Muslim wear has changed a lot through history. These changes reflect the society, culture and religious beliefs of the time they were witnessed. However, religion and the emergence of a nationalist identity have been the two most prevalent factors governing changes in Islamic or Muslim clothing.Muslim Wear: Through the Pages of History Muslim wear has been mainly influenced by the cultures of other empires and kingdoms. Countries conquered by Muslim rulers also imparted to this exchange of influences on clothing. During the period of time preceding the Islamic era, clothing for both sexes was mostly similar. Some of these influences still persist in the dress in and around the Near Eastern region, including Iran and Iraq. the universal principle of hijab, or 'the veil' was added to the simple, functional apparel of the indigenous population, based on the climate, weather and environment of the region. In fact, clothing worn by rural dwellers and the Bedouin reflect this functionality. Urban dwellers, on the other hand, are more likely to exhibit western influences in dress. However, this influence too has been absorbed into Muslim wear's unique identity.Blended fashions, such as men wearing a jillaba or kaffiya along with a formal western business suit and shoes, are a common sight in urban areas and towns and cities all over the Far East.Muslim Wear: Main Elements Islamic apparel enjoys a unique and distinct identity despite influences over time. Let us look at some of the common elements seen in this clothing:Outer clothing: Almost all traditional Islamic cultures incorporate some form of wrap or mantle. Usually one long, single outer garment extending from the head or neck to the ankles that can be a long dress, gown or caftan, the aba or rida usually has two openings in the front for the hands. The fabric used in making this garment also denotes which region it belongs to. Similarly, the burnoose or thobe is a one-piece cloak with a hood that is worn throughout the Northern African and Arabian regions. The Egyptian version is referred to as the jillaba.Headwear: The imama or turban is the most common form of head attire prevalent. Turbans come in a large variety of styles and even sport a trailing end which serves the practical purpose of veiling the face in case of bad weather. During the Abbasid period, turbans were used by Muslim rulers to differentiate between various classes of their population. Besides turbans, the flat, cone-shaped Fez cap of Moroccan origin and the black velvet sidara, popular among Iraqis, the most common form of head gear is the kaffiya or head scarf worn with a ringed cord of rope on the head called the agal.