The traditional Muslim people cover themselves from head to toe and there’s no shortage of that in Doha. Qatar is a Muslim country and most of the residents are devout Muslims which requires this sort of dress. If you asked someone why they cover themselves, you may not get an answer, but I did get a chance to speak to our tour guide who offered this explanation.
According to Allah and the Qur’an, (the Muslim Bible) “one must lower their gaze and be modest”. Specifically, it says: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their chests and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers and family members.”
It IS beautiful to see these elegant women walking around with their Louis Vuitton purses and Jimmy Choo shoes, covered in black from head to toe. I wasn’t really prepared for that, even though I knew where I was going. I guess you don’t really think about it until you actually see it. And I saw A LOT of it. Not everyone dresses this way, but it is very prominent in the community. Don’t even THINK about taking pictures of the women dressed like that. It’s a big no-no. I managed to get the picture I took by being very sneaky. No one knew I took it.
Men wear the long shirts and a veil of their own, called Hijab. You’ll see white, black, green and blue ones but there is no significance between the colors. One color doesn’t mean that one man is more wealthy than another. I did notice at the Souq, that the black abayas the women wear could have decoration on them. I saw some with black sequins along the bottom or along the cuffs of the arms.
I know as an American, we don’t understand this, and I’m no exception. Women buy these beautiful clothes, then cover them up. What’s the point, right? I was worried I may have to cover my hair, as I would have to do if I was in Saudi Arabia, but Qatar is a little bit more conventional that Saudi Arabia, and it wasn’t an issue. I did stand out though, because I’m as blonde as they get, but it wasn’t too bad.