Fashion with Mariam: The abaya a sign of faith or fashion?

Written by Mariama Jobe

The world’s most expensive abaya was recently appraised at USD 350,000 according to one internet source. This abaya was made of real gold and it was professionally designed by a world-famous British fashion house. 

The abaya, sometimes called aba, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some Muslim women in different parts of the world. The traditional abaya is a simple, black, long-sleeved, robe-like dress that is worn to conceal the female body.  It usually covers everything except the face, feet and hands. 

Nowadays, however, there are distinct styles and designs in diverse fabrics. Some people argued that the new found fashion appeal of the abaya can be confused with the religious symbolism of the abaya. 

Today’s modern abayas are considered by many as too tight, too shiny and  more similar to dresses than the traditional simple abaya. But others find them trendy. 

Abayas were called khimar during the time of Prophet Mohammad (PBU) and were compulsory for all women. The purpose was to guard women from the eyes of strange men. 

Abayas are known by different names such as caftans, burqa, jilbab etc. Their purpose is however the same.