First of all what is an abaya? For those who don’t know, it’s the black “overcoat” or “cloak” some Muslim women choose to wear over their normal clothing when they are in public. Read this post to learn more about abayas: Underneath the Abaya
In Saudi Arabia it’s obligatory for everyone, even the non-Muslims and western women to wear it in public places. Actually I recently found out that there is no specific law that stipulates abaya is a MUST. And for sure it doesn’t say anywhere it has to be BLACK.
The Saudi religious authorities have made the abaya compulsory for all women and the muttawa (religious police) is tasked to enforce this on all women. In this case one interpretation of Islam is forced on everyone, yet the Quran states: “there is no compulsion in religion“.
I never really liked being a part of “the masses”. Everyone around here looks the same here in public, it’s all black and white without individuality, personal style or personality showing. In Riyadh most women cover their faces too, so these women are literally invisible and “faceless”.
I hope slowly change will come to Saudi and women won’t be so worried about what others think. I read that back in the days of Prophet Mohammed men and women used colorful attire and the Prophet’s wife Aisha even wore red and yellow garments. Actually, only very recently has black become the standard color of dress for women in Saudi Arabia.
My abaya is blue also because I feel like I’m different, I don’t fit in any ready made category. I am Finnish and proud of my roots and the color of Finland is blue, but Saudi-Arabia feels like my home. I’m also a person that does not accept everything that is thrown out there and believe all that is said in media. I always question and research things and think with my own brain. I am shy, but I have strong opinions and I am passionate in things I believe in..I’m not afraid to jump a bungee jumps, dive with whales and sharks or skydive, but you won’t find me first in line for public appearances!
Maybe you could call me some sort of a rebel too. Wearing a blue abaya is my way of showing my personality and going on my own path in life.
DISCLAIMER: in 2008 the black abaya was the norm. EVERYONE and their mother wore black abayas in Riyadh. This has changed slowly and in 2018 it’s not uncommon at all to see other colors worn in Riyadh.
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Hello there, I’m Laura, the founder, author and manager of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 69 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia! Having visited all corners of the Kingdom with over a decade of experience, I have a vast knowledge base about travel and tourism in Saudi Arabia.