What are Somali Prayer Clothes for Women, and How Are They Worn?

As-salamu alaykum! Welcome to my blog, where we delve into the wonderful world of Somali prayer clothes for women. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the origins, traditions, and significance of these garments. Join me on this journey as we discover the beauty and spiritual importance of Somali prayer clothes.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Somali Prayer Clothes
  2. The Traditional Somali Dirac and Guntiino
  3. The Hijab and Shayla Styles
  4. The Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Abaya
  5. The Modern Somali Prayer Dress
  6. How to Wear Somali Prayer Clothes
  7. Pros and Cons of Somali Prayer Clothes
  8. Cultural and Religious Significance
  9. Exploring Fashion Trends
  10. Conclusion

Introduction to Somali Prayer Clothes

Somali prayer clothes, known as "libaas al-salaah" in Arabic, hold a significant place in the hearts and minds of Somali women around the world. These garments are not only worn to fulfill the religious obligation of modesty during prayers but also reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Somali people. The diverse styles, fabrics, and designs of Somali prayer clothes make them a fascinating aspect of Islamic modest fashion.

At Amani's, we are passionate about embracing and promoting cultural diversity, which is why we offer a wide range of high-quality Somali prayer clothes for women. Each garment is carefully crafted to honor tradition while incorporating modern styles, catering to the needs and preferences of our valued customers.

The Traditional Somali Dirac and Guntiino

One of the most iconic Somali prayer garments for women is the traditional Dirac and Guntiino. The Dirac is a long, loose-fitted dress made from lightweight fabric, while the Guntiino is a wrap-around skirt. Both garments feature vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and stunning embroidery.

The Dirac and Guntiino are not only worn during prayers but also on special occasions like weddings, festivals, and cultural gatherings. They embody the elegance and grace of Somali women and serve as a symbol of their cultural identity.

When I first discovered the beauty of the traditional Somali Dirac and Guntiino, it was during a family wedding. The vibrant colors and exquisite patterns immediately captured my attention, and I couldn't help but admire the grace and poise of the women wearing them.

The Hijab and Shayla Styles

In addition to the traditional Dirac and Guntiino, Somali women also embrace various hijab and shayla styles to complete their modest prayer outfits. The hijab is a headscarf that covers the hair and neck, while the shayla is a long rectangular scarf worn elegantly over the shoulders.

These styles offer versatility and allow women to express their individuality while adhering to the principles of modesty. From vibrant colors to intricate textures, the hijab and shayla provide endless possibilities for women to create unique prayer outfits that reflect their personal taste.

During my travels to Somalia, I had the privilege of observing different hijab and shayla styles in action. It was inspiring to witness the creativity and attention to detail that Somali women put into their prayer clothing. The hijab and shayla truly add a touch of elegance and modesty to the overall prayer attire.

The Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Abaya

Another popular style of Somali prayer clothing is the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat abaya. The abaya is a loose-fitting, full-length cloak that is typically worn over other clothing to provide modesty and coverage. The Al-Sharq Al-Awsat abaya embodies the traditional Somali values of modesty and elegance.

With its flowing silhouette, delicate embroidery, and intricate lacework, the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat abaya is a timeless piece that exudes grace and sophistication. It is often paired with a matching hijab or shayla to complete the prayer ensemble.

I vividly remember the first time I wore an Al-Sharq Al-Awsat abaya during a visit to a local mosque. As I draped it over my shoulders, I felt a sense of tranquility and connection to my faith. The abaya served as a gentle reminder to embrace modesty and devotion during my prayers.

The Modern Somali Prayer Dress

While traditional Somali prayer clothes hold deep cultural significance, many Somali women also embrace modern prayer dress styles. These contemporary designs incorporate elements of Western fashion while preserving the core principles of modesty.

Modern Somali prayer dresses often feature tailored cuts, unique embellishments, and a minimalist color palette. These garments allow women to express their sense of style without compromising their religious beliefs. The modern prayer dress presents an inclusive approach to Somali fashion, catering to women of all ages and backgrounds.

When I first encountered the modern Somali prayer dress trend, I was thrilled to see how women were embracing their faith and individuality simultaneously. It was empowering to witness the fusion of traditional values and contemporary fashion, as it symbolized the evolution and adaptability of Somali culture.

How to Wear Somali Prayer Clothes

Wearing Somali prayer clothes is an art in itself, and understanding the proper technique is essential for creating a modest and respectful prayer outfit. Let's explore the steps to wearing Somali prayer clothes:

  1. Start by putting on an underskirt or slip to provide a base for the prayer dress.
  2. Next, step into the Dirac, ensuring it loosely drapes over your body.
  3. Wrap the Guntiino around your waist, securing it with a knot or pin.
  4. Add a hijab or shayla to cover your hair and neck, styling it according to your preference.
  5. Complete the look by accessorizing with modest jewelry and matching shoes.

Remember, Somali prayer clothes are not just garments but esteemed cultural artifacts that deserve to be worn with respect and reverence. As you don these beautiful outfits, may they serve as a reminder of the rich Somali heritage and the importance of remaining devout during prayer.

Pros and Cons of Somali Prayer Clothes

The Pros

1. Modesty: Somali prayer clothes promote modesty, allowing women to express their devotion to their faith while upholding cultural values.

