What Exactly do Women in Saudi Arabia Wear Under the Abaya?

After writing the post on What do Men Wear Under Their Thobes http://delhi4cats.wordpress.com/2008/02/17/what-is-worn-under-a-thobe/

I received some queries in turn about what do the women wear under abayas.  Naturally according to Islam, the muslim woman at least should be dressed modestly at all times, even while wearing an abaya.  In Saudi Arabia it is expected for all women to wear an abaya whether a muslim or not.  However I have found in my own experience whether a woman is a muslim or not, a woman will pretty much wear whatever SHE prefers to wear under an abaya.


You might be surprised to learn that clothing under an abaya can run the whole gamut from conservative dress such as a women’s thobe or jalabiyah type garment to shorts and a tank top.  Because the abaya is long and opaque, in some cases a woman may even wear her pajamas underneath if she is tired and needs to run out for an errand.  After all, how would anyone know what is underneath?


You can easily spot the more conservative woman because while wearing the abaya she may be wearing gloves and socks.  You can safely assume this would not be a woman who would wear anything viewed as un-modest under the abaya.


At the same time, the woman who may be more liberal and open-minded (Saudi or non-Saudi) while she may choose to wear less under the abaya, chances are noone would really be aware of this fact.  Is it wrong if a woman is on her way to a gym and chooses to wear her workout clothes under an abaya?  Of course one could say this is wrong because what if there were an auto accident . . . or that in general she should be more compliant with the society and culture.


Only because I have one abaya that happens to have slits on either side for easier walking, I am careful of what I am wearing underneath when going out in that particular abaya.  For example I have the jeans that end either just below the knees or above the ankles.  I will not wear them with this particular abaya.

  Now IF I had the choice in the Kingdom on whether to wear an abaya or not, I probably would not wear one myself.  Naturally I would dress modestly due to the culture but I’d feel more comfortable without one for several reasons.  For myself, I have always walked briskly and with a long stride.  That can be prohibitive in an abaya.  But more importantly to me is during the hot summer months when the temperatures are in the mid-40’s to even 60 (Centigrade), if one has to go out the black abaya feels so smothering and naturally draws the heat.  I’m also of the mindset that a woman can continue to be an excellent muslim without having to wear an abaya.  And of course, that statement is further substantiated by how many muslim women from around the world have never worn an abaya.

151 Responses

  1. I’m also of the mindset that one doesn’t have to wear an abaya to be decent…but standards of decent vary in different parts of the world so “while in Rome…”
    I wear pretty big, baggy abayas and I opt to have them completely closed up so there’s NO chance of seeing my goodies underneath, I have to slide them on over my head to get them on. Reason for this is how skimpy my clothes get during the summer. Many times I don’t even want to wear a head-scarf when its hot…just the veil under my off-the-head abaya. I hate wearing anything like skirts or dresses when I go out, only pants if I’m walking around in public. I have nightmares of being out in public and slipping and falling while my legs fly up in the air, almost like a slip-on-a -banana-peel cartoonish way. I’ll wear socks while wearing capri pants or shorter pants or skirts so my legs aren’t too obvious if I’m getting in/out of the car or going up stairs.

    I’d been thinking of doing a post like this for a long time, still might.

  2. I remember going out in the morning wearing my pajamas under my abaya. There was a small grocery store one block from the apartment, so I’d walk there if I needed something and didn’t feel like getting dressed first. Even my pajamas qualified as properly modest dress by Kingdom standards, so I wasn’t too worried about accidents or having my abaya fall off.

    It was the headscarf that strangled me on hot days. The scarf was the most uncomfortable piece of clothing I’d have to wear, suffocating and constricting. I think there was a psychological element in my distaste of wearing the scarf, but I always wore it properly- no hair poking out, no neck or earrings visible, either.

  3. I had to laugh when I saw this post because it brought back some old memories. A Christian friend of mine that was here 25 years ago used to wear her bikini under her abaya…one of the ones that she had to hold closed, not a zipped one like I wear. She used to laugh and say that it was her way to be a kind of rebel in this country. Her driver knew and was so afraid that he would be thrown in jail if she was found out. Little did we know that the time that he probably would have been! (Needless to say, she is no longer living in KSA….she hated the restrictions.)

    Personally, I wear one over my workout clothes to the gym and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I think it would be worse to have to undress in the locker room where ‘anyone’ might see me, as I am a very shy person in that way.

    For men, it makes a lot of difference, because if they are standing with the sun behind them…one might be able to see through their thobes! : ) How do I know? I know because the friend mentioned above showed me a picture of her husband, and you could see that he was wearing colored underware! Obviously, his thobe was too thin and too transparent at the beach…actually, I think it might have been his swimming trunks.

  4. Why is black chosen for the abaya?

  5. Oh am I laughing!

    When i lived in USA I didn’t know about the abayas I only read in some stupid (not really) (un-)Islamic book that in Saudi the women all wear sexy underwear and then get together and have a party and show off their undies under their abayas. I though this was weird but shrugged. Then i got to Lebanon and got my first abaya and tried to wear shorts and t-shirt and that did NOT work. The baggy sleeves of abayas force you to wear long sleeved shirts (or false sleeves) and the wind, falling, etc.. force you to wear pants even under long skirts. So I’m basically dressed fully and the abaya is like a coat. But I dissagree with most of you i like my abaya and am not hot in it nor in the hijab. The trick is breathable fabric under and in the abaya and hijab. Of course I used to wear all black jsut for fun in Arizona so maybe I’m more used to it. But of course wearing abaya isn’t nessisarry as long as you have your shape, color, and hair covered then it doens’t matter what is covering it. I just find the abaya easiest to wear compared to the Lebanese coats with their hundred buttons or AMerican’s “amirah” hijab that slides up easily to show your neck or slips around.
    I admit I still have fantasies of wearing sexy teddies under an abaya but I would never do it in public?

  6. I wouldn’t worry about what to wear under the abaya. Half the girls in Jeddah were jeans and don’t seem to mind that people know it. And a third or so of the young expat women rarely button up (or zip up) their abayas all the way, so it’s pretty clear what they are wearing. And if I had to put a number on it, I’d say that 15 20 percent of the expats don’t wear the hijab. It’s as if they asking someone to challenge them. But that’s Jeddah, a world unto itself.

  7. I too have been guilty of wearing my PJs (shorties, no less) under my abaya. The first time I did it, my son had no clue until we got home and I took off the abaya and he was shocked, but he thought it was cool that I could wear whatever I want underneath. If he didn’t know what I had on under and he was with me, I haven’t worried since then that someone else might. I usually like to weat a light t-shirt and capris underneath, but when I’m in a hurry, PJs will do!

  8. Reading all these great comments make me smile. Can you imagine if a woman did wear nothing but a teddy under her abaya and goes out to dinner with her husband….and then has him guessing through the meal what’s underneath?!

  9. Salaams Carol:

    Yes, I was smiling too! Abaya doesn’t have to be all fussy; we CAN keep them guessing what’s underneath:)

  10. This post is getting more shocking the further it goes!
    keep this up, and we’ll all start wearing abaya’s !

  11. Now that is indeed a novel marketing approach to selling the allure of the abaya!

  12. Indeed,the conversations taken a turn for the naughty:-D
    When you think about it, under those modest clothes, under the abaya…even the most conservative woman is naked.We don’t see those conservative clothes anyway so she might as well be naked for all we know. So, in that vein, as long as I have my abaya on while out, it doesn’t matter one bit what I wear underneath.
    I remember feeling a bit like a naughty girl while wearing a spaghetti strap sundress under my abaya and feeling the breeze filter through my loose abaya onto my bare skin…it was delicious. Kinda like having my modest cake and eating it too. Or maybe it was my bit of rebellion like Miriam Mac’s friend?
    But that advice that mom’s always give their kids, “always wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident…”, I always worry when I wear less underneath that it will be THAT day that I’ll get into an accident.

