21 February 2009
5000 years of history
The abaya (Arabic عباية, plural abayat عبايات) is an overgarment worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world. It is the traditional form of hijab, or Islamic dress, for many countries of the Arabian peninsula such as the United Arab Emirates, where it is the national dress. Traditional abayat are black, and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head, or a long caftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. It can be worn with the niqab, a face veil covering all but the eyes. Some women choose to wear long black gloves, so their hands are covered as well.