Wearing Thobe In Public (What To Wear With Thobe In Public)

You can most certainly wear the thobe in public – for grocery shopping, school runs, weddings, you just name it. However, depending on your location, it might look a bit off if worn to a corporate meeting in an office setting.

Public places that you can wear the thobe to

The thobe can be everyday wear for you. If you find it extremely comfortable to be in all day, by all means, wear them wherever.

You can wear the thobe to the mosque and on other religious occasions like Eid celebrations, you can also wear them to the supermarket for grocery shopping, it can be worn to visit friends and relations as well as to weddings and other gatherings.

You can grab a bite at the restaurant wearing a thobe, attend lectures in it, go to the coffee shop, or even on a date!

In Saudi Arabia, the white thobe is regarded as the standard official wear for all government functions, meetings, and even a mere visit to the statehouse.

It is the standard wear for every formal occasion there. The combination of the thobe, the kufiyah, and the iqal constitutes the full regalia of the national dress and it is compulsory to appear in them fully when attending government functions.

On the whole, it is absolutely not out of place to wear the thobe to the aforementioned places. Before now, it is possible that you would have gotten weird stares from passersby as you walk around in them especially if you are in a non-Muslim country but now, the thobe has become very popular and is somewhat considered to be a trendy fashion item.

What to wear with a thobe in public

The thobe has gone past being just a prayer cloth or some sort of a cultural garment. It is now considered to be very fashionable and can be worn by anyone even in public. You can pair it with nice cotton pants underneath with the accompanying head gear accessory.

What to wear with a white thobe

The white thobe is one garment that spells class and makes you stand out wherever you go. It is the perfect choice for different kinds of events. You can totally dress up in them and still wear them casually if you like.

Stylishly have them paired with the headgear; the ‘kufiyah’, the circular headpiece called the ‘agal’, and a jacket. Then, for your footwear, some sneakers or loafers like shoes to match will do.

All about the ‘kufiyah’

A lot of us must have seen lots of Muslim men adorn this traditional headgear and might be wondering silently in our hearts the reason why it is so passionately worn.

First of all, we need to state that the ‘kufiyah’ is the traditional headgear for men of all ages and social strata in most Arab countries, particularly in the UAE, Kuwait, and of course, Saudi Arabia. This clothing item is one that stands as a piece of their cultural heritage and gives the men a sense of deep connection to their customs and traditions.

You can easily deduce just how passionate the Arab men are about the thobe and its accessories from the way they appear in it– super neat and properly ironed, clean, and without any form of stain or blemish whatsoever.

Now, this cotton-made headgear is worn on the head of course, and a special cord called the ‘iqal’ is used to hold it together and prevent the wind from blowing it away from the head.

The major reason why it is worn aside from the mere fact of it being a cultural item is to protect you from the sun’s rays. As it covers the sides of the face and your neck, it protects you from sunburn.

It plays a similar function during very cold temperatures by protecting you from the cold. This time around, thicker kufiyah’s are being worn and they in no small measure keep you very warm.

What does the Holy book say about wearing the thobe in a foreign land?

For Muslim faithful scattered across the globe, what is stated as ideal, is that they dress just the same as the natives of whatever foreign land that they find themselves.

They are admonished to dress the same so as not to look different in a way that would be considered as being proud or having a feeling of superiority. This would help the individual maintain peace and ward off unnecessary envy or attack.

 If you find yourself in the western world as a Muslim, it is totally permitted to dress just like the westerners as long as it adequately covers the ‘awrah and does not consist of anything that goes against the ‘shari’ah’.

So, it is safe to put on jeans, pants, and shirts just like the indigenous people of the state. You can wear bigger pants or jean sizes to adequately cover you up if you like.

However, explanations from different clerics have made us understand the real crux of the matter. What this actually means is that; it is not advisable to wear any piece of clothing that natives of a particular place that you are in would consider unfamiliar or strange.

Therefore, if the thobe is seen to be strange by people in the land where you find yourself, it is better to limit wearing it to just prayers instead and wear more of their customary dressing there.


Are thobes the same as Jubba?

Yes, they are. The Jubba is another name for the thobe. The difference in the names can be traced to the different backgrounds into which they fall into. Jubba happens to be what the Pakistanis call it just as the Arabs call their Thawb but, they refer to the same piece and style of clothing.

What is the standard dress code in Arab Countries?

Regarding dress codes for the bulk of Islamic countries, the emphasis has always been on modesty. Dressing as modestly as possible as you can, especially in public places has always been the major point. You might ask, “What does dressing modestly entail?”

Below are some of the points to take note of in order to know what counts as modest dressing or not, particularly in Dubai:

  • Your clothes must be without crude inscriptions, pictures or logos.
  • You must totally desist from wearing see-through clothes or clothes that expose sensitive parts of your body.
  • It is totally wrong to wear swimming clothes in places other than the swimming pool ground.
  • Foreigners and other visitors are not actually compelled to have their hair covered in public or wear the long flowing gown popularly called the ‘abaya,’ however; it is common sense to do that if you will be visiting the mosques or other religious grounds. This just goes on to show a sense of liberalism on your part and respect for other cultures and religions.
  • A well-covered cloth is a modest one. A modest dressing is one in which your shoulders, arms and legs are well covered.
  • I know we have a lot of nudists around but, there must be some form of major adjustment when heading to these countries as nudity is highly prohibited.
  • In very hot temperatures, visitors can put on loose but not entirely transparent pieces of clothing.
  • The men must ensure that they stay well covered also and not wear clothes that reveal the knees, broad chest or any of those vain things.

You must however note, that this dress code is meant to be strictly adhered to in public spaces and is not necessarily applicable in your hotel rooms. So, if you do not want to offend the cultural sensitivity of your host country, do well to pack conservative and appropriate dresses when preparing for a trip to any of these Arab countries.

Why is the kufiyah produced in cheque?

Actually, before now, the kufiyah was being produced in plain white. Sadly though, there are no images to show as proof or any form of record to prove this.

The red and white and the not-so-popular black and white check headgear is a product of the ever-innovative fashion industry and you will agree that it is indeed a welcome one. Pairing these checked kufiyah’s with a white well-ironed thobe would make a very huge fashion statement.

Wearing Thobe In Public – Conclusion

To people in a foreign land, Islamic law actually warns against wearing any clothing that seems strange to nationals there.

However, the good thing is that the thobe is growing popular by the day and is being regarded as a fashionable item with a lot more people (non-Arabic or Islamic men) identifying with it because of how comfortable and stylish they can be.

With that in mind, you can absolutely wear the thobe in public and can be rest assured that the only stares that you would be getting would be that of admiration rather than disgust.

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