    Now that my kids are getting older, I’m moving from shorts and sundresses to more coverage at home. After a housekeeper was in the our home too, I wore even more.
    Trust me, I’ve had thoughts of wearing something trashy under an abaya…kinda like the eastern version of wearing a trench coat with nothing under it..

  13. I’m confident many of us women in the Kingdom can relate to your comments, SSW!

    And I know we’ve both done similar posts about what women will wear when they are together at a women’s only gathering…in some cases you do wish they’d put the abaya back on!

  14. As an abaya is so ”covering” I don’t why you should wear anything anyway under an abaya if it is so hot.

    Or would you then have to wear an abaya over your abaya?

  15. Oh Aafke, indeed I know someone who wears nothing but undies under her abaya in summer but the abaya is closed – no slits or buttons to deal with.:)

    I love the freedom that a nice baggy, light materialed abaya offers me; I can wear my summery clothes such as spaghetti strap tops, crop trousers etc and just throw the abaya on to go out. None of the layering up that I had to go through in my pre-abaya days to ensure that I was suitably covered from an Islamic view point.

  16. One of the girls on my compound wears nothing but her underwear under her abaya. I think that even shrouded in neck to floor black, I would feel terribly naked just in my undies! Throwing on an abaya over whatever you are wearing and instantly being ready to go out, even for dinner, is kind of liberating in itself, although I occasionally yearn to be able to dress up to go out instead. There have been several times I have thrown my abaya over ‘whatever’ only to find myself at the supermarket in my fluffy slippers….in my haste I forget that people can still see my feet! When we go back to Australia for the summer, the first few times I go out, I feel a bit naked in just ordinary clothes….and sometimes I wish I could just throw on my abaya over my daggy, about the house clothes!

  17. Assalaamu alaykum!

    Carol, you’re telling all our secrets!!! *joke* However, I can’t believe you haven’t posted about this yet.

    I really love wearing abaya. No more ‘fat’ days or agonizing over what to wear. Here, in summer, I do think of my abaya as just a big dress; only the ones with no splits or buttons, though :p I don’t fancy being a flasher at the supermarket! If only they knew, haha.

  18. PS Of course if I’m going to someone’s house/gathering and take my abaya off, I make sure to wear something suitable, haha.

  19. Katherine,

    I’ve actually done the same thing in forgetting to change out of my house slippers and I’m such a cat-lover that my house slippers have kitty cats all over them!

  20. Carol
    Bit of a raunchy post! Even by UK standards.
    Ladies, you do need to understand that us men have a vivid imagination and tend to be visual.
    I remember my dad saying that he liked womens ankles, I laughed then, but it makes more sense now.

  21. I think this post simply took on a life of its own!

  22. Sorry about that then (ha not really) that I mentioned the teddies hehehe.

    After reading all the new replies I MUST ADD!!!!!

    “delhi4cats said,
    And I know we’ve both done similar posts about what women will wear when they are together at a women’s only gathering…in some cases you do wish they’d put the abaya back on!”

    I can’t tell you how many times at meetings when I was just shocked at what women would wear to the party. OK you knwo you’re going to see your best friends and it will be the only time except in your home where you can let your hair down and show off something interesting to wear. They just wear houseclothes that are doudy and some wear pratically see through things. I always tried to wear something interesting and do my hair whenre normally it’s just a bun. But some of them didn’t even brush their hair! I’m thinking come on ladies this is not how you used to be on the streets of USA/Europe walking around with matted hair. SOmetimes we are so used to the abaya we forget to look nice for our friends.

    Also I agree wit the one who said it is nice to know that no matter what you’re wearing you can just throw on the abaya and some socks and be out the door in minutes and it doesn’t matter what your wearing.

    Ah and you poor men making me laugh that you’re reading this then walking around Saudi or whereever and passing a group of women walking and wondering if half are naked or wearing bikinis/underwear……. BUT YOU’LL NEVER KNOW MUUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
    Though i must say perhaps you men would like to throw the guess and wear no underwear under your thobes and let us have fun guessing….

  23. without wanting to sound too risque here if the man is wearing a white thobe on a sunny, windy day you can usually tell exactly what he is or is not wearing underneath it.

  24. Ooooh, not again, Bedu!
    Must visit one day…

  25. It’s evident that this remains a topic of interest and intrigue…the Chicago Sun Times elected to publish this post:


  26. It’s about time you get proper fees for supplying the news, and information starved BIG-news-companies, with interesting scoops!!!!! Reuters no less!!!
    Your blurker-counts will be going through the roof!!!

    At least your gonna be seriously famous! Will make publishing your next book easier!?

    (Só glad I’m on your blogroll!)

  27. Well, I have a funny story to add here. I wore a sexy black fitted sleeveless dress to my friend’s house a few nights ago to go to a lady’s card night. Perfectly acceptable, as it wasn’t ‘mixed’ right?

    Well, when I took off my abayya, the gals were remarking as to why I dressed ‘that way’ and I was laughing and saying how I was dressed for ‘later’ for a ‘private evening’ with my husband (ok…don’t let your mind wander too crazily here…we’ve been married for over 25 years!)

    Anyway, I had no sooner finished explaining that sentence when we saw her husband appear out of nowhere and go walking through to the other room!
    (He did lower his gaze right away on seeing us! lol)

    He was shocked that his western wife had western friends over and we were shocked that he was in the house! (He showed up unannounced!) As we have never formally met him, we all started giggling like school girls.

    Tonight, the same gals were with me at a fashion show at the Hilton Hotel and one of the runway gals was wearing a complete ‘burka’ type dress with full face cover except the eyes in a beautiful lavendar color. I told my friend that the next time I meet her husband, I want to be wearing that outfit!!! : )
    Ahhh, the fun we make for ourselves here in Jeddah over the simple things. One really does need to be flexible and have a sense of humor.

  28. That is hilarious Amer2saudi ! I think many of us have been accidently walked in on by our friend’s husband at some point.and had to make do. It’s embarassing but there is nothing we can do but take it with humor, if we get all huffy it would cause more embarassment than it’s worth.
    My in-laws have a small house and I lived with them for a while and my brother in laws were always just popping in and each of them (including my sister in law’s husband) have each accidently seen me without full hijab….it’s embarissing to face them the very next time but if no one makes a big fuss it fades away…all forgotten heh.
    At least you were wearing something nice! I was always in house clothes!

  29. well I certainly had a not to be repeated experience this past weekend! Our villa has 12 foot walls around it no less and we have an inner courtyard which several rooms of the house open into. However one of the courtyard walls is an outer wall and on the other side of the wall is a small parking lot for compound guests.

    I like to occasionally sun bathe in the privacy of my courtyard. After all, noone can see me. So you can imagine my surprise when I’m stepping out through the door in swim suit bottoms and cropped top and see a Saudi teenaged boy up on our wall looking down into our courtyard. I screamed; he scrambled!

    I’m confident such an incident will never happen again as my husband took care of that. Seems that he claimed to have lost a soccer ball and thought it had been kicked into our courtyard.

