Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code | What to wear to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

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(Last updated on: 19/11/2021)

The Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi is a must-visit attraction when in the UAE. And if you’re planning a trip to Abu Dhabi, then the Grand Mosque may already be on your to-do list! Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the biggest mosque in the UAE, hence the nickname. It is also absolutely beautiful – with over 80 domes and various architectural styles, it will truly take your breath away. So if you do intend to visit, then here is the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code.

Why is there a dress code at the Grand Mosque?

Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code

As with any mosque, this is a highly important place for Muslim worshippers. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque may be a beautiful attraction that tourists love visiting, more it’s more than that. Up to 41,000 people can worship here at any one time. And Muslim people pray five times daily. So it is important, as a visitor, to adhere to any rules and regulations in place when visiting a place of such religious significance.

The Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code

So, you’re in Abu Dhabi and you’re planning to visit the mosque. Here’s what you should wear for your day of culture and exploration…

Dress code for women at the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

You need to be completely covered up – this includes your wrists and ankles as well as your hair. You can do so yourself with long, loose fitting (so you don’t get too hot) clothing. A thin, long-sleeved maxi dress would work.

Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code

Otherwise, hire an Abaya. You can wear these over whatever clothes you choose to dress in that day. These are free to hire at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and most women are directed to hire one when visiting, even if they have attempted to cover up. So it is best to keep in mind that you will likely be asked to wear one! You can hire an Abaya from the gown rental room. This is located next to the underground car park – and you will need ID as a security deposit. 

GOOD TO KNOW: they don’t accept passports as a form of ID to hire an Abaya, so you will need some other form of ID card, driving license or something similar.

Dress code for men at the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

Men also need to be covered up. Don’t wear shorts! It is best to opt for thin shirts, and full-length chinos. Plain clothing rather than patterns and slogans, too. You also may be asked to remove your shoes when entering the mosque, although not always. But it is best to be aware that you might have to!

Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code

Something else to note is that sunglasses are a must. This is not strictly part of the dress code, but with all the bright white marble you’ll find that the sun will be bouncing right into your eyes. To avoid having to walk around squinting, remember your sunglasses! 

Selena Gomez and the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code

Recently, pop singer and Disney Channel actress Selena Gomez posted a photo on her Instagram account of her at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. She was showing her ankle in the photograph. Due to this, she received plenty of criticism from Muslim fans and from the mosque leaders themselves.

She also disrespected the Mosque rules by laughing and smiling. While you likely don’t have as many followers as Selena, it’s worth remembering that there are real people who will be disappointed by your actions if you don’t adhere to the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code.

See the mosque in all its glory here.

Other tips for visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Visit at dusk (usually around 4.30 pm) to catch the best lighting. As blue skies fade to pink and eventually deepen even further, the bright white of the domes and minarets will stand out beautifully. If photography is your jam, this is definitely the time to come if you want some incredible snaps of the mosque. Stay a while, hear the call to prayer and see the incredible blue lights (which change according to the phase of the moon) come on.

There is air-conditioning inside the mosque. It gets so hot in Abu Dhabi, so this will be a welcome addition when you’re visiting the Grand Mosque. There are water fountains and a Coffee Club café, too, so you won’t go thirsty or dehydrated!

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St. You won’t miss it. You can easily get a taxi there from anywhere in Abu Dhabi. If you’re staying in Dubai and want to see the mosque, you can get a taxi from there too. Travelling on a budget? Catch a bus from the main bus terminal in Dubai, to that in Abu Dhabi and jump in a taxi from there!

Costs at the Grand Mosque

You can visit the mosque for free. Between 9am and 10pm Saturday-Thursday, the mosque is open to visitors. These hours differ during Ramadam, and there are different visiting times on Fridays. Check when you’re planning your visit that the mosque will definitely be open to tourists when you’re heading over there.

There is also a free walking our service at the mosque. You need around three hours to really experience everything the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi has to offer, and these tours will show you all the best bits too. The tour times are as follows:

  • Sunday-Thursday: 10.00 am, 11.00 am & 5.00 pm
  • Friday: 5.00 pm & 7.00 pm
  • Saturday: 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 2.00 pm, 5.00 pm & 7.00 pm

So there you have it, the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code and some further tips for visiting. The mosque is beautiful, and well worth seeing. Whether you are interested in religion, architecture or photography, you will really love visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. With its famous crystals, hand-knotted carpet and beautifully designed prayer rooms, it’s a must-see when visiting this part of the UAE.

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Dr Hayley Stainton

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Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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