style, they would use an underscarf/bonnet.  This is a tube of fabric, a bandana, or a cap.  Less religious Muslims and Christians generally allow some of the hair to show, and may or may not wear an underscarf with this.

How to Wrap a Shayla

First, secure one corner of your scarf to the side of your hair with a barette, or to the side of the underscarf with a pin.


Then bring the edge of the scarf under your chin, up your cheek, and over your head.


Then bring it back down, and either toss the rest over your shoulder, or bring it back over your head.


Use pins or barettes to hold it in place.

Click here to go back to the patterns menu.

Easy African Head Wrap
Head Wrap for Long Locs
Modern Traditional
More Hijab Scarf How-to's at ModernTraditional.com

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© 2006 Nicole Singleton Lasher

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