  30. :)

    What a good read. You woman all make me smile. You make Saudi and life there seem quite adventurous through this post.

    You are all very special. Keep having fun!

  31. Glad you enjoyed Shameema and welcome to my blog!


  32. Darn it , I knew it I knew it that something like was brewing under those abayas, Next time I will be wearing those x-ray glasses (yes they have been invented).

    Pretty interesting to read all the viewpoints, thanx ladies.

  33. Welcome to the blog, Elginiete in KSA and glad you enjoyed the post!

  34. I was in the KSA last year in Yanbur and we went to the red sea, so I just wore my swimming suit under the obeya with a sarong wrapped around me. Anyway we went to star mart afterwards, and to my horror whilst standing in the isle my sarong fell down!!!!! It was an absaloute nightmare trying to wrap it up around my waist!!!! (it was still tied, it jsut came loose, )so i just stepped out of it and wrapped it around my head. haha. Thank god I was in the sanitary isle where there was usually no men hehe!?

  35. What an experience Dani! Thanks for sharing.

  36. I am so glad to have found this website! I am leaving next for Riyadh week to visit my husband who is stationed there. I have been in such a frantic trying to buy an abaya. Plus a under scarf for the shawl to hide my hair. One question I have is are there “dressy” abayas and “everyday” abayas? The one I bought seems quite dressy. It has shoulder pads reminiscent of the early 90’s. After not seeing my husband for four months, I’d consider showing up at the airport with naughty things underneath. But I”m the clumsy type. I could see myself tripping over my luggage to get to my husband and the the entire airport getting quite a shock! Better save that for later…I am so looking forward to this visit.

  37. Welcome Lori and glad you found the blog too!

    The abaya I bought in the States and wore here also had shoulder pads and was cut more like a long fitted dress than a conservative abaya…and even had slits on the side for easier walking!

    Once you arrive you will find a multitude of differing abaya styles and you’re absolutely right – there are “dressy” and “everyday” abayas for in a sense, the abaya is the woman’s professional uniform. I encourage you to do a search from the blog using the term ‘abaya’ and you will see that I have written a number of different posts on this topic that may be of interest to you.

    Now interestingly Arab News posted last week that the Muttawa are rearing their heads again and trying to pass a ruling that shops can only sell encompassing all-black abayas with no trim or other colors. And yesterday AP had an article about the new and very modern abaya styles (to include leopard print) in Jeddah. Once again it illustrates the contrasts and contradictions of Saudi Arabia. The abaya is here to stay (for a while) and will always provide a source of discussion.

  38. Hey all. Came across this website while searching for abaya related articles. I recently shifted to dubai for work requirements. Few of my collegues are uae girls/women who usually wear abayas/burqas and hijabs. As you can guess, during the course of my stay and interaction with my arab collegues, dressing and abayas came up and I found it very interesting.

    From my observation, I found that not all the arab girls wear abayas, a few of them come dressed like any other girl in jeans, skirts and tops. Among those who do wear an abaya, not all attribute it to religious/social/cultural needs.

    I have become good friends with one of the arab girl and she gives me the various details about abayas. The type of abaya that she usually wears is a ankle length full gown type without any slits, zipper etc. Although its not form fitting, its not that baggy either. In short it fits just right and she looks good in it. Over the course of time, she mentioned to me that she wears only her under garments under it and doesnt bother with any other clothing. I was surprised at this comment, and she even went so far as to lift her abaya up to show me her panty. (All the guys reading this, dont get any ideas, I am a straight person and there was nothing erotic about this.) She is a broad minded free spirited girl who is a bit adventurous. She also mentioned that during many occassions, she came to the office wearing absolutely nothing under her abaya. That is how she always dresses up home. Now I dont know if I will be so comfortable in a similar situation, but then again thats me. As far as office ethics are concerned, no one will ever come to know this and I guess it really isnt an issue.

    What I am trying to say is, although I find an abaya to be good option for the religious women to cover up and be modest, it is not really a must. It all depends on how a girl carries and projects herself that matters. My friend is a very good/decent person and portrays that image well even though she wears nothing or just her under garments under her abaya. On the other hand, I have seen some girls behave really slutty even though they have layers and layers of clothing on their body.

    In the end, it is all a matter of ones thinking .

  39. Sanjana – welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment. Yes; in UAE one has many more options AND choice as a woman in how she wants to project herself. In Saudi Arabia however, the abaya is a mandatory garment for all women from around age 13 onwards due to the culture of the Kingdom.

  40. Hi all, I am back for another write up. Had a good week end and now back to the same old routine.

    As ‘American Bedu’ mentioned, it may be mandatory to wear an abaya in saudi, but I for one wouldnt like to be forced to do so. Cos as I mentioned, no matter what the rules or mandates are, if your intention is bad, you will do so anyway.

    Here is “My Adventure with the Abaya’. I had been to my friend’s place whom I mentioned in the previous entry. A nice home she has got. Although not what you would call a bunglow, pretty well set up. Sorry, I am digressing from the topic of this blog. She was dressed in a chiffon type abaya with light embroidary. When I commented about it and she suggested that I give it a try myself.

    Well why not, so she takes me along to her dressing room and pulls out a plain abaya (similar to this – http://www.2hijab.com/prodimages/abaya23.jpg), which she says was the very first one that she bought with her very first salary. I felt honored. So I don this abaya over my jeans and tops. It looked nice but all the bumps and protrusions from the jeans, belts and buttons were showing here and there. I didnt like what I saw in the mirror. When I mentioned this to her, she suggested I try it the way she uses it, that is, just my undergarments. Again why not, so I go ahead an do that. Well this time, to my satisfaction, no bumps. It felt as if I was in an over inflated floating pod like they use in movie spy kids:), and contrary to my belief, I didnt feel under dressed. And I readily agreed to go out for lunch dressed in that. But being in the sun in that is another thing, I was sweating profusely and praying that I wouldnt end up spoiling this abaya that was so sentimentaly special to my friend.

    In the late evening, when changed back to my clothes before we said our goodbyes, I offered to wash the abaya but she politely refused. All in all, it was a good experience.

  41. A calculated risk is taken when one goes out in an abaya with only underclothes on underneath. You mentioned the sun and in addition to feeling the heat you’d want to make sure the abaya fabric is really obscure and not see-through…and pray that no accidents, rips, tears or spills would occur!

    The UAE is more open and liberal than Saudi Arabia and one does not need to worry as much about the muttawa apprehending one for a lack of decency or modesty.

  42. When i frst started covering, i wore a Jordani style jilbab with a full slip underneath! that was it. Then I learned that the jilbab was suppose to be an ouutter garment to cover your clothes not your underwear! lol

    I use to have a Yemeni roommate who wore pantaloons under all her clothes. I thought she was extreme, but she said it was in case she fell. then I thought she was just loony. Until I moved to saudi and statred tripping over the cracked sidewalks every step I took! I once FLEW in the air and landed a few feet away from our neighbprhood iman and a group of men. My husband immediately ran over and started pulling my socks up and abaya down -rofl- and he tottally forgot to ask if I was OK until the Imam asked him did he need him to drive us to the hospital! lol!!!!!muhahaha

  43. I hear you on the falling or tripping… I now wear abayas that fall at the ankles or maybe a tad higher. I no longer wear ones which the hem drags on the ground purposely to prevent from tripping over it.

    You poor thing – what an experience to have!

  44. I didnt find much difference in wearing that abaya over my under clothes from wearing an evening party gown. If felt almost the same. And the risk of it tearing away would be the same as any other good quality cloth material.

    The issue of tripping and falling cannot only be attributed to the walkways, but also on the type of footwear and as mentioned above, the style of abaya. I frequently see women here wearing these long ones that trail behind them sweeping the ground. Not only does that give rise to the risk of falling, but the abaya gets spoilt as well. I wonder how often they buy new abayas.

    On the other hand, I see these school girls wearing the abayas slightly above their ankles, which is practical and more sensible, as their daily activity would include sports as well. I would say others adopt the same style, unless there is something against your feet and ankles being seen, which I am not aware of.

    Digressing off the topic a bit, my friend offered me a drink the other day, unfortunately I cant recollect the name. It looked like diluted black tea, but had a tangy, slightly sour – sweetish taste. Served chilled, it was great. Maybe someone out there can help me identifying this drink.

  45. Sanjana, I’m one of the women who wear the long abayas. I trip over it, it gets stuck in the shopping carts, and baby stroller, and it’s filthy. My husband buys me two identical ones at a time, because he knows I will destroy them.

    Could the drink be Habiscus? Habiscus looks like a dark purple.

  46. Just be so careful with a long trailing abaya on escalators. My SIL had a terrible experience with her abaya getting caught in the escalator.

  47. and cars too! i use to wonder why mad motorist would be chasing us down. i found out that they believe (urban legend?) that your abaya can get wraped around the tire wa authoo billahi min thaliq!

  48. “It looked like diluted black tea, but had a tangy, slightly sour – sweetish taste. Served chilled, it was great. Maybe someone out there can help me identifying this drink.”

    I’m thinking tamarind

  49. ummadam, and they chased you to warn you and save you from such a horrible end? Aw! Sweeet!

  50. ok maybe i didnt explain it right. my abaya is usually hanging out the door. when this happens it causes an alarm. i never knew why b4. i was like why do they freak out over my abaya hanging out the door. then it was explained that it could get wrapped around the tire a rip my head off wa authoo billahi min thaliq. i’ve never heard of this happening but i guess its possible.

  51. Can anyone explain me why muslim women wear abaya? i can’t understand.thank you very much for your answers

  52. Hi Lucy,

    Welcome to the blog. I have written many posts about the abaya and you may wish to do a search using the search term ‘abaya.’ However to answer your question most muslim women will wear the abaya as it is viewed as a modest garment which covers a woman when she is outside of her home. While the abaya is a mandatory garment in Saudi Arabia that is not the case in other muslim or non-muslim cuontries. Muslim women are encouraged to dress modestly such as long skirts and long sleeves but not necessarily with an abaya…..unless you live in Saudi Arabia where the cultural traditions decree an abaya be worn.

  53. Hi All,

    Thank you for the replies with the name of the drink. I checked with my friend and she said that it is indeed made with tamarind.

    I took up the topic of wearing the abaya with only the undergarments beneath with my friend the other day. It was based on the reply given by American Bedu above. I asked her if she has faced any such mishaps like tripping, ripping etc. She told me that she has been wearing abaya like this since her high school days and in the almost 8 years the only incident that occured was a year ago when the unruly dog of her neighbor decided that her abaya was a good material for chewing, hahaha… Luckily for her, she was saved from any injuries from the dogs owner.

    Just out of curiosity, I would like to ask if there are others out there who use the abaya in a similar way or issues with pets.

    Anyways, the festive season is round the corner here in UAE. So Happy National Day to all the Emaratis, and Eid Mubarrak to all.

  54. Thanks Sanjana for sharing. While I am not aware of any incidents like you described with pet (argh) I can share that my own SIL wears a long “trailing” abaya and she had a terrible incident several years ago when her abaya got caught up in an escalator. Another incident I know of happened a while back with my own husband when somehow a woman’s abaya got caught in her grocery cart wheel! She did not lose her abaya but it was akward nevertheless.

  55. u can wear what ever u wanna wear under the abaya i live in saudi arabia and i wear long and lean jeans i wear tank tops under the abaya u can wear ur panties!! as long as u wear the abaya ur fine!! nothing will happen!!!

  56. You all are instigating again! I forgot where we were posting about the lingerie shops and male sales-attendents, so:



  57. Bismillaah (In The Name of Allaah)

    That’s the beauty of Islam. Just because we cover our beauty and act and dress modestly does not mean we bland and boring underneath?

    We love fashion and sexxy outfits as much as the next woman. We just save that only for our husbands at home and underneath our jilbab, abayah, hijab and kimars.

  58. Hi,
    Perhaps a silly question but what about shoes? Can I wear flip flops or sandles?

  59. @Krys – welcome and thanks for your question. There is no problem wearing sandles, flip flops or open-toed shoes under an abaya.

  60. Can’t speak for other women but…. edible underwear.

  61. ROTFLMAO!!!!!

  62. These comments are hilarious!!! I live in TX (well until last week when I moved to Saudi:(.. ) and I have worn the abaya for 6 years now…
    I would have to say, never had any of these crazy incidents.. I did have one of my longer ones get wrapped in the shopping cart wheel, but I just yanked it out.
    And I do wear skimpy things underneath because it is HOT and HUMID in Houston. Usually I wear jeans on the bottom, in case it flies up or for fear of exposure when I get out of my car, etc. But, on top…that is a different story?
    My sister who also wears abaya tends to wear her PJs a lot, even when going grocery shopping.
    One incident that I do remember… I went to pick up my hubby from the airport after he was away on a business trip and dressed rather scandalously under my abaya. I guess in my hurry and excitement I grabbed the wrong abaya…and ended up with a split on the side kind. So basically I was walking through the airport holding it shut hoping my BARE legs and micro mini wouldn’t show!! The worst was in the parking lot when the entire thing flew up. But, thankfully, no one saw.

  63. @TX Gal – If you do not mind my asking, are you American or from another background? I enjoyed hearing of your experiences and look forward to your views now that you are in Saudi.

  64. American Bedu-

    Yes I am American, born and raised. My mom came from a Pakistani background. My dad’s parents were Indian, Burmese, and South African. And, my husband’s parents are Arab (Syrian). So, I guess I’m a total hybrid mixture type deal.:)
    I have been in Saudi for 2 weeks now; Al Khobar/Dhahran to be exact. Its very liberal here compared to the other cities…from what I have observed, heard and from what I read here.
    I feel so out of place and lonely here. I make my hubby work from home so I don’t go insane.

  65. @TX Gal – thanks for the info. So many of us are “hybreds” these days! Yes; Al Khobar/Damman is much more open and liberal than Riyadh and Nej’d.

    If you have not done so yet, I encourage you to join the yahoo newsgroup [email protected] where you will likely meet others from the same area of Saudi and learn about activities there.

  66. Thanks American Bedu! I joined the group?

  67. Well!! I was feeling really tiered and sluggish this morning……(from entertaining last night) …….and wondered how I was gonna liven up today!! And then I came across this site..which had me lol…..and all I was looking for was the arabic of ‘salmon’!! U all really cheered me up with all the ‘abaya antics’!! So glad to have found u guys!
    We moved to Saudi 6 years ago…. I loooove the ‘freedom’ of the abaya!!! Alhumdulilah, no “incidents’!!! But definitely freedom underneath it, with no-one knowing is ratehr exhilerating!!

  68. @Britishbedu – welcome and thank you for your enjoyable comment!

