Men's Islamic Clothing

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.

Thobe

Thobe
Many Muslim men wear a thobe, an ankle-length shirt or robe that covers their body. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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. Depending on the country, variations of the thobe may be called the dishdasha (ex. Kuwait) or the kandourah (ex. UAE).

Ghutra and Egal

Ghutra and Egal
A Bahraini man covers his head with a ghutra, fastened in place with an egal. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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.

Bisht

This is a dressier men's cloak, which is sometimes worn over the thobe. It is particularly common among high-level government or religious leaders, and on special occasions such as weddings.

Serwal

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.

Shalwar Kameez

In the Indian Subcontinent, both men and women wear these long tunics over loose trousers in matching suits. Shalwar refers to the pants, and kameez refers to the tunic.

Izar

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.

Turban

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.

Islamic Law for Men

It is important to note that Islamic teachings about modesty are addressed equally to men and women. All of the traditional Islamic attire for men is based on modesty. The clothing is loose-fitting and long, covering the body. The Quran instructs men to "lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them" (4:30). Also: "For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise -- for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and great reward" (Quran 33:35).
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Huda. "Men's Islamic Clothing." ThoughtCo, Feb. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/mens-islamic-clothing-2004254. Huda. (2017, February 27). Men's Islamic Clothing. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mens-islamic-clothing-2004254 Huda. "Men's Islamic Clothing." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mens-islamic-clothing-2004254 (accessed December 12, 2017).