Why do all the Saudi Arabian men wear white and their women black?

Are they smiling? Evidently they know how to cook!

If you have ever been on the Arabian Peninsula you will know that the men wear white and their women black. I say “their women” because the women are in fact treated as property — without equal rights. So why do the Arab men wear white and their women black? The answer begins as follows:

Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Wear white clothes, for they are the best of your clothes, and shroud your dead in them.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 994, hasan saheeh. This is what the scholars regarded as mustahabb. Also narrated by Abu Dawood, 4061; Ibn Maajah, 1472

NOTE: The word “mustahabb” means “recommended” and “rewarded”.

So, if white is “recommended” and Muslims are “rewarded” for wearing white, why do all the women in Saudi Arabia wear black? Are they not to be rewarded? In fact Arab women love color, but are afraid to wear color or white. So why do the women do the extreme opposite? Why black? Black is not even a color, but the absense of color. The answer gets clearer:

“It is haraam for women to imitate men and men to imitate women in the way they dress, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cursed the men who imitate women and the women who imitate men.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5546.

NOTE: The word “haraam” means “sinful”. The narration above starts with “It is haraam (sinful) for women to imitate men…” and then with “and men to imitate women.” This hadith above first instructs the women to not imitate men. So, because the men are wearing white and some color, the women cannot.

And why do the Arab men not dress as we do? The answer is apparently again from the narrations of Islamic “scholars”—claiming to quote Mohammad:

Narrated by Muslim, 2077. It is haraam (sinful) to imitate the mushrikeen and kuffaar in their manner of dress, so it is not permissible to wear clothing that is unique to the kuffaar. It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw ‘Ali wearing two garments dyed with safflower and said: “These are garments of the kuffaar; do not wear them.” 

NOTE: “Mushrikeen and kuffaars” are “unbelievers” and obviously Muslims are told it is “haraam” (“sinful”) to imitate (to copy) “unbelievers,” not only in their manner of dress, but in any manner, whatsoever. This is why the Arab men do not wear shoes, but sandals. It is also why the “religious police” in Saudi Arabia prohibit the sale of dogs and cats for pets, why the Taliban forbids the use of cameras and playing football, and why the Somali women are beaten if they are caught wearing a bra. In other words anyone that copies an unbeliever in any manner (in any way) is an apostate, because he or she is then an “unbeliever”.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar, Book 27, number 4020. “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who copies any people is one of them.”

Qur’an 4:80: “Whoso obeyeth the Messenger obeyeth Allah.”

And it is very dangerous in Islamic countries, especially for the women, because according to Sharia law all apostates are to be sentenced to death. If you are disliked you will be accused and once you are accused your innocense or guilt depends entirely on who you know (influence), not justice. Sharia law is said to not be encoded and so it is often applied at whim. Which is what happened to seventeen-year-old Rizana Nafeek from Sri Lanka when the sister of a tribal leader in Saudi Arabia accused her of murdering her four-month-old baby. Rizana was immediately arrested and imprisoned without legal assistance, and seven years later beheaded. She was not proven guilty of a crime.

And in fact Saudi men copy “unbelievers” everyday when they drive a car. All cars originate from, are designed, produced, and driven by “unbelievers”. But it is the Saud family (the ruling family) that sets the tone (influence) and the men thus drive cars in Saudi Arabia without fear of being held accountable by the “religious police” which are also men driving cars. Apparently, Saudi men are the only Muslims in Saudi Arabia allowed to commit “haraam,” i.e., to sin.


American Corvette in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

It is very clear from the Islamic laws (Sharia law) above that men and women are not to dress alike and that they are not to drive a car. And this is why the women are told by the men that they cannot wear white or color.

Black is what the “religious police” expect women to wear, (although light colors are more suitable for the climate), and the women are afraid to wear color because they are afraid to draw the unwanted attention of the “religious police” known as “muttawah”. Black is also expected because of the following:

Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4090. Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin (Radhiallaahu anha): “When the verse ‘That they should cast their outer garments over their persons’ was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads…”

Another reason why the ruling family (the Sauds) and the “religious police” insist on women wearing black and men white is to discourage diversity and individualism. Saudi “authorities” think individualism is a threat, therefore, the emphasis is on conformity, especially for women. If a person starts projecting individuality it seen (interpreted) as a loss of control.

They all look the same.

One Saudi woman has written:

“It’s not really about modesty. They just want us to stay in our cubbies and belong to them. It’s about power and control.”

The final answer is as follows:

The “recommended” and “rewarded” white only became the tradition for Saudi men and black is intended to make women as much a non-entity as possible.

