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Arcadia University

Publication Date

Spring 2010

Program Name

Jordan: Modernization and Social Change


This goal of this research is to obtain data that describes how modernization has affected the practice of women wearing the hijab in Jordan. The intention of this project is also to refute the commonly held notion that the Islamic veiling practice is a backwards, oppressive act that is hinders women from becoming modernized in current society. This study collected data through distribution of surveys to 38 subjects and by conducting six in-depth interviews with respondents (44 respondents in total). The survey consisted of questioned that aimed to capture beliefs on the mandates of wearing the hijab in Islam, views on woman and hijab, participation in modern technological society, free choice, etc. The interviews consisted of related questions but were accompanied by some open-ended questions on personal experiences and interpretations of the modern hijab. This study argues that modernization will (1) push some women to wear the hijab for less religious reasons but more so for fashion or cultural reasons and/or (2) allow women to choose to wear the hijab for purely religious reasons to symbolize their faith despite pressure from a traditionally secularizing notion of modernity. This study has found that many women in Jordan are choosing freely to wear the hijab as a symbol of their faith in submission to Allah. While respondents claim that modernization is indeed changing the hijab into a less favorable, more fashionable, “1/2 hijab” and a “wrong hijab” women are still very much aware of its meaning and purpose. While these results are interesting, due to the small sample size and other study limitations, these findings must be view as simply speculative.




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