Burqa | Emirati Women Clothing In UAE


The burqa, an outer garment that covers the body and face, is a piece of clothing is a preferred robe for Muslim women. It is known for its distinctive feature of a mesh screen, which allows the wearer to see while remaining covered. The origins of the burqa can be traced back to pre-Islamic times, and its use has been shaped by cultural, religious, and social influences throughout history.

In Islamic tradition, modesty is a valued virtue, and the Quran encourages both men and women to dress modestly. The interpretation of what constitutes modest attire, however, varies widely among different cultures and Islamic schools of thought. Some view the burqa as a symbol of piety and devotion, while others see it as a cultural practice rather than a religious obligation.

Types of Burqa

The burqa is just one of the garments worn by Muslim women, with others including the niqab, hijab, chador, and dupatta, each with its own unique style and cultural significance. The choice to wear any of these garments can stem from personal, cultural, or religious reasons, and it is essential to recognize the diversity of practices and beliefs within the Muslim community.

Ladies in Burqa

It’s important to approach the topic of the burqa with sensitivity and respect for individual autonomy and cultural diversity. The garment represents a complex interplay of personal choice, religious practice, and cultural identity, making it a subject that invites thoughtful dialogue and understanding.

History of Burqa

The origins of the burqa can be traced back to pre-Islamic times, and it was not initially a garment exclusive to Islamic culture. Historical evidence suggests that various forms of veiling and covering were present in Persian, Byzantine, and Indian societies long before the advent of Islam. The burqa, as we know it today, is often associated with the Islamic practice of hijab, which encompasses a range of modest dressing for Muslim women.

The term ‘burqa’ itself has been used to describe different types of coverings, and its use and significance can vary greatly across different cultures and regions. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, for example, it is known as the chadaree or chaadar, while in Central Asia, it is referred to as the paranja. The styles, materials, and even colors of the burqa can differ significantly, with some regions favoring blue or patterned fabrics over the commonly perceived black garment.

The spread of the burqa is closely tied to the spread of Islam, as the religion expanded from the Arabian Peninsula to Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe over the centuries. However, it’s important to note that Islam did not invent the practice of veiling; rather, it incorporated local customs and traditions into its cultural practices as it spread.

In modern times, the burqa has become a symbol of Islamic identity for some, while others view it as a cultural tradition rather than a religious obligation. Islamic scholars have differing opinions on whether wearing the burqa is a compulsory act of faith or an optional one, leading to a variety of practices among Muslim women. Some choose to wear the hijab, which covers the hair, others opt for the niqab, which covers the face but leaves the eyes visible, and some decide on the burqa, which covers the entire body.

The burqa’s association with Islam has also made it a subject of political and social debate. In some countries, it has been banned or restricted, often on the grounds of security or integration concerns. These actions have sparked discussions about women’s rights, religious freedom, and cultural expression.

In conclusion, the burqa is more than just a piece of clothing; it is a garment rich in history and significance, reflecting the diverse practices and beliefs of the Muslim world. Its journey from ancient times to the present day reveals the intricate tapestry of cultural and religious dynamics that continue to shape the discourse around this iconic garment.

Cultural Significance

The burqa, an outer garment that covers the body and face, is a piece of clothing that has sparked curiosity, debate, and a myriad of emotions around the world. Its cultural significance is deeply rooted in various societies, particularly within Islamic traditions, where it is seen as a symbol of modesty, privacy, and religious devotion.

Historically, the use of face veils can be traced back to pre-Islamic times, and over the centuries, it has been adopted and adapted by different cultures and religions. In Islamic jurisprudence, a minority of scholars consider the burqa to be obligatory for women in the presence of non-related males, to prevent men from looking at women with desire. However, this view is not universally held, and many scholars do not regard face veiling as a religious requirement.

The burqa’s popularity and acceptance in society are influenced by a complex interplay of religious, cultural, and social factors. In some regions, it is worn as a sign of cultural identity and heritage. For instance, in the United Arab Emirates, the burqa is traditionally worn by married women to distinguish them from unmarried women, reflecting its role in social customs.

