Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque Dress Code & Etiquette Guide 2024

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner Team

Looking at planning a trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque while you’re in Abu Dhabi?

There are many fabulous reasons why it is the city’s number one attraction. However, the first question or concern many tourists have is about the appropriate dress code when entering a religious building in a Muslim country.

Whilst you should always look to dress respectfully as a tourist in the UAE, religious buildings require particularly strict attention to what you are wearing and how you behave.

If you would like a full guide on what to expect when you visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque check out this post. Here, we will talk specifically about dress standards for the Grand Mosque and expected behaviour.

What to Wear to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

The rules for non-Muslim tourists visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque are very strict, particularly for women.

Regardless of what you are wearing, staff will still have the final say in whether you are adequately covered. If you are pulled up, cover up and comply or expect to be asked to leave.

Ditto inappropriate behaviour for a mosque – posing, group selfies, and similar behaviour is NOT acceptable.

But fear not! If you are not wearing what is deemed appropriate attire for the Grand Mosque, then the right items can be purchased before you enter. Here’s how you should look to dress inside the Grand Mosque:

Dress Code for Women at the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque

  • You must have your arms and legs completely covered.
  • Your hair must be completely covered.
  • The only skin that can show is your hands, feet, and face. 
  • If you are not properly dressed (don’t worry, this applies to most tourists), you will be sent to the dressing room, where you can hire an Abaya (which covers your body) and Shayla (which covers your head).  This is all part of the experience so embrace it!
  • Please don’t think this means you should wear the skimpiest outfit underneath! You will still be lining up with other Muslim tourists and respect should be shown throughout your visit to Abu Dhabi.

COVID Update: Presently they are not letting ladies hire abayas and Shaylas due to health regulations. If you are deemed inappropriately covered you will be directed to the small strip of shops to buy a covering. They are fairly in expensive, but important to note at present there is not the free rental option. We don’t know if this change will become more permanent.

Dress Code for Men at the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque

Men should be in long trousers and sleeves.

  • Men should have long trousers with legs completely covered and shirt sleeves (at least elbow length).
  • If you are wearing shorts, you will be asked to enter a dressing room to hire (for free) a Kandura for your visit. [As above, due to COVID regulations this option appears not to be available in 2021 – come with your own appropriate long trousers or risk being turned away].

Shoes inside the Grand Mosque

If you don’t want to walk around inside the Grand Hall of the mosque itself in bare feet you will want to make sure you bring your nicest socks!

Shoes are left outside in a shoe rack so do remember where you left them.

Dress Code for Children at the Grand Mosque

  • Pre-pubescent children are free to dress as they please
  • From early puberty and beyond, particularly for the girls they will ask that the same dress code for women entering the Grand Mosque be followed.

Note that age is of irrelevance. We know girls as young as 10 who’ve been pulled up and asked to dress as per the ladies dresscode and require the full abaya/shayla.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Timings

It’s important to plan your trip around the Grand Mosque’s opening hours, often adjust for religious occasions:

  • Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 – 12:00 PM, reopens 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Last admissions at 9:30 PM

Timings are always subject to change in the UAE and hours will vary for Ramadan and other religious occasions – please consult the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center for current information, including FREE guided tour times.

You can find this year’s guide to the Grand Mosque Ramadan open times here.

Entry Fee for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

There is no charge to enter the Grand Mosque during the day. If you join an organised tour, however, you will pay a fee for your transportation and tour guide.

To save time, you can register your visit in an advance, but note there’s no obligation to do this; you can register on entry.

A “Green Pass” on Al Hosn is no longer required to enter the mosque.

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, undoubtedly one of the cultural highlights of the United Arab Emirates not to be missed off your itinerary.

More Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque FAQ’s

Can I hire something to wear to the Grand Mosque?

Previously, if you were underdressed for entry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque, it was free to hire an abaya or kandura. However, since COVID, the free rental option has been removed. Should security staff deem your clothing inappropriate, some small shops at Souk Al Jami are on-site to buy some relatively inexpensive items to meet the requirements.

Can I wear jeans to the Grand Mosque?

Yes, jeans fully covering the legs of both males and females are acceptable dress for the Grand Mosque.

Can you wear sandals to the Grand Mosque?

Open-toed footwear is acceptable for both males and females, as long as ankle-length clothing is worn. The ankle must be completely covered.

Note that all footwear is removed before walking inside the carpeted area of the mosque.

Can you wear leggings to the Grand Mosque?

The instructions are to wear loose, ankle-length clothing. This can be trousers or flowing skirts, but a figure-hugging set of leggings isn’t going to cut it.

You must put a full-length abaya over the top of your leggings to meet the Grand Mosque dress code in Abu Dhabi. Note that the abaya must not be transparent in any way.

How do you cover your hair in a mosque?

Your Hijab or Shayla needs to be firmly placed around your head. Staff are on hand to assist you in getting this right.


Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi

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