One of the issues in hijab that is surrounded by the most confusion is the JILBAB. Some sisters assert that the jilbab is not fard and that "shalwar kameez and a headscarf are OK". Other sisters protest that the name "jilbab" is used in Arabic today to refer to a very specific style and type of garment and Allah SWT could not have specified that all Muslim sisters are to wear this and only this type of garment. After seeing these same questions and these same claims come up over and over again, I decided to write an essay setting out the answers to the questions: what is the jilbab? and is it fard to wear one?
For the purposes of this essay we are going to assume that we know nothing of Arab culture or of the types of garments that Arabs may wear. All we have to go on is the Quran and the Sunna, and the works of the scholars who have devoted their lives to study of the Quran and Sunna. After all, Muslims are supposed to base themselves only on Quran and Sunna. Because of this, I will refer a lot to the garment called "jilbab" and I ask my readers to suspend any knowledge they may have of what type of garment is called "jilbab".