Traditional Emirati Clothing

The garment has evolved in style and significance, with variations such as the niqab, hijab, chador, and dupatta being worn in different regions, each with its own cultural connotations and practices. The burqa itself comes in various colors and designs, challenging the misconception that it is only available in black.

In modern times, the burqa continues to be a subject of discussion and often controversy, as it intersects with issues of women’s rights, religious freedom, and cultural expression. The reasons women choose to wear the burqa are diverse, ranging from personal conviction to societal expectations.

Understanding the cultural significance of the burqa requires a nuanced approach that respects individual choices and acknowledges the garment’s multifaceted role in history and society. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the conversation around the burqa and its place in culture remains an important one, inviting us to explore the rich tapestry of human beliefs and practices.

Traditional Designs

Traditionally, burqas are made from a special fabric imported from India, known as “tabatel.” The classic design has not changed drastically over the years, and some women still prefer the traditional styles to this day. In the past, burqas were often decorated with gold, reflecting the means of each family, and the inner lining was sometimes scrubbed with oyster shells or stones and dyed indigo, believed to have a beautifying effect on the skin.

The colors of the burqa also carry cultural significance. For instance, green burqas, known as ‘Abu Sarukh,’ red ones called ‘Al-Nil,’ and yellow ones known as ‘Abu Najma’ are not just aesthetic choices but are imbued with cultural meanings and associations.

In modern times, the burqa continues to be a symbol of Emirati identity. It is worn as a face veil, distinct from the full-body coverings found in other Islamic countries. The Emirati burqa focuses on covering the eyebrows and upper lip, with the rest of the attire typically consisting of an abaya, a long cloak. This modern form of the burqa is a testament to the evolving fashion trends while maintaining the cultural essence of modesty and dignity.

The making of a burqa is a skillful craft, often taking about an hour by hand, though modern machines can produce them much quicker. The key to crafting a burqa lies in the precise cutting and sewing of the fabric. Today, the burqa is not only a personal garment but also a part of the UAE’s efforts to promote and preserve their heritage. It is distributed during festive occasions, used as souvenirs, and even incorporated into household decorations and accessories.

The burqa’s design, therefore, is not just about aesthetics; it’s a reflection of history, social status, and personal identity. It stands as a proud emblem of the cultural legacy of the Emirati people, representing values of modesty, humility, and a connection to their roots. As fashion continues to evolve, the traditional burqa remains a significant and cherished part of the UAE’s cultural expression. The burqa is a beautiful example of how fashion and tradition intertwine, creating a rich tapestry of cultural identity that is both preserved and celebrated in the modern world.

Regional Variations

Burqas vary greatly depending on cultural and regional influences. In the United Arab Emirates, for instance, the burqa is traditionally known as a face veil, distinct from the full-body cover. The Emirati burqa, often seen in the streets of Dubai, has a unique design called the “Sabeel Cut,” characterized by a narrow top and a wide, curved bottom, most common in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, in Al Ain, another region in the UAE, the burqa has both the top and bottom cut into a narrow shape, showing the diversity even within a single country.

Today, the burqa has also become a fashion statement, with designs and colors matching the latest trends. This blend of tradition and modernity reflects the dynamic nature of cultural practices and the personal choices of individuals.

The variations in burqa design based on the region highlight the rich tapestry of Islamic culture and the importance of understanding the context behind these traditional garments. Whether it’s the “Sabeel Cut” in Abu Dhabi or the narrow-shaped burqa of Al Ain, each style carries its own history and significance, contributing to the diverse cultural heritage of the Islamic world.

Modern Adaptations

The Evolution of the Burqa: Embracing Modernity While Honoring Tradition

The burqa, a traditional garment that has been part of Islamic culture for centuries, is witnessing a transformation in the modern world. As societies evolve, so do the expressions of cultural and religious identity, leading to innovative adaptations that honor tradition while embracing contemporary fashion.

The new style burqa is a testament to this evolution. It retains the essence of modesty and respect for cultural values while incorporating modern design elements. Designers are now exploring a variety of fabrics, colors, and patterns, moving beyond the traditional black to include a spectrum of hues and intricate embellishments that reflect individual personalities and preferences.

This modern adaptation is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about functionality and comfort. Lightweight materials such as cotton and silk are being used to suit different climates and lifestyles, making the burqa more adaptable to various environments and occasions.

