After learning this unit, students should be able to:
— grasp the structural organization of a story and then write one about their own daily
—get familiar with the social meanings of dress and its accessories;
—become more aware of the cultural differences in communications.
1. Baraawe Koofi
Baraawe Koofi or the Bravanese hat is worn by Somali elders. They also dye their hair with
Henna. The style symbolizes dignity, wisdom and prestige. Sometimes politicians and leaders
mimic the elders and wear these hats.
2. Wahhabi school of thought
Wahhabism (also called Salafism) is a branch of Sunni Islam practiced by those who follow
the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab (1703–1792 C.E.), after whom the movement
is named. Wahhabism is the dominant form of Sunni Islam found in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and
Qatar, as well as some pockets of Somalia, Algeria, Palestine, and Mauritania.
Wahhabism is an austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Quran.
Wahhabis see themselves as adherents of the true, authentic Islam, the so-called original
Islam that existed in the time of the Prophet. Wahhabi Islam stresses the importance of exact
conformity to the rituals of Islam and a literal interpretation of the Quran. For example, while
modernist Muslims regard a Quranic penalty such as amputation for theft as appropriate in
the seventh century but inappropriate for today, when an alternative penalty—albeit a severe
alternative—can be substituted. Wahhabis insist on amputation once certain conditions have
been met. Modernists do not believe that the Quran permits men to marry more than one wife
except in extraordinary circumstances; Wahhabis regard this as an absolute right. Modernists
interpret the Quran as prescribing modest dress for both sexes; Wahhabis insist that women
cover their whole bodies. Modernists believe that democracy is consistent with what the Quran
says about how Muslims should govern themselves; Wahhabis believe that those who possess
knowledge should exercise power.
According to some scholars, however, Wahhabism is properly seen as a reform movement
within Islam, rather than a sect.
3. Dress and its symbolic meanings
Dress can be defined as an assemblage of modifications of the body and/or supplements
to the body. Dress, so defined, includes a long list of possible direct modifications of the
body such as coiffed hair, colored skin, pierced ears, and scented breath, as well as an equally
long list of garments, jewelry, accessories, and other categories of items added to the body as
Dress may communicate various meanings. Dress may, for example, make a statement
about age, gender, social class or religion. Likewise, the wedding ring a woman wears indicates
her marital status, and the royal crown represents the power of a king or queen. The meanings
communicated by the objectively discernible types and properties of dress depend on each
person’s subjective interpretations of them. Further, meanings a person attributes to various
outward characteristics of dress are based on his/her socialization within a particular cultural
context as well as on the improvisations a person exercises when applying learnt meanings of
dress within specific social situations. This may explain why