2. Cultural Identity: These garments serve as a source of pride, connecting Somali women to their heritage and community.

3. Versatility: From the traditional Dirac to modern prayer dresses, Somali prayer clothes offer a wide range of styles to suit individual preferences.

The Cons

1. Limited Availability: Finding authentic Somali prayer clothes outside of Somalia or Somali communities can be challenging.

2. Cost: High-quality Somali prayer clothes can be expensive due to the intricate craftsmanship and premium fabrics used.

3. Cultural Appropriation: Somali prayer clothes should be respected as cultural attire and not worn as costume or fashion accessories without proper understanding and appreciation.

Cultural and Religious Significance

Somali prayer clothes carry immense cultural and religious significance. They reflect the values of modesty, dignity, and respect that are deeply ingrained in Somali society. These garments act as a physical representation of Somali identity and serve as a means of spiritual connection during prayer.

Wearing traditional prayer clothes also fosters a sense of community and solidarity among Somali women, as they recognize each other's attire and share a bond rooted in shared experiences and traditions.

On a personal note, I have always been captivated by the sense of unity and pride I feel when wearing Somali prayer clothes. They remind me of the strength and resilience of the Somali people, no matter where we may be in the world.

Exploring Fashion Trends

Somali prayer clothes have evolved over time, incorporating modern trends and styles while remaining true to their cultural origins. Today, you can find a wide array of designs that blend traditional elements with contemporary fashion influences.

As fashion continues to evolve, it is essential to embrace this newfound diversity while still honoring the rich legacy of Somali prayer clothes. By doing so, we can celebrate our cultural heritage while inspiring future generations to embrace their identity and faith.

At Amani's, we are dedicated to showcasing the beauty of Somali prayer clothes while staying abreast of the latest fashion trends. Our collection encompasses a variety of styles, ensuring that every woman can find a prayer outfit that makes her feel confident, elegant, and spiritually connected.


In conclusion, Somali prayer clothes for women hold a special place in the hearts of Somali people worldwide. From the traditional Dirac and Guntiino to modern prayer dresses, these garments offer a beautiful blend of cultural heritage and contemporary fashion.

As you explore the world of Somali prayer clothes, may you appreciate the craftsmanship, vibrancy, and spiritual significance embodied in each garment. Let these clothes serve not only as a means of modesty during prayer but also as a celebration of Somali culture and a connection to your faith.

At Amani's, we invite you to embark on this journey of self-discovery and cultural appreciation by exploring our collection of Amani's abayas, jilbabs, prayer dresses, and hijabs. Experience the beauty and elegance of Somali prayer clothes firsthand.

We hope that this blog has enriched your understanding of Somali prayer clothes and inspired you to embrace the diversity and creativity found within the world of Islamic modest fashion. Stay connected with us on Amani's Instagram page for updates, fashion inspiration, and more!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. 1. Can non-Somali women wear Somali prayer clothes?

    Yes, non-Somali women are welcome to embrace Somali prayer clothes as a form of modest attire during prayer or to appreciate the cultural heritage. It is crucial to wear them with respect and understanding of their significance.

  2. 2. Are Somali prayer clothes only for special occasions?

    No, Somali prayer clothes can be worn during daily prayers or on special occasions, such as weddings, festivals, and cultural gatherings. They offer a versatile range of styles suitable for different occasions.

  3. 3. Where can I purchase authentic Somali prayer clothes?

    You can find authentic Somali prayer clothes in Somali-owned boutiques, online stores specializing in Islamic fashion, or during trips to Somalia and Somali communities around the world. Amani's offers a wide selection of high-quality Somali prayer clothes.

  4. 4. Can Somali prayer clothes be customized or tailored?

    Yes, Somali prayer clothes can be customized or tailored to fit individual preferences. Many designers and tailors specialize in creating bespoke garments that cater to unique styles and measurements.

  5. 5. How can I take care of Somali prayer clothes?

    Somali prayer clothes should be handled with care to preserve their beauty and longevity. It is recommended to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, such as handwashing, avoiding harsh detergents, and storing them in a clean, dry place.

People Also Ask (PAA)

  1. 1. What are the different fabrics used in Somali prayer clothes?

    Somali prayer clothes are made from various fabrics, including chiffon, silk, cotton, and polyester. The choice of fabric depends on personal preference, climate, and occasion.

  2. 2. How do Somali women style their hijabs?

    Somali women style their hijabs in different ways, such as draping them loosely over their shoulders, creating intricate folds, or accessorizing with pins or brooches. The style chosen often depends on personal preference and cultural influences.

  3. 3. Are Somali prayer clothes available in plus sizes?

    Yes, many Somali prayer clothes are available in plus sizes to cater to a diverse range of body types and sizes. Designers and retailers understand the importance of inclusivity and strive to offer options for all women.

  4. 4. Can Somali prayer clothes be worn outside of prayer times?

    Yes, Somali prayer clothes can be worn outside of prayer times as modest everyday attire. Many women choose to incorporate elements of their prayer outfits into their daily fashion to express their cultural and religious identity.

  5. 5. How do Somali prayer clothes contribute to the empowerment of women?

    Somali prayer clothes empower women by providing a means to express their individuality while adhering to their faith and cultural values. By embracing Somali prayer clothes, women can celebrate their heritage, build self-confidence, and inspire others in their communities.

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