What is She Wearing? Why Muslim Brides Wear Capes

Muslim bride and groom standing back to back

When crafting the perfect look for a traditional Islamic wedding ceremony, I was considering necessities and traditions surrounding Muslim brides wearing capes. So I conducted my research and interviewed an Imam.

So, what is she wearing? Why Muslim brides wear capes? Muslim women are required to wear capes because they are expected to cover and dress modestly according to religious guidelines. The reasons for wearing the cape are numerous and diverse and vary from one context to another. One main reason is the religious obligation, affirming to religious identity, opposing stereotypes and discrimination, gaining respect, creating a safe space as well as avoiding male attention. It is important to note that the main reason brides wear capes or hijab is due to religious obligation, avoiding male attention and gaining more respect.

Some individuals see the cape as a religious obligation of modesty based on the Quran and the collection of Prophet Muhammad’s actions and sayings. Observant Muslims believe that the bride’s beauty should be protected and only be seen by the male family members as it could be a distraction to men and therefore considered un-Islamic.

The Quran 33:59 dictates that all Muslim men should instruct their wives and daughters to draw their clocks close around them. Consequently, as recorded in 24:31, believing women are instructed to cast down their appearance and protect their private parts of the body and do not show off their ornaments excluding what appears thereof. It allows them to wear their head coverings that cover their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands, fathers and father’s in law, and sons.

The desirability of modesty is further stressed by referring to the contrasting concept of tabarruj. As one can discern from the Quran verses above, concealing a woman’s body is presented as being the modesty that is meant to protect her from harm. It is not meant to oppress or exclude women in the society, but it is meant for safety.

The social interaction among individuals especially during the wedding depends on how the bride is seen by others. The bride’s identity has become one way to conceptualize her culture and religion. Clothing not only help communicate the bride’s appearance but also adds value to the bride, that is why it is important for Muslim brides to be recognized as Muslims.

Brides also wear capes out of personal convictions related to their religious and ethnic identity and pride along with family and social customs.  It acts as a tool against harassment for some women in some regions, adopted before and after marriage, and is utilized for numerous practical reasons as well. Each individual and situation is distinct and it is essential to consider women as individuals who adopt capes for individual reasons.

Brides and all women in Islam choose to wear capes and hijabs because it is an obligation in Islam. Therefore, the women in Islam find a veil, purpose and identity in Islam. Not wearing a cape after hajj is sometimes considered a sin. Every woman in a wedding ceremony is expected to maintain a modest look.

Numerous scholars have suggested that brides wear the hijab as they feel responsible for a moral society and as well it offers them respect, protection and dignity. In Islam, women’s body is considered as a sign of the moral status of a society as they are considered to be the cultural carriers of the society. To maintain such morality, it is important that they avoid attracting the attention of men, particularly of sexual nature.

Women’s body is sexually attractive, therefore, to avoid negative comments and preventing adultery brides along with all women in Islam have to wear a cape or hijab. The emphasis on sexuality normally emerges in their explanations for elderly women who do not cover themselves. It is not a must for elderly women to wear capes as they are lacking physical attraction.

The bride should always wear a hijab because it is the only aspect of being a good Muslim. The form of clothing and the extent of covering has undergone change over time and varies from one culture to the other. These changes of wedding attire is attributed to the demands of time. Sometime brides and women experience conflicts when their behavior or attire does not match up the demands of Islam.

A cape or hijab is also not one size fits all and can vary based on culture and upbringing. Every bride who wears one typically incorporates this piece into her personal style. Adding customs and designs helps personalize them. 

Capes can be as diverse as the women who wear it. Some brides opt for a simple style while others go for a glamorous look. Some Hijabs or capes have ornate headpieces, stones and jewels.

Brides, whether they are wearing a traditional white dress or something more cultural should opt for fabrics that will complement the dress. Investing on a quality cape or hijab is necessary. Color is also essential when choosing the appropriate Hijab. Sometimes brides avoid dressing white from head to toe by adopting a pop color. Other conspicuous colors may not be good in highlighting the wedding attire.

Brides should also choose the perfect texture and pattern. If one is very particular about the color of the palette, changing the texture of the different elements can make a huge difference. There are numerous fabrics and textures. Some brides opt for a satin mixed with 3D flowers or chiffon or distinct weights of fabrics that add depth to the overall look thus making sure that the bride does not look like one giant blob of one color.

Since the cape or hijab is not just about covering the hair but also dressing modestly. There are some extra alterations that the bride needs for adding a lining to any sheer part of the dress or adding sleeves or sometimes a higher neckline for proper coverage.

Sometimes brides opt for having a different piece of clothing underneath the dress for a modest look, but this could be sometimes uncomfortable or bulky. When the bride opt for a full sleeve shirt under the dress, a thin material that has a formal look and matches the dress is the best option.

Brides should give themselves enough time to find not just the right fabric and color for the cape or hijab but for any alterations, lining and slips that might be needed. It is always important to look for the right color or choose the best fabric that is more formal. The bride should look stunning and attractive.

The history of wearing a hijab is a complex one. It is influenced by the intersection of religion and culture over time. The veil is a simple thing but represents the beliefs and practices of Muslim brides. However, there are no definitive religious guideline regarding the Muslim bride’s wedding attire.

Modesty is however pivotal. How the bride chooses to dress during the ceremony is typically determined by the individual’s tastes, husband’s culture and place of origin. It is, however, important to stick to a modest appearance.

In conclusion, a bride in any Muslim wedding should cover her head and hair. Modest behavior is a fundamental aspect of any successful Islamic marriage. Wearing a cape is a simple strategy that makes sure that the bride integrates the demands of her religion into her wedding. As discussed above, wearing a cape or a hijab is a religious obligation. All Muslim brides ought to stick to the dictates of the law.

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