Lady wearing Burqa

Moreover, the modern burqa is becoming a symbol of empowerment and individuality. Women are choosing styles that resonate with their personal beliefs and fashion sense, turning the burqa into a statement of identity rather than just a symbol of tradition.

As we look to the future, the burqa’s journey from a traditional veil to a modern garment showcases the dynamic nature of cultural expression. It’s a fascinating intersection of faith, fashion, and individuality that continues to evolve with the times.

The conversation around the modern burqa is rich and ongoing, reflecting the diverse experiences and perspectives within the Muslim community. It’s clear that the burqa’s story is far from over; it’s being rewritten every day by those who wear it with pride and purpose. Exploring this journey offers a window into the creativity and resilience of a culture that values both its heritage and its place in the modern world.

For a deeper dive into the transformative impact of the modern burqa on women’s lives and its place in the world of fashion, one may explore comprehensive guides and discussions that illuminate the beauty and elegance of modern Islamic fashion. Whether it’s through personal choice or collective evolution, the modern burqa remains a vibrant and meaningful part of many lives, adapting and thriving in a changing world.

Religious Perspective

Historically, the burqa has been worn by women in various Islamic cultures since the ninth or tenth century. It is an outer garment that covers the body and face, typically leaving a mesh screen for the wearer to see through. The practice of veiling can be traced back to pre-Islamic times and has been adopted in different forms across various cultures. History records prove that women in the Middle East Asia were using burqa or a similar garment for ensuring modesty and prevent attacks.

From a religious perspective, the burqa is not universally seen as a mandatory Islamic practice. Most Islamic scholars, both past and present, do not regard face veiling as a religious requirement. However, a minority of scholars in Islamic jurisprudence consider it obligatory for Muslim women when in the presence of non-related males, as a means to prevent men from looking at women with desire.

The burqa is more than just a piece of clothing; it is a symbol with deep cultural significance. In some regions, it represents a woman’s commitment to her faith and her community’s traditions. For others, it is a form of cultural expression, with variations in style, color, and design reflecting local customs and individual tastes.

In modern times, the burqa has become a focal point in discussions about religious freedom, women’s rights, and cultural identity. Some view it as a symbol of oppression, while others see it as a personal choice and an expression of religious devotion. The debate is complex and often reflects broader societal issues surrounding integration, secularism, and multiculturalism.

Understanding the burqa requires an appreciation of its multifaceted role in history, religion, and culture. It’s a garment that carries significant meaning for those who wear it and stands as a testament to the diversity of Islamic practices and beliefs. As with any cultural symbol, the burqa is best understood not through a single lens, but through a tapestry of historical, religious, and social threads that together weave the rich fabric of Islamic heritage.H2 – Social and Political Context

Contemporary Debates

In Europe, the conversation around the burqa and other forms of veiling has been ongoing for years. Several countries, including France, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Latvia, and Bulgaria, have implemented bans on face-coverings in public spaces, often referred to as ‘burqa bans’. Proponents of these bans argue that they are necessary for social interaction and public safety, while critics view them as violations of religious freedom and personal choice. The European Court of Human Rights has upheld some of these bans, suggesting that they are necessary for living together in society.

The Middle East presents a different landscape for the burqa debate. In countries like Morocco, the government has banned the manufacturing and sale of burqas, citing security concerns and the spread of radical ideologies. This move reflects a tension between moderate Islamic governance and conservative religious practices. The debate here is also about national identity and the influence of foreign ideologies on local cultures.

Globally, the perspectives on the burqa are diverse. Some see it as a symbol of oppression, while others view it as a personal and religious choice. The debate often reflects broader concerns about multiculturalism, integration, and the role of Islam in modern societies. It’s a complex issue that continues to evolve, as societies grapple with the balance between individual freedoms and collective values.

The burqa debate is more than a discussion about a piece of clothing; it’s a reflection of the ongoing negotiation between tradition and modernity, individual rights and social norms. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, these debates are likely to continue, challenging us to think critically about the kind of societies we want to build and the values we wish to uphold.

