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 appropriate dress code when entering a religious building in a Muslim country.
Whilst you should always look to dress respectful as a tourist in the UAE, religious buildings require particularly strict attention to not only what you are wearing but how you are behaving.
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 as appropriate attire for the Grand Mosque then the right items can be hired (for free) before you enter. Here’s how you should look to dress inside the Grand Mosque:
Dress code for women at the Grand Mosque
- You must have 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 will become more permanent.
Dress code for men at the 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 dresscode 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
Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday: 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.
Entry fee for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
There is no charge to enter the Grand Mosque. If you join an organised tour however, you will be paying a fee for your transportation and tour guide.
- You can learn more about visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque coming from Dubai on a day trip here.
- Learn more about getting around within Abu Dhabi here.
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.
Before you go… Important things to consider planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack as well as top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Find the latest Abu Dhabi COVID-19 Guidance here.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.Abu Dhabi Travel Planner