Islamic Clothing A Comprehensive Review


Sultana Rinky

Islamic Clothing as a phenomenon stemmed from the combination of a set of Islamic practices (in which the need to cover a specific set of body parts is present) and of the rising need and desire to include these specific clothing items in a broader fashion industry.

The global growth of “an Islamic consumer sector, which explicitly forges links between religiosity and fashion, encouraging Muslims to be both covered and fashionable, modest and beautiful,” is relatively young: Islamic Fashion as a particular phenomenon started appearing toward the 1980s. The most recent developments in the field have caused a varied public discourse on a series of different levels, from the political, to the religious, to the cultural. Different positions are taken by different participants in the discussion of the politics and cultures of Islamic clothing.

Islamic Clothing market nowadays presents the rapidly expanding niche that is still relatively empty in a global scale. Big brands are trying to present their collections related to Muslim religious observances, however, without any visible attempts to single handedly secure the Muslim customers in Western countries leaving the space for the emerging young designers mainly from Muslim states. In the United Arab Emirates, particularly Dubai, are steadily laying the ground to become the Islamic Fashion center with a highly curated Designers District and housing of the leading Islamic brands.

Colors and Styles:

While Islam outlines a code of modesty, it does not command a certain style, color, or fabric. The range of clothing you find among Muslims is a sign of the great diversity among the Muslim community. Many Muslims choose to dress in conservative earth-tone colors such as green, blue, gray, as well as the usual black and white. Beyond this, there are no specific meanings behind the choice of color. Some colors or clothing styles are more common in certain parts of the world, based on local tradition.


Different words are often used to describe the various styles and types of clothing worn by Muslims throughout the world. Often, the same type of clothing has many different names depending on regional language or terminology.

Source of Rulings on Islamic Dress:

Islam has two sources for guidance and rulings: the Quran which is considered to be the revealed word of Allah, and the Hadith or traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, who serves as a human role model and guide. Islam gives guidance about all aspects of life, including matters of public decency. Islam has no fixed standard as to the style of dress or type of clothing that Muslims must wear. However, some minimum requirements must be met.

  • What parts of the body are to be covered: The first bit of guidance given in Islam describes the parts of the body which must be covered in public.
  • Looseness: Islam also guides that clothing must be loose enough so as not to outline or distinguish the shape of the body. Skin-tight, body-hugging clothes are out, for both men and women.
  • Thickness: The clothing must be thick enough so that the color of the skin it covers is not visible, nor the shape of the body underneath.
  • Overall appearance: The overall appearance of a person should be dignified and modest. Shiny, flashy clothing may technically meet the above requirements, but defeat the purpose of overall modesty.
  • Not imitating others: Muslims should look like Muslims, and not like mere imitations of people of other faiths around them. Women should be proud of their femininity and not dress like men. And men should be proud of their masculinity and not try to imitate women in their dress.
  • Decent but not flashy: Clothing worn by Muslims should be clean and decent, neither excessively fancy nor ragged. One should not dress in order to gain the admiration or sympathy of others.

Muslin clothing are almost same but there are variety of style and cloths depending on different culture and country. Here is a brief description of the mostly used Islamic Clothing for men and women worldwide.  

Islamic Clothing for Women


hijibOver the years, the hijab has grown to be much more than a symbol of religious dress. Many of the issues surrounding the hijab have been more openly discussed by non-hijab wearing individuals. This includes both Muslim and non-Muslim women. Yet, from a fashion point of view, the hijab is a highly versatile and timeless accessory. Historically, it has been used by women across various cultures and periods. This lends the hijab a certain timeless aspect and, even now, its ability to adapt is one of its strongest strengths.

This word is sometimes used to generally describe a Muslim women’s modest dress. More specifically, it refers to a square or rectangular piece of fabric which is folded, placed over the head and fastened under the chin as a head scarf. Depending on the style and location, this may also be called shaylah or tarhah.


Khimar comes from the word khamr, the root meaning of which is to cover. Everything that covers something else is called its khimar. But in common usage khimar has come to be used as a name for the garment with which a woman covers her head; in some cases this does not go against the linguistic meaning of khimar.



Common in the Arab Gulf countries, this a cloak for women that is worn over other clothing when in public. The abaya is usually made of black synthetic fiber, sometimes decorated with colored embroidery or sequins. The abaya may be worn from the top of the head to the ground, or over the shoulders. It is usually fastened so that it is closed. It may be combined with a head scarf or face veil.


chadorA chador is an outer garment worn by women in some parts of the Middle East, particularly Iran and Iraq. It is a semi-circle, floor-length covering that hangs from the top of the head, flowing over the clothing underneath in order to hide the shape or curve of a woman’s body. In Farsi, the word chador literally means “tent.”

Rather it stays open, or the woman herself holds it closed by hand, under her arm, or even with her teeth. The chador is often black and is sometimes worn with a scarf underneath which covers the hair. Underneath the chador, women have usually worn long skirts and blouses, or long dresses.


Muslim women often wear an outer garment, called a jilbab. Sometimes refers to a specific style of cloak, similar to the abaya but more fitted, and in a wider variety of fabrics and colors. It looks more similar to a long tailored coat.


niqabA niqab is a cloth that covers the face as a part of sartorial hijab. It is worn by some Muslim women in public areas and in front of non-mahram men, especially in the Hanbali Muslim faith tradition. The niqab is worn in the Arab countries of the Arabian Peninsula such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Because of the wide variety of hijab worn in the Muslim world, it can be difficult to definitively distinguish between one type of veil and another. The terms niqab and burqa are often incorrectly used interchangeably; a niqab covers the face (but not the eyes) while a burqa covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground, with a cloth grille in the hood to allow the wearer to see in front of her.


A burqa (also known as chadri or paranja in Central Asia) is an enveloping borquaouter garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover themselves in public. This type of veil and body covering conceals all of a woman’s body, including the eyes, which are covered with a mesh screen. Common in Afghanistan; sometimes refers to the “niqab” face veil described above. In Afghanistan, many women wear a burqa which covers their entire body.

shalwar-kameezSHALWAR KAMEEZ

Shalwar kameez is a traditional outfit originating in the Indian subcontinent. It is a generic term used to describe different styles of dress. The shalwar kameez can be worn by both men and women, but styles differ by gender. The shalwar (pantaloons/drawers) and the kameez (body shirt) are two garments which are combined to form the shalwar kameez.

 Islamic Clothing for Men

Most people are familiar with the image of a Muslim woman and her distinctive dress. Fewer people know that Muslim men must also follow a modest dress code. Muslim men often wear traditional clothing which varies from country to country but fulfills the requirements of modesty in Islamic dress. Here is a glossary of the most common names of Islamic clothing for men, along with photos and descriptions.



Many Muslim men wear a thobe, an ankle-length shirt or robe that covers their body. A long robe worn by Muslim men. The top is usually tailored like a shirt, but it is ankle-length and loose. The thobe is usually white but may be found in other colors, especially in winter. The term may also be used to describe any type of loose dress worn by men or women.

 GHUTRA AND EGALghutra-and-egal

A square or rectangular headscarf worn by men, along with a rope band (usually black) to fasten it in place. The ghutra (head scarf) is usually white, or checkered in red/white or black/white. In some countries, this is called a shemagh or kuffiyeh. The egal (rope band) is optional. Some men take great care to iron and starch their scarves to hold their shape.


bishtA bisht is a traditional men’s cloak popular in Arabia and some Arab countries. It is essentially a flowing outer cloak made of wool, worn over the thobe. Unlike the thobe, it is usually black, brown, beige, cream or grey in colour. As winters are warm in this region, the bisht is usually only worn for prestige on special occasions such as weddings, or festivals such as Eid, or for Friday prayer. In Iraq it is worn by tribal chiefs. The bisht is also worn by East African nobility, including tribal chiefs, kings, and imams, over a kanzu or tunic. In Saudi Arabia, the Bisht of quality is made of camel hair.



These white cotton pants are worn underneath the thobe and other men’s gowns, along with a white cotton undershirt. They are also worn alone as pajamas. They have an elastic waist, a drawstring, or both. They are also known as mikasser.



This wide band of cloth is wrapped around the waist like a sarong and tucked in place. It is common in Yemen, UAE, Oman, parts of the Indian Subcontinent, and South Asia. The cloth is typically cotton with patterns woven into the cloth.



Known by various names around the world, the turban is a long (10+ feet) rectangular piece of cloth that is wrapped around the head or over a skullcap. The arrangement of the folds in the cloth is particular to each region and culture. The turban is traditional among men in North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan and other countries in the region.