  69. I got outta bed early…esp. to allow myself time to come back to this site!! And then the computer froze!!!! So now just time for a quick comment b4 lunch!!
    But It is gd to hve found this site …Iam surprised at myself at not having found u earlier…..! Oh well…better late than never….
    was reading on how u guys met, Americanbedu….was just like out of a Mills and boon romance…which I read all thru summer when I was 15!!!!
    My lifelong love and I met at the aerport……

  70. @Britishbedu – thank you so very much! I’m glad you enjoy the blog and how hubby and I met. I always tell folks we are the two least likely expected to meet let alone fall in love…

  71. This is a great post, wit hilarious comments. In all my time in Saudi, I ‘ve had one friend who claimed to go out wearing only her abaya and undies..we were in high school then ..and most of us didn’t believe her…. we were scadalised alas we were young and she was know to make up stuff to attract attention.
    A decade later at a teachers meeting at work, as we were settling in and taking off our abayas one of teachers of sitting with her abaya not making a move and it was quite hot. When I asked her why she was n’t taking it off she said she wasnt appropriately dressed,..when I pushed her further she said Im only in my undies.. That’s the first time I actually met some one who did that! My boss hates it when we keep our abayas on as its only ladies so she came and personally asked the teacher to take it off ..leading to a very awkward moment….I personally feel that it if ur wearing undies u might end up with VPL if the abaya happens to stick to you due to wind the wind or just moving…and ive got a bad feeling that *some* men are able to tell the difference..

  72. @daydreaming – welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment. It sounds incredible to imagine that a woman would choose to go to work dressed inappropriately under her abaya!

  73. I can understand wearing something pj like or undie like if just popping out for some bread or run the kids to school (not likely in Saudi but you understand)…but if your going to be out for a significant amount of time..or in a setting in which “anything” can happen…why would you put yourself in a situation where “all” could be revealed…:)

    Murphy’s Law #476 Protect your “ass”ets at all times

  74. Increadible bedu? If I had to wear an abaya in the searing heat you should be relieved if I actually went for the trouble to put on underwear…?

  75. I’m imagining Aafke in her abaya minus underwear… and meeting the haia and smirking at him …:-) sorry probably innapropriate here but still i couldn’t help it

  76. I just wear a very thin, cotton dress – like those cheap Indian ones.

  77. I have always wondered about wearing an abaya in the sweltering heat, and also, is there any wavering of rules on the beach? What do Saudi women wear on the beach and in the water?

  78. @Niamh – welcome and thanks for your query.

    I think you’ll enjoy reading this earlier article I had written on the topic of Saudi women and whether they swim:


    Best Regards, American Bedu

  79. saudi women are very open for real sex but they have meny barriers to act as they like. i had the chance to have sex with a saudi woman in 1998 at jeddah.
    i saved my life fortunatly.
    but saudi people could not find me and unfortunately she was beheaded.
    i had a connection with her only few days.
    saudi rules should be changed

  80. Salam Alikum everyone,

    I am new to this site and found this accidentaly while rumaging the net for other articles. Out of boredom, I read through the posts and found it interesting. Infact, I can even relate to this.

    I am in my early 20s and hail from one of the countries in the arabian peninsula (for the sake of anonymity, lest some muttawa gets agitated). I usually wear only my undergarmets beneath my abaya while going out, be it shopping, meeting friends or for work. I have been following this through my college days. I havent had any accident till date and the chances of me doing a back flip and somersault is very rare, so I dont worry about exposing myself. As far as VPL is concerned, if you choose your innerwears properly, you can avoid it as well.

    I dont understand the obsession behind drapping oneself in layers and layers of clothes in the hot and humid weather. I travel to other parts of the world and quite enjoy not having to wear an abaya. I am totally confident in a tshirt and jeans.

    May I also add that the post above this is totally irrelavant to this topic.

  81. Definitely there is a lot of freedom as to what u may wear under an abaya. However I was disappointed to find very unfriendly fabric used for abaya’s (apart from its black colour), its synthetic, thick and unbreathable all the time.

  82. @Ari,

    A lot of women like to have their abayas made so they can select an obscure fabric that still breaths.

  83. I love wearing the abaya. Back in the states, I was a coat- aholic. I had a coat in every color and style. Abayas are my new obsession. In only 8 months, I have well over 25 different abayas, all black, all wonderful; and the best part is that I don’t have to worry about what I wear underneath. I love it! It’s going to be tough when I go back to the USA in August.

  84. You have a unique perspective Laura. I’m glad you enjoy the abaya. I do not even know any Saudi women who own as many at one time as you! (smile)

  85. Hi….i just came across your website while searching about Henna. You know a few years back my sister and I were invited to dinner by some lady friends from saudi arabia. Since it was an all women’s gathering, my sister and I decided to wear something a bit conservertive…classic not dowdy and not revealing at all. When the other ladies arrived and removed their abaya to hang in the cloakroom…..the surprise was on us (we don’t use abaya in our country) because they were all beautifully dressed…not in ballgowns or anything shiny like what most people say they like, but in the most classic and beautifully cut clothes and accessories, beautiful modern jewellery and designer bags and shoes…..there were those in tank tops and pants, short skirts….the latest designer clothes….they say that’s how they dress daily…not designer everyday but tanks and well cut pants..I read somewhere on the net that .they are the most fashionable ladies in the world…and they look after themselves well. Even under their abaya they leave their long hair loose in the back of the abaya…(In my country the ladies tie up their hair before covering it)……they are so wellgroom…in the end my sister and I were the most covered in our dressing than they were…that was so funny!!!

  86. Sorry…I just read Fatima’s comments about wearing abaya…..In my country we do wear abaya too. same as the arab ladies….here the ladies tend to use it for religious gatherings etc and true they use it like its a long dress eg the ones that has no front openings or back and side slits…the most one would use with the undergarments is a black slip so the abaya does not get stuck to your legs when one walks….the front opening abaya, we wear with long pants…other than that in my country we dress normally everyday…covered…pants and long sleeve tops are fine too or colored abaya….

  87. Welcome Marla and thanks for sharing! What country are you from?

    Yes, the Saudi ladies can be exquisitely attired under the abaya!

  88. Well… I am from Saudi as well, guess theres no harm in revealing that. I wear abayas that have no front openings or side slits, without any designs or embroidery. It isnt form fitting nor is it those baggy types. The style is the same weather I am going for work or a religious gathering. And I am not in the habit of taking off my abaya when visiting friends regardless of whether I am wearing regular clothes or just my undergarments, and ofcourse there is no compulsion in that regard.

  89. Thanks for sharing Fatima. I am surprised to hear you do not remove your abaya when visiting friends though. As long as it was a woman’s gathering, the abayas went off quickly among my Saudi family.

  90. It might seem strange that I dont remove my abaya, but it has always been like that from my childhood. Plus it would be impossible to remove the abaya while wearing just my undergarments. I dont remember if I was ever asked to remove my abaya, and there are atleast two of my friends who never remove theirs either in a family gathering.

  91. Thanks for responding Fatima.

  92. I think its common; I, too, do not remove my abaya (even when asked to).

    I feel comfortable in it. however, I have never been in undergarments only under the abaya. Usually home clothes or tshirts and jeans. But there is nothing no restrictions on what one can wear under the abaya,

  93. Ya’ll have me curious now as to how many women, particularly in Saudi, prefer to remain with the abaya on – even if at a women only gathering.

  94. Most of the gathering I go to, women prefer to be in abaya, execpt at weddings.

    Recently I have to a cultural function where people wear their country’s tradional clothes so those women of course were not in abaya but the others were still in it.

