What Is an Indonesian Hijab?

Laura M. Sands

An Indonesian hijab is a style of head covering made popular by Indonesian Muslim women. These types of hijabs are distinct from most other types in that the edges of the fabric used to create the hijab style are wrapped around the head or tied behind the neck. In some instances, the Indonesian hijab may be layered with a cap and a second hijab to create a two- or three-colored hijab layering.

Head covering worn by Indonesian Muslim women is referred to as an Indonesian hijab.
Head covering worn by Indonesian Muslim women is referred to as an Indonesian hijab.

For most Indonesian women, wearing a hijab is a voluntary expression of one’s religious values. Only in certain parts of Indonesia is it considered mandatory attire for women. Wearing a luxury hijab made of fine fabrics or created by well-known designers is sometimes seen as a status symbol for wealthy women wearing the Indonesian hijab.

Many Muslim women choose to wear a basic hijab style, which is typically featured in a solid color and worn in a very basic style covering the head, all of the hair and the neck. Other women, however, choose to wear more modern hijab fashions. These tend to include bolder colors, intricate patterns and may even be accessorized with various items such as beads and pins. Women shopping for a new hijab sometimes even purchase fashionable scarves from non-Muslim retailers and wrap the scarves to create a modern hijab style.

Muslim women in Indonesia are not the only ones to wear the Indonesian hijab. Women in other countries are often influenced by hijab styles worn by women in different parts of the world. For example, some women in Malaysia who wear hijabs may opt to wear an Indonesian hijab or a Turkish hijab. With modest dress being the primary reason for wearing a hijab, most people do not find fault with a woman choosing to experiment with different hijab styles. In places where the hijab is mandatory, however, it is important that any style that is chosen be one that covers all of the head, including the hair, as well as the neck and chest area.

Tutorials instructing women how to wrap and wear an Indonesian hijab are featured on various websites and blogs. Within these, different styles are usually featured, such as those that are tied behind the neck, those that wrap around the head and those that are draped in such a way as to cover the neck and the chest, as well as the head. Precise colors and fabrics chosen for an Indonesian hijab may be according to the wearer’s preference.

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