In other words, Saudi women (their women) are only used to procreate, and it is for this reason that their women are not allowed to leave the country without permission from a man. The “religious police” even send a text message (SMS) to a husband if one of his wives (he is allowed four wives at any one time) is at the airport. Obviously, their women have been attempting to escape from their misery, i.e., attempting to escape from the world’s largest women’s prison.

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23 responses to “Why do all the Saudi Arabian men wear white and their women black?

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  5. All that is written here is in fact not true of Islam. I do not know much about people living in Saudi Arabia, but I am Muslim and I certainly know Islam very well. The religion Islam is all about being kind-hearted, responsible, and respectful. And certainly, not engaging in any sexual activity with anyone other than your husband / wife.
    Men wear white “dress” because Prophet Muhammad (sav) used to wear it during his lifetime; and following through his footsteps, brings many rewards to the person. Women cover up and wear all black so that their skin and body figure will not be revealed to other men, not because they are considered to be an object. Islam encourages men to be very courteous, caring and loving to their life partner at all times. Also, another point to bring up, Islam does not encourage men to marry 4 times. But people use Islam to their advantage and they make up all this “un-true” or false statements to justify their actions, but Allah (cc) sees it all…!
    So, do not believe everything you hear, do some research first….


  6. Many Muslims will tell you what the Muslim woman above has written, but the facts reveal the opposite. Yes, do your “research”. You can start your research with:


  7. LMFAO. First of all, regarding the first Hadeeth, I didn’t see any specification to the male gender, so your point is invalid and regarding the second Hadeeth, the Prophet was telling people that it is forbidden to cross-dress. But beyond that, I stopped reading because I feel like I would end up getting more stupid if do go on.

    We have a saying in Arabic that is translated to, you are to whoever you love a mime, as in you copy everything they do. We love our beloved Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, and we prefer copying him in everything he does, including the way he dressed. But the Prophet did not command us to do so. (By the way, I’ve never worn a white dress as it is not a part of my culture and so I never got used to wearing it as I grew up.) And regarding the Females wearing black, that too isn’t a command. It’s something rather traditional and custom to the Gulf people so for example if you look at Muslim Women in Egypt for example, you’d find alot wear other colours than black and those in France mostly wear white, so you really haven’t even made one valid point. In Islam, a woman is asked not to wear flashy clothes and to cover her hair fullstop. Anything beyond that is pure tradition.

    Please, educate yourself.


    • I did not write that Muslim women are to wear black. Mohammad did not prohibit women from wearing colors. The women wearing black in Saudi Arabia is only because a woman wearing white in public in Saudi Arabia is frowned upon by the Saudi men, especially the “religious police”.


    • Addo, you should have read the entire article — I did not write that the hadith says Mohammad commanded anyone to wear white or black. I also was not referring to women in Egypt, which is not on the Arabian Peninsula. Muslims wear different colors in other parts of the world, but the women on the Arabian Peninsula (where Islam originated) wear black.


  8. The author of this article obviously has never been to any Arab country. Such a lie is written here. Go and see how Arab women are treated! They are like a queens. I am saying it as a foreigner living in uae and traveling to Saudi Arabia from time to time.
    For you to know husbands provide everything they want for wifes! Arab woman will never allow anyone to ‘hit on her’ on the street. She will never curry a heavy bag. She will never strive to earn money for family because a husband must do it in Islam. Is Arab women works – husband has no rights to take a single cent from her money. They are covering outside, but at homes with families and girlfriends they are more stylish then you are. They cover to protect them self from eyes of other men and women as Islam teaches. It is for protection – not for oppression. They consider disrespectful to show their bodies to all people around them like western women do.
    FYI – absence of colors is white, not black. Black is actually mix of all colours.
    Death punishment happens very rare because by sharia there have to be four eye witnesses to prove the crime. And it is only for the worst crime like killing or raping, not for any mistake.
    Author, do research before writing. Shame on you to make such a statements about people with zero knowledge about them.


    • Actually, the author of this article (me) has been to Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, as well as many other Muslim states (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Malaysia — oh and Lebanon). I in fact lived in Iran for a number of years. So, you are in fact wrong: Not only have I lived amongst Muslims, but I do my research. As for your understanding of “black”. It is not the mix of all colors. Black is the absence of color because it is the absence of light. White is all colors. Have you never seen light passing through a prism making the colors of the rainbow?


  9. Salaam Malaikum

    You say the men treat women as “their property” however this is untrue , i do not know which muslims or Arabs you have interacted with but i do know that the Quran teaches that men and women are equal. Women play a much bigger role in Islam than most people would imagine.

    Now that issue has been corrected , i will address your question as to why men wear white and women wear black. Nowhere in the Quran does it say that Muslim women have to wear black. Neither is there any Hadith that says this. The most required quality in the dress of the Muslim woman is that it should be large and thick enough to cover her complete body. It should also be modest and should not be similar to men’s dress. The colour or the quality of the dress does not have any importance as long as this dress meets all the above conditions.

