It is getting hot outside on the top half of the earth and one of our sisters (Elizabeth) asked what are good/comfy things to wear for summer.
So here are my physiological reasons for wearing abaya (beyond religious ones, which are of course the most important :-P)
I am mostly talking about abayaat that are loose, not fitted close to the body and that have sleeves that are open at the bottom (not closed at the wrist). Also watch the fabric because some abayaat are definitely made for cooler weather.
A-line is a good shape for hot weather because it lets the air flow
- The open bottom and sleeves will create a breeze when you walk that allows your sweat to actually do its job to cool you down, even when there isn't a breeze outside. Mini skirts and blue jeans will not do this for you.
- When you wear tight clothes, your sweat does not do anything to cool you off, you just get wet and sticky.
- The loose abaya actually makes it to where your body is walking around in the shade.
- There is a reason why shade is cooler than out in the direct sun. The ambient temperature of the air does affect your body, but your body is strongly affected by the ultra violet (UV) and infrared light that hits your skin. The energy of these photons causes the cells in your body to heat up (that is why UV rays cause burns and cancer) by exciting them to higher energy levels which increases your body temperature as well as the temperature of your skin. The more skin you cover, the more you protect your cells from this energy.
- As a bonus, you wont get as dehydrated, lol. Because the abaya is helping you to use your sweat productively, you will sweat less meaning you will loose less water during the day (a bonus for those of us who are fasting during the summer months!).
Now some reasons for why covering in general is not necessarily more hot than being naked in the sun
- The above reasons are good for this as well (using your sweat productively, portable shade, etc.)
- Also, your body slowly adjusts to what you are wearing outside. If you are usually naked outside and you all of the sudden throw on more clothes, your body will struggle to regulate its temperature with these new conditions (this is why women you do not usually cover will feel hot if they temporarily wear abaya). It is age old wisdom (from my great grandma lol) that if you wear your coat when it is hot outside, you will get cold easier. My mother use to tell me NOT to wear my jacket until it got really cold outside so that my body wouldn't adjust. That way I wouldn't be too cold when I was INSIDE the house.
- Same rules apply here as in the jacket case. Your body will adjust to where you are no more hot or cold than anyone else. I use to never get cold. We kept our house at 63F all year round and I wore t-shirts and shorts all of the time, but now 63F is wickedly cold for me since my body is trained. Now I have to wear sweat pants and sweaters with my tshirt and shorts. (also amazingly I sweat less than I did before, lol)
- There is no such thing as "hot blooded" and "cold blooded" people. It is all about what you condition your body to do :-)
- Another added benefit is that you will spend less money on electricity, lol. You wont need to keep your house as cold during the summer months because your body is ready for it.
Tips for those of you who are thinking about starting to cover:
- If you are able, try starting when the weather is cooler and then just continue to wear the longer clothes as the weather starts to change. This will give your body time to adjust slowly. (I know that advice is a little late in coming, but inshaAllah it will be helpful for someone! :-D)