Gutrah, A National Headwear of Arabia

The Middle Eastern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offers a rich and diverse culture. It is a historical and religious heartland of Islam. It is the proud possessor of the Muslim holiest cities of Makkah and Madinah. In these two twin Saudi cities, the Muslims from across the world are gathered to perform their religious rituals of Hajj and Umrah respectively.

Apart from this, there is much more to do in this fantabulous Arabian world. The Arabian lifestyle and culture are derived from the Islamic Civilization. Therefore, we can say that its 100 percent Islamic.
But with the advancing age of science and technology, the Arabian culture has significantly changed from the ancient tribal community into a rich postmodern commodity producer. The Arabian Kingdom is nowadays loved by the whole world of business, travel, and tourism. The Islamic kingdom has wholeheartedly opened the doors of tourism in the country with considerable ease in Dress Codes and Visa policies.

A Hospitable Arabian Culture

Now you can easily land your feet on the welcoming ‘Arabian Wonderland’ with an easy Saudi visa. When you meet the local Saudi dwellers, you would find them courteous and really hospitable for you. An inimitable style of Arabian fellas would definitely amuse and amaze you. Some courteous Arabs may even gift you their beautiful traditional headwear named Gutrah. If you are on a stroll in Saudi Souks and malls you can definitely buy a characteristic Saudi Headwear which is commonly known as Gutrah

Headwear- An Inseparable Part of Arabian Male Dress code

The Headwear or headgear is an inseparable dress component of Saudi male dwellers.  It is the dress part, which Saudis never put off from their heads. These upfront men take immense pride in maintaining their historical dress code. From the Western viewpoint, you can call them as plaid scarves or folk headgears. 

But for upfront Saudis, it is much more than this. In Saudi Arabia, the traditional Arabian attire is a symbol of Pride and Nationalism. Everybody knows that the Saudis cover themselves with long and loose robes (Thobes) with the red-white headwear but the people don’t bother to know a little more about its appealing historical significance.

Therefore, I intend to enlighten you with some interesting facts associated with this characteristic headcover of Arabia.

Arabian Head Covering and its History

The historians write that even in the olden pre-Islamic times, head covering was every time part of Arabian life. