In KSA it is 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 it 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) will enforce this on all women. One interpretation of Islam is forced on everyone.
Yet the Quran states: “there is no compulsion in religion“.
I really hate being part of the masses. Everyone looks the same here! In Riyadh most women cover their faces too, so these women are literally like black faceless blobs blending into the mass (no offense anyone!).
I hope slowly change will come to Saudi and women won’t be so worried about what others and the muttawa will think..I don’t believe this is what God intended. That all women (and men) should look the same and cover their true selves! Back in the days of Prophet Mohammed men and women used colorful attire and the Prophet’s wife Aisha wore red and yellow garments. Only very recently has black become the standard color of dress for women.
Also I think its a form of control from the Saudi government. It forces people into the same mold, it rules out individualism and change. There is only one accepted way of presenting yourself in public here in KSA. If you don’t go by that people will see you as someone “gone astray”, unreligious, western-influenced or even crazy!
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, but Saudi-Arabia feels like my home. I am a Muslim yet I would also describe myself as a feminist, which most people wrongly think don’t go together. 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. Reasoning and individual thoughts are often frowned upon by fellow Muslims which is why I feel I don’t belong sometimes.
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 speaking out for women’s rights in Saudi.
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Hello there, I’m Laura, the author of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010. I’ve been traveling around and exploring Saudi Arabia since 2008.
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