Fashion and Style

The burqa, a traditional garment worn by some Muslim women, has transcended its cultural boundaries and inspired global fashion trends. Its influence is evident in the way designers have embraced modesty and incorporated it into contemporary fashion, creating a blend that respects tradition while celebrating modern style.

One of the most notable impacts of the burqa on the fashion industry is the emergence of the ‘New Style Burqa,’ which has revolutionized the concept of Islamic fashion. This modern interpretation of the burqa has introduced a variety of colors, patterns, and designs, moving away from the traditional black attire to a more vibrant and diverse palette.

Designers have taken inspiration from the burqa’s silhouette and functionality, creating garments that are both fashionable and modest. For instance, the Moroccan Style Burqa Design, which is kaftan-inspired, flatters all body types with its clever styling of layers and silhouettes. It’s adaptable to various fabrics and occasions, from everyday wear to luxurious events.

The influence of the burqa is also seen in high-fashion circles. Designer burqas have made appearances on fashion week runways, showcasing how traditional modest wear can be reimagined as a high-fashion statement. This has opened up conversations about cultural representation and the inclusivity of fashion.

The global fashion scene continues to draw inspiration from the burqa, demonstrating the garment’s versatility and its ability to inspire designers to create styles that are respectful, elegant, and contemporary. As fashion evolves, the burqa remains a symbol of cultural identity and a source of inspiration for designers looking to merge tradition with modernity. The ongoing dialogue between traditional modest wear and contemporary fashion highlights the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the fashion industry.

Global Influence

The influence of the burqa extends beyond the realms of fashion and personal choice, touching on broader issues such as integration and multiculturalism. In societies that value secularism and uniformity, the burqa can be perceived as a challenge to these principles. Conversely, in communities where religious expression is integral to social life, the burqa may be embraced as a norm.

Moreover, the global influence of the burqa is not static; it evolves with the shifting tides of politics, social movements, and international relations. The rise of populist politics in some regions has led to a politicization of the burqa, where it is used as a symbol to rally support for broader agendas concerning immigration and cultural preservation.

The conversation around the burqa is also shaped by events that resonate worldwide. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the paradox in attitudes towards face coverings, with mandatory mask policies contrasting with bans on religious veils. This situation has prompted reflections on the meanings and implications of different types of face coverings in public spaces.

In conclusion, the global influence of the burqa is a testament to its significance as a cultural artifact that transcends borders. It serves as a lens through which issues of autonomy, diversity, and societal values are examined and redefined in the modern world. As societies continue to grapple with these themes, the burqa remains a powerful symbol in the ongoing dialogue about the future of global multiculturalism.


Burqa has come a long way since its origin in the early 10th century. The traditional burqa designs have given way to modern designs that while preserving the modesty or women also add certain glamour quotient.

Cultural significance of burqa is as deep rooted as its religious association. In fact the burqa was used even before the Islam by women. It was to save the modesty of women from various attackers. It became the preferred robe for women in the Middle East.


What are the different styles of burqa?

The different types of burqa are;

Traditional Burqa This is the most concealing of all Islamic veils, covering the entire face and body, often leaving just a mesh screen to see through.

Boshiya: A variation that is even more conservative than the traditional burqa, covering the face completely with a fabric without the mesh grill.

Niqab: A veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear, worn with an accompanying headscarf.

Half Niqab Covers the lower half of the face up to the bridge of the nose, leaving the eyes and forehead clear.

How has the perception of burqa evolved over time?

Today, the burqa exists in various forms and holds different meanings for different people. It is a complex symbol that encapsulates issues of autonomy, religious freedom, and cultural expression. As societies evolve, so too does the perception of the burqa, reflecting the dynamic interplay between tradition and modernity.

What cultural and religious factors influence the wearing of burqa?

Culturally, the burqa can symbolize various things depending on the region. In some areas, it may represent a form of patriarchal piety, while in others, it could signify personal freedom or suppression. The decision to wear a burqa is often influenced by religious interpretation, geographic location, civil law, or personal choice. In South Asia, for example, the practice of wearing a veil, known as purdah, is a middle-class phenomenon and is not practical for working-class women who perform laborious tasks. The burqa and niqab have been subjects of debate, with opinions divided on whether they represent personal freedom or patriarchal control.