For numerous religions, dress has been defined to include clothing, grooming, and various unique forms of bodily embellishments. It can be a symbol of religious identification, a reference of history, geography and tradition, and the method of expressing fundamental philosophical and religious practices and principles. Dress serves as the basis for an effective means of non-verbal communication during social interactions; it sets the foundation for the religion and is a projection of identity. Religious dress is the most distinct symbolic boundary marker used within conservative religious groups, it functions as a means of social control related to body and sexuality. Dominant philosophies in Judaism and Islam dictates the concept of modesty and guide decisions on dress, which often come from a patriarchal understanding. Religious fashion is tied to modesty, it offers the opportunity for females to critique existing gender norms, and is the thread that connects females of varying faiths.
Judaism is an all-encompassing way of life, and there are specific laws or standards for almost everything to do with the way an individual lives, including dress. Modesty is a staple of Jewish life, and it is a virtue that regulates all internal and external movements, including the manner an individual dresses, sexual conduct and general day to day behaviour. It can be dated back to a version of the story of the creation of humankind in Judaism. The creation myth in the Book of Genesis states, that man — Adam — was created first, out of the earth, and woman — Eve — was created second, out of his internal organ, his rib. She was created to accompany man as his “helper”, signifying lesser creation (Murray 96). For centuries, the story has been the centre for Rabbinic interpretation, and the role of the rib has been one of the main focuses of controversy. One commentary presents that God was purposeful when creating women out of the rib. Modesty is a prime quality of Jewish women because they were born from the rib: a part of small worth and a section of the body which should always be covered. This concept is widely recognized, and it is used to rationalize the Rabbinic way of thinking that women must behave modestly, in all aspects of her life. The story of creation is used throughout history and in the present day to justify male dominance over women. The understanding of the story has shaped everything from modest dress to intimate relations in a marriage (Murray 96, 142). The story of creation is part of a wider influence of Jewish laws, customs and historical geographies impact on religious dress codes.
Depictions of Muslim women are monopolized by a specific, all-consuming image, a concept and a term, the hijab. Veiling has become an equivocal symbol dependent on numerous aspects for its interpretation, as a result of its long and complex history. The Qur’an plainly states women must avoid wearing jewelry and must dress modestly; it also orders that in the presence of a male, a female must dress modestly. Modesty in Islam is open to a broad interpretation (Hussain 272). Some women conceal their full body in public with a garment called Burqa. Additionally, other women cover just their hair in public with a piece of fabric, known as Hijab or a veil. The Qur’an does not refer to the tradition of veiling. However, according to the Hadith tradition, the practice was adopted under the order of a caliph (Hussain 272). A Hijab has a much broader significance than a piece of fabric on a woman head; it is an etiquette that goes beyond dress codes; it defines the relationship between men and women. By voluntarily shielding themselves from the male gaze and the temptations associated, a women’s virtue is protected; instead, she is drawing attention to her religious morality. The hijab has also become a universally known symbol for limitation and conversely empowerment for Muslim women (quote). Generalizations about Muslim females oppression do harm to the principal tenants of gender equality. There are irrefutably women who are forced to veil, or who face pressure to do so opposed to their own religious convictions. A headscarf can represent a choice, a way of showing self-control, agency and an expression of character. Negative attitudes linked to veiling, include perceptions of female subservience and links to terrorism (Hussain 273).
Taking into account the religious beliefs and commitments of the wearers, the style and responsibility of daily dress becomes customary; hence, there is a distinction between the sacred and the secular. Dress codes in both religions can be expressed on a linear scale; it varies from families, to place, to cultures. More conservative members of a Judaism and Islam routinely require that all clothing items conceal the entire silhouette of the body. Modest dress can be motivated to further appreciate their religion, as a means of reinterpreting cultural and religious norms in relation to modernity. Similarities between Muslim and Jewish dress come from a place of mutual understanding since in both religions modesty places restrictions primarily on women. Traditional gender roles have been embedded into the rites and regulations of both religions, subsequently, a particular form of can visually mark them. Changes in the dress often are an underlying signal in changes in social and gender roles often due to colonization and immigration. As a result of greater access to education and wealth provides Muslim and Jewish women in Canada with a social agency. More religious women are accepting leading roles, allowing them to become more vocal for developing policies for a change. A shift in the traditional dress can suggest a change in attitude and beliefs, used to communicate a critique of the existing philosophical system and the promotion of social change (Murray145, Hussain 273).
Religion and dress are closely intertwined and are continually mutually encouraging and influencing one another. Religious expression through the form of dress has long been appreciated as a foundational element of the right to religious freedom. As a function of dress, modesty allows us to see the diverse transformations of religions in modern society. Modest dress can foster exclusive inter-faith commutation between Muslim and Jewish women, who often face similar situations, they are to provide solidarity and meditate the boundaries of modesty for each other. Modesty exposes why some females in modern times take offense to patriarchy, as it as a gendered notion. A concept used to keep women in their there ordinated gender-specific roles. Having equal rights and autonomy can show liberation from a community that has been historically led by men for several hundred generations.