A thought struck me this evening… yes, it does happen occasionally! There’s lots of talk in many countries about banning the burqa because of the difficulty in identifying the person beneath and many other made-up reasons. There’s probably not quite as much talk about why Muslim women wear them or the more revealing hijab in the first place. Is it strictly an Islamic tradition? I’ve heard some claims it isn’t so much a religious requirement as an Arabic cultural thing.
I read something recently, I can’t remember where but it was either theage.com.au or news.com.au, in a report about the Muslim riots in Sydney this week. A Muslim woman pointed out that the men also have a form of hijab – their beards. It all comes down to the requirement to show less skin, apparently.
This eventually led to the idea that maybe Muhammed was thinking of the high risk of sunburn in the harsh Arabian deserts that prompted him to tell everyone to cover up. Could he or the larger educated populate have been aware of skin cancer, too? Maybe it was just common sense in that environment. Perhaps sandstorms were also a consideration.
I’ve done absolutely no research on this. I’m just putting the thought out there. Maybe someone knows the answer or maybe the real reason has been lost in the sands of time, but either way I’d be interested to hear some other ideas.