    You are correct however with the Hadith you mentioned above , The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Wear white. It is the best. You ought to wear white clothes in life and bury your dead in a shroud made of white cloth.” [Tirmidhi]

    The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to wear white clothes. [Sahih Bukhari] He not only liked white for himself, but also directed the male members of his Ummah to wear white.

    To summerise that men can wear any colour they wish but they choose to wear white because it is what The Prophet Muhammad PBUH wore. As Muslims we strive to be like him so it makes sense to wear white like him.

    Now you say because men are wearing white that means women cannot. this is not true. Again there is no verse in the Quran or a Hadith that states women cannot wear white. There is however a Hadith that you quoted which says “It is haraam for women to imitate men and men to imitate women in the way they dress…” This means that The Prophet Muhammad PBUH said that cross dressing is haraam. Women are forbidden to wear mens clothes and men are forbidden to wear womens clothes.

    So you may ask , if it does not say in Islam that women have to wear black why do they wear black in Saudi Arabia as it is such a hot country? The answer simply is culture. It is a popular tradition in Saudi Arabian culture for women to wear black. To clarify ISLAM DOES NOT STATE WOMEN HAVE TO WEAR BLACK , IT IS A CULTURAL TRADITION.


  10. Abdullateef Waduudah

    subhannallah! this writer is bias. whosoever yu are, yu ddnt write ds wth an open mind. saudi women are protected not that they are kept to be owned as a property. moreso it is not a must for them to wear black. they can choose any other colour once its not flashy. so if they av been wearin black since centuries then they like it. its not because our beloved prophet commanded dem to lways wear it compulsorily. read nd search for knowledge and do not mislead the public simply bcos being alike in dia dressing annoys yu


  11. Eunice McClaine

    Though I don’t know much about Islam, I’m writing this on the basis of what I read in newspapers, watch at television…It’s okay if women cover themselves from head to toe so as to save themselves from men’s hungry eyes. But, then, aren’t Islamic men loving and caring, why would they see some other woman that way.. All you guys need to do is to change your mindsets. A men wears whatever he wishes to but a women has to dress up in black all day long in such a heat! In western countries women do wear short clothes, but, the men are civilized enough to not look at a woman that way. I think the head to toe overalls in black are for men’s advantage. And, again, poor women never protest!


    • Hi Eunice, you should never base knowledge on what you read in newspapers and watch on TV. Everyone covers, muslim women cover to a higher degree because God commands us to do so in the Quran. That’s enough of a reason for us.

      Do you think a man benefits more from a woman in a bikini or a woman in a burka? Common think about it.

      As for muslim men? Look at the Saudi men, they are literally covered from head to toe, but people always concentrate on the women.

      Peace :)


  12. If you ask me and I have no basis on anything in terms of religion there or cultural customs there, I would say that women wear black because it makes the only visible part of their body, the eyes, “pop”. White detracts this effect and color distracts from this effect. Long dark eyelashes and dark brown eyes look awesome with black around them.


    • A mask always arouses curiosity, but there are Muslim women who also cover the eyes with a mesh. I would tell you that black hair around dark eyelashes, dark brown eyes and a beautiful face is much more awesome.


  13. Are you serious? I’m Somali and that, is a complete lie! When one thing is a lie it makes the whole article questionable.


  14. Hi, I’m sorry but all of this blog is wrong…where did all this come from? All these sayings are incorrect :/ try a different website mate your information is incorrect



    I really do applaud this poor guys for travelling so many places just to justify that Islam is unequal in accord to gender and that it implies that Muslims cannot do anything that “unbelievers” do. Firstly your quotes are on point but your ability to explain it is atrocious. Women cover up more than men fair enough; but that is to guard their modesty so they don’t become an object of sexual desire. Obviously if a Muslim man was to walk around showing his sexual parts, believe me he would be punished by the Almighty. Come on, western societies encourage women to walk around in six inch heels and tight fitted dresses because being tall and thin is seen as beautiful. What a surprise, it is non Muslim men that think this. (I studied a lot about modern day western fashion and beauty) Our religion guards the modesty of Muslim women so they are covered and comfortable! Oh and about Muslims not imitating non-believers, it refers to the sins that SOME non-believers do. For example, drinking, which can lead to irresponsibility, adultery and fornication. May i just add that Islam is not the only religion to prohibit adultery and fornication.

    Peace :D


  16. The men do not ALL wear white.. some wear brown, green, grey.. and some wear western clothing too.. that statement you made just shows your ignorance.


  17. Well, the men are known for wearing white. Okay, I will possibly change it to the men in Saudi Arabia mostly wear white.


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