I captured this moment through my lens in Yemen. Isn’t the cultural diversity of this world fascinating? Maybe it is something unusual for you, but women wearing the abaya are a common sight in in many parts of the Arab world. Some say the origin can be traced back 4 000 years to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia. When Islam arose in the seventh century, the religion absorbed local veiling practices into its culture.
Often the Quranic quote: “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters, and the women of the faithful, to draw their wraps over them. They will thus be recognized and no harm will come to them. God is forgiving and kind.” is given as the argument for the covering.
No doubt, other influences result in a multiplicity of types and designs, different styles and colors. And there are probably just as many opinions and prejudices around this topic. Living in the Middle East, however, I am happy to report that there is much open-minded curiosity towards the abaya. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travelblogs/1170/119014/A+is+for+Abaya,+B+is+for+Betsey+Johnson?destId=361164