What is the difference between a burka, hijab and niqab?


SOME Muslim women wear face veils in adherence to certain Islamic traditions which insist people dress “modestly” in public.

But, for those who don’t wear such items, there can often be confusion over the difference between a burka, niqab and other traditional head scarves.

Here are two main types of veil: the burka and the niqab.

But what is the difference between these and what other varieties of head scarf are there?

Here’s all you need to know…

What is a niqab? 


The niqab is a head covering and scarf that conceals the face – but leaves the eyes exposed.

The covering usually flows down to the mid-back and may carry on down to the mid-chest at the front.

The niqab is mainly worn by women in Arab countries, but some Muslim women from Western countries also choose to wear it.

What is a hijab?

The word hijab is a general term for modest Muslim dress and also applies to scarves that cover the hair.

This type of scarf is the head covering worn most commonly in the West and covers the head and neck – but leaves the face uncovered.

On February 1 it is World Hijab Day – an annual event that asks people across the globe and of all faiths to wear a hijab for a day in solidarity with Muslim women worldwide.

The even is in its fifth year and aims to “create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other.”

The day particularly focuses on “fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women.”


What is the burka? 

Covering the full face and body, a burka is the form of Islamic dress that conceals the most.

Those who wear the burka have their face completely covered, with a mesh cloth covering their eyes.

The burka is often associated with Afghanistan and, during their rule, the Taliban forced women to wear it at all times when they were out in public.