  95. Now that you mention that, last year I attended a wedding in Riyadh where I saw many girls who did not remove their abayas. Two or three of my close friends dont remove it as well, although I dont know if they like me, wear just their undergarments beneath.

  96. I know that at some weddings where a woman goes to make a presence but does not stay for the whole time may wear a “wedding” abaya. These are abayas that are more formal than the ones worn day-to-day.

  97. All this talk about abayas is bringing out the fashionista and textile technologist in me! I imagine it would be fun to design one that is aesthetically pleasing, breathable, allows for a wide range of movement, and is very comfortable in heat. Oh, and to design workout underclothes in case someone wanted to play sports in an Abaya. The challenge of this has me all excited just thinking about it!:) Do women play sports, workout, etc. in an Abaya?

    I think if I ever wore an Abaya, I would probably wear either underwear and/or something very light and flowing like a sundress/maxidress/loose trousers. As for the top, whatever allows me to move easily, such as a t-shirt or just a bra, etc. I would not want to wear denim(jeans, etc.) underneath an Abaya in that heat!!! I don’t like wearing jeans in about 90F/32C or hotter weather no matter where I am. It’s just not comfortable as it doesn’t allow for enough air circulation (for me, at least)!!!

  98. @Strangeone – You and Aafke need to connect! She has designed and made some exquisite abayas!

    In regards to abayas when working out, I am aware of women wearing them to walk outside during the cooler days. You’ll see many near PSU and on King Abdullah Road (Pregnant Lady road).

    It would be wonderful to be able to acquire custom abayas geared for the heat yet are also non-see through.

  99. I would love to see Aafke’s abaya designs. Where can I see them?

    There are many abaya designs made for the summer and winter too sames as thobes.

    I remember when my British friend went to Amerca and married an American, she sent me a photo. They were travelling the States and it was in winter. In the photo she sent me, she was wearing an abaya made from demin material and her new husband was wearing a thobe of the same kindl. It was a matching set! They looked cute together…

  100. Never wear a wrap around abaya…biggest mistake ever.

    I only wear abayas to the mosque in Ramadan or Friday prayers. However in the KSA, I remember purchasing new ones that looked lovely, stylish, and elegant. There was something exquisite about the black garment that intrigued me, so I decided to go full out, and dress like a KSA women when I was there for vacation. I went out to the Cornish (beach area) with a couple of friends in Jeddah one night, where the tall fountain sits at the center (breath-taking)! Its was around magrib-evening time, and people were getting comfortable as the sun was setting down. There were many interesting activities to do- ATV, horseback. So I asked one man how much for an ATV ride, and he said “Not for women”. So I protested for a while, and he finally let me have one.

    I got on the ATV, pulled up my abaya, and started riding. I didn’t realize how hard it was. I rode for a while, and when I become comfortable enough I started to speed. At one point I hit a rock that hid under the thick sand and I went flying into the air. It was a hard hit, and I lay on the ground for a good minute paralyzed in my thoughts. An old man was brushing sand off my face, screaming for help. Eventually an ambulance came by and I there where three men looking down at me. I didn’t realize my abaya was fully open and that the bottom was entirely ripped. Thankfully I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I told them I was fine, and got up and started back to were my friends were sitting. The men asked me if I were okay, and I said yes. The man who allowed me to ride the ATV was being yelled at, because I was a girl, and I couldn’t do dangerous things. I was in too much pain for any arguing, but it was hilarious to see the look on my friends faces when they saw me.

    The lesson I learned: Abayas are worn for elegance, and beauty, stick with khakis for any activity deemed to dangerous for a “girl”.

  101. Aafke has some abaya designs on her blog http://www.wordpress.com/clouddragon I’ve no doubt you can correspond with her directly too. Just click on the Aafke Art icon which is on the right side of my blog.

  102. Thanks for the link. I will look into it.

  103. Aafke’s site seems to be down or moved.

    Error message: “page not found”.

    Was really hoping to see her abayas…

  104. It must be a temporary thing. Her site is not down.

  105. What do you guys mean by you guys sometimes wear safely because you dont want to get into an accident. What do you mean by accident????? Oh and i’m 13. Im going to saudi with my parents soon. DO i have to wear an abaya?

  106. Oh ive been to saudi before. Around when i was 7-9 for 2 years. I wore an abaya to be just like my mum. But i didnt cover my hair. I had long blonde hair and blue eyes. And i always had people staring at me… IS it because i wasn’t covering my hair/face or because i was a small girl or why? I saw lots of other saudi girls who were liek 5 or 3 who had abayas on

  107. and lots of people here are like talking about women working here.??? i thought women werent allowed to work.

  108. Nice post and funny replies! I really enjoyed them! I can imagine how the “abaya” topic has raised all those naughty thoughts LOL
    Before I talk about my experience with the abaya as a Saudi woman, I want to tell you all the story of the “black” abaya since some here are wondering “why black?”

    Well…many hundred years ago, there was a fabric business man, who used to sell “hijabs” and “abayas” in all colors to women. After a while he ran out of all colors as women would only buy the colorful fabrics.
    He complained to one of his friends and he advised him to seek the help of a famous poet called Rabee’a ben Amer, who has been in isolation to worship Allah. . He asked him to do something to help him sell those black abayas and fabrics.
    The poet started reciting one of the most beautiful poems in Arabic about a beautiful woman wearing “black”
    This is my modest translation of the first stanza:

    Tell the beauty in black…what have you done to a sincere monk and worshiper?
    He had been preparing himself for praying until you stood at the door of the mosque.
    Return his prayer back and his fast..And for God’s sake, don’t kill him (with your beauty) ..

    I know this is a very poor translation, but I just thought of sharing the idea of the story with you…
    Of course, after that poem was well known, people started saying the monk and poet “Amer” fell in love with a woman, who made him forget about all his prayers:) The rumor spread and all women were crazy to get black fabric for their abayas and hijabs:)

    As for me, I like to wear stylish, trendy, and simple clothes. I wear whatever I want under my abaya, and that is the beauty of the abaya. You get the best of both things: being decent in public, and at the same time dressing up fashionably among women.
    When I go to work, I dress up very elegantly and the abaya gives me this freedom because once i am at work, I take it off and enjoy the feeling of being beautiful and stylish.

    But here is something many stylish Saudi women do; they have an abaya for every occasion. For instance, I have an abaya for malls (it is usually very simple without any embroidery), i also have an abaya for work, an abaya for parties, and an abaya for weddings.

    The thing that makes me really sad is seeing many young Saudi girls dress up in a very shabby and untidy way under the abaya….I don’t know why the level of elegance is decreasing among some of our young gals.
    I believe that a true woman dresses beautifully for herself; not for a man or for the society only.

    So with or without the abaya, women should celebrate their beauty and femininity everywhere they go.

    Thanks, Carol:)

    Maha Noor Elahi

  109. Maha,

    Thank you for sharing the legend of the black abaya. That is the first time I’ve ever heard that story! The words of the poem are beautiful and I can just imagine it in Arabic. There is truly no poetry like Arab poetry.

    Like you, I had so many abayas in Saudi for all the various occasions from the work abaya to the wedding abaya and much in between!

  110. I really enjoyed reading the posts on this blog. I will be travelling to Khobar, Saudia Arabia next week for the first time to visit my husband’s family. i am nervous!!

  111. It looks like I will be moving to Khobar in the spring and I’ve been looking at Abaya fashions on line. Most of them are made from Crepe or Polyester. Which is the best fabric for an Abaya? Usually Cotton, Linen or Rayon are best for hot climates, but I haven’t found any Abays made from these.

  112. i guess most of them who have commented above are kafirs .
    First of all ,abays are not TRADITIONALand a dress (some thing of beutification) allah tala commaned in quraan to wear some thing on a regular dress to conceal the regular dress or beauty without revealing the beauty to nonmehram..isnt it astonishing that how people see it today making it daily dress and well shiatan plays a role in making every thing seem good that which is prohibited in islam.. TO the women who wear just undergarments i wonder if it reveals her body or exposes it .. and unfortunately women in nonmuslim countires wear it when they go out side over thier regular dress keeping the real meaning of abaya…..according to quraan and sunnah

  113. Hi guys,

    It may have been covered though there are too many posts to read through.

    My wife wants to know if she is permitted to wear a bikini or for that matter go topless in our backward here in Saudi.

    Cheers Hamster

  114. Hello all Abaya Club members, I am in Saudi now and it is already hot in May. I have an abaya from a friend, which is a bit short and small on me. Reaches 25cm above my feet. I watch to wear long and wide trousers under, but yet ppl stare at my feet. I went out looking for an abaya for me, but I gave up. They were either too large and heavy, or too small and almost always heavy. Is there a place known to anyone of you that I could find pure cotton / linen / silk / viscose / rayon or blend or blends of any of these natural fibres available in Jeddah or Riyadh please? Or a fabric shop? All I see is shops for men, when I look for a taylor or fabric shop. I am ready to sew it my self with hand stitches!
    Thank you!

  115. Gwneff, advise on where you are and one of us can guide you to specialised abaya markets.

  116. A bit late but still a request from “angel” to guide to the verse that says women must wear an abaya on decent/modest clothing?

  117. For three years,I have been working in Armed Forces Hospital Southern Region in Saudi Arabia. I am a Filipina married to an American . Currently I am here in PI and working on getting my papers ready for me and my kids to join my husband in Saudi Arabia soon. As much as I hate the cultural differences, and personal experience on cruelty and disrespect from Saudi Nationals, I’d still say , Saudi Arabia has done good for me not to mention those that I wish to forget. The ABAYA has been a part of me too. I have lots of pictures of myself wearing it in occasions. If I were to make a choice I will never wear one, But I respect the culture of the country so I am just making most of it and enjoying the chance to be able to wear one.

  118. Hi pugginggirl, I like your comment very much. Is it ok if I request you for email contact? I am not sure if american bedu can do something about this request without publicizing out email ids.

  119. Hi Fatima , I don’t know how to do that either, and I don’t know if I am allowed to give you the url of my blogsite for you to be able to be in contact with me… thanks for liking the comment tho.. and to AmericanBedu, I wish I will have a chance to meet you in Saudi Arabia.

  120. salaamzz

  121. The abaya is another way for men to control women in Saudi arabia, it is ridiculous! Let women drive, let them wear what they want, let them express themselves through FASHION!!

  122. This will come Christina, in time.

  123. ‘This will come Christina, in time’

    I really HATE that expression. No, it will not come ‘in time’ it will ONLY come when women get the courage to stand up for themselves and what they want. I’m glad that there are brave women that are still driving after the initial ‘women’s driving day’. Now they need to have some ‘Slut Walk’ protests like Indonesia and some other countries had and then they can start wearing what they want to wear.

  124. Holy sinner, I think no verse was given because there is no such verse, the Quran merely states modest dress, covering the breasts, down to the knees.
    So any modern sundress is really modest enough.
    This whole ”black shroud of death thing” has been invented by men to subdue women. And it is always easier to enforce insanity if you can claim it’s ”God’s Will”…..

    I think this whole invisible-friend/god-concept was invented so some people who want to be in charge could enforce nonsensical ideas on other people without having to put too much effort into it.

    And why should anyone ”respect” such a ridiculous idea?
    And it isn’t even culture! For the largest part of KSA it was enforced by force on the real cultures of Saudi Arabia by the small but backward Bedouin culture of the rulers.

  125. Hello gals! What a good read! THANK YOU for all your insights and funny stories!
    I’m American, and will travel to Riyadh with my husband in January. It’ll be a short stay, just a week for a conference. So I was wondering… what do I need to bring with me to be decent in public (from the local POV, of course)? Do I have to buy abaya in US? If so, can it be something like this http://www.ndafashions.com/store/index.php/women-s-clothing-3/women-s-abayas/middle-eastern-abayas/blue-abstract-abaya.html ?
    Do I have to wear something on my head as well?
    Thank you for your help!:)

  126. I live in Jeddah which is more liberal than Riyadh- but yes that is an abaya- though in Riyadh they typically where the more conservative tent-like, non-embellished model. But I think you’ll be fine with that. The nice thing about an abaya- is you really don’t need to worry about what else to wear. In Jeddah, at least- women who are doctors or who work in hospitals often where button-upped lab coats over clothes that cover their legs- either trousers or a long skirt. As I understand it many non-medical women wear them as well because they want an alternative to an abaya. Most abayas come with a matching scarf. I don’t cover my hair (unless it’s a bad hair day or I’m all bedazzled for a wedding) but I wear my scarf just around my neck “just in case”.

    If you are going to be invited to any ladies only events in a home- bring something dressy. They dress up more here. Enjoy!

  127. I am a Muslim American in Riyadh. I love the abaya because of the fact that its so easy to wear whatever underneath whether it be pajamas or shorts. I have worn both under the abaya.

  128. Slmalikum 2awl sisterz…dis is my 1st visit 2 american bedu…I’m frm the south…during my trips 2 saudi I hv seen women beautifully dressed in the abaya…I admired them and this led me 2 purchasing 1 for myself so I can also don this beautiful dress…I was very shocked 2 read the various posts.posted by different sisters….its sad 2 note that sisters don the jilbab,the dress of the sunnah,but their hearts desire and love the dress of the kuffar…didn’t Nabi صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ mention something to this effect;that whomsoever you love,you will be raised up with on the day of qiyamah???I hope the sisters will undrstnd and value their hijab..so many sisters around the globe are giving so much of sacrifice just 2 wear the hijaab…may Allah swt guide all the Arab women back to following their forefathers(sahaba and sahabiyya رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ) ..

  129. What is the standard footwear for women in KSA and does anyone wear socks to keep their feet cool?

  130. im filipino and muslim.back in 0ur c0untry,we dnt need t0 wear abaya even we are muslim…n0w im enj0yng wearing abaya..there are s0 many fashi0nable abayas n0wadays.s0me with crystals or embr0idery with t0uch 0f c0lors..i hav l0ng abaya which c0vers d ankle c0z it makes me l0ok slender and tall =)
    i purchase abaya with fabrics made in japan or k0rea..it hungs 0n y0r b0dy perfectly and d0esnt attract all d dust..and breathable..wear c0l0rful / fashionable scarfs with it t0 pair with bag/sh0es..
    i usually wear jeans and tank t0ps inside t0 av0id all d bulks..
    thanks f0r p0sting this..i really enj0yed readng all c0mments

  131. I don’t think there is actually any standard footwear for women. I have seen women in all types of footwear from toeless to backless and everything in between.

    Some conservative women will always wear black socks with footwear but I’m not aware of knowing women who wear socks specifically to keep cool.

    You asked a good question!

  132. Hi: I read often, but post infrequently. I am an expat and I have had many abayas over the years I have been living in Saudi Arabia (usually 2 at a time: 1 for nights out and 1 for shopping or desert trips). I have loved all of them? It’s funny now though – when I am on holiday in Qatar or England or wherever, sometimes I get a shock in the street and think I am missing something – my abaya (no, I am not muslim but have always dressed conservatively)

    When in the desert and we are hiking it comes off – I have long pants and a tshirt on – and sunblock!

    I only find the abaya a problem in winter – it gets sooo cold in Riyadh and I think it disrespectful to wear my fleece OVER the abaya (although I have seen Saudis and other Arab Muslims do it) and if I put it UNDER the abaya it suffocates me and then what do you do if you need to take it off in a mall because they have the heat on MAX?

    The irony here, in Riyadh, now is that the Hai’a are reprimanding people for wearing “designer abayas” – with glittery embellishments on them etc. Duh! I bought mine in Dirah Souq. If you aren’t supposed to wear then they shouldn’t make it fancy, right? Oh, well.

    I wear normal clothes under my abaya, by the way – jeans with tshirt, trousers with a blouse, gym clothes if on the way to get fit (which as a women would be a WHOLE new blog – eh, Carol?) And always socks and shoes/trainers – I hate sand and dirt in my toes so I don’t own any sandals.

    And as a final thought – I HATE it when the wind blows down Olaya Street and your hubbie is striding off and you are fighting the elements or you have the wrong fabric trousers on and the abaya just sticks to it! Men just don’t get it?

  133. Great to see your comment, Ellie.

    During the cold months of winter in Riyadh I would wear my farwah out instead of my abaya. Plenty looked but no one ever bothered me.

  134. Assalamualaikum……… i really shocked after reading all the comments…. now i got few new topics to be raised in Hai’a

  135. i’m shocked

  136. cool comments ellie

  137. I recall an Egyptian “scholar” who seems to have failed in his lessons, when he said that “A man will devour a woman’s form if…” regarding western apparel, vs abaya or more.
    Apparently, HE agrees with the evil one, who refused to bow before humans, when EVERY OTHER creature did as commanded.
    As HE insists that humans are nothing but animals.
    Hence, HE rejects ALL of the primary teachings of the creator and I wish to stand nowhere near him when judged.
    I’ve been in many, many, many, many nations in my life. My wife, in a few less, but that was due to both duty and danger, as I’ll not put my wife, the mother of my children, in danger. Ever.
    We’ve ALWAYS been accepted. Period. Even in several GCC nations.
    Though, we always DO respect the local customs. To include wearing an abaya, though she didn’t wear anything covering her hair.
    We always got family prices in the souqs.
    THAT said, when she DID wear an abaya, I was told that it was of the “best cloth”, even by those we met. UNDER it, she wore a bikini, as it WAS a bit on the hot side and none should manage to see under it.
    Or, shall someone try, they’d WISH an Arab intercepted him. I’m of Sicilian decent, I’m not as nice, when someone accosts my family.
    Of course, my grey beard was rather respected, unlike in my own nation, where the elders are considered worthless.
    I’ve always considered those older a sage adviser. Go figure!
    My Saudi friend’s wife, who I WAS permitted to see without her hijab, as a welcomed member of family, wore jeans and typically a low cut top, which her husband seemed to enjoy, in private.
    May the police or ambulance service help those who stared at HIS family.

  138. What muslim women wear under their abaya reflect the women and her morals. Good women wear respectable cloths, slutty ones wear bikinis and low cut tops…each to his won. Hijab is for society as well as private act of worship, if the woman happen to be a mu’minah. And al hamdullaillah they are many many good respectable muslimahs.

  139. Great comments. I´m a latin woman, i´m not a muslima. i live in a very different culture. I have the freedom to do everything i want to: drive a car or not, practice every sport I choose, dress as i want…bla bla bla….. It´s my choise if i will look and act like a lady or like a slut. i have that power, and you too have it. Becouse we are human beings and we can decide, no matter men´s laws. That´s why i´m glad to read all about your experiences. i also value the comments of the husbands. I know some comments are three years old, but i´m learning a lot through you.:).
    keep wearing comfortable clothes !!!
    i hope you can understand my point. Sorry for my english.?

  140. i must add: men´s laws matters(:S) , arabian culture and Islam are respectable; moral: of course is what you are made of as a person. The point is what you are doing: you are being yourselves under the abaya. That´s the important point here.
    you will understand my point, inshallah.:)

  141. […] an abaya when she is out in public places.  While a woman can wear virtually whatever she pleases underneath the abaya, I think the recommendations of loose and modest clothing as suggested in the article is […]

  142. I always wear my nightie under my abaya…no one sees it and I buy zippered abayas…so no problems ever….I tell my US friends when and where else in the world can you jump out of bed and rush off to the mall?….I love my Abayas been here two months and have 6 and looking for the designer one soon at the secondhand souk… Lookout Saudi’s the American girl is in town!!!!!!!.

  143. i started working here abt 9 months back, and God I was surprised. I am too a muslim and back in my country we wear clothes completely covering all the body parts, so we dont need an abaya while going outside. Saudi Arabia being a strict country in terms of Islamic laws, i was surprised as many of my patients when they took off their abayas had bare minimal clothing, and thats how they dress at home. I was of opinion that even if ur at home u have to dress well i mean completely cover your body because flimsy clothes are not for muslims even when you are at home. Alhamdulillah Im happy to say that we dont dress like that back in my country even when we are at home.

  144. Why on earth would someone need to be fully covered at home? Or underneath an abaya- when it’s blazing hot outside? Why are you so pleased that “we don’t dress like that back in my country even when we are at home’? It sounds very prideful and judgmental- but I’m hoping you can enlighten me and I am wrong.

    And we “need” to wear an abaya- not because of what’s underneath but because we are forced to wear it in public.

  145. Hi. I think that women in Saudi wear probably the same under their abaya’s as other muslim women around the world. It depends on several factors. For instance most of the time I wear jeans and a top because that is comfortable for me. IHowever, I’ve seen other muslim women wear pajamas, dresses, lingerie, slip, skirts, jeans…so it all depends.

    One thing I want to point out is that Muslim women dress pretty much the same as non-muslim women, except for when they are around the opposite sex or when they are out in public for modesty reasons. I absolutely LOVE wearing the abaya. I find it to be extremely comfortable and I also feel comfortable in them. On the other hand when I wear “Regular clothing” I feel awkward and uncomfortable. God is Great:)

  146. @ Aafke-Art,

    This whole ”black shroud of death thing” has been invented by men to subdue women.

    LOL, you are funny ”black shroud of death thing”… But here is the real deal. The color of the abaya does not have to be BLACK. Most Muslim women prefer black for some strange reason. And NO it was not invented by men. And No Muslim Women do not have to wear strictly abayas. As long as the clothing is loose fitting and cover the most important parts…

  147. Personally I would love to live in Saudi Arabia and my abaya and full length khimar are comfortable even in hot weather.When I see those who complain otherwise I think of the women of the Sahaba who had no air conditioning or running water in the home and say “Pleease stop complaining”….For now with no mahrem I will keep dreaming of being/living in Saudi Arabia……someday insh’Allah.

  148. I have read ur views, sorry to say this but u should do some in depth study before writing. abaya wearing or gloves etc etc is not related to modesty or conservative mind.

  149. I only wear my bra and panties under my abaya, nothing else.

  150. If I don’t wear any underwear and am completely naked under abaya, will I get in trouble because my nipple pokies can be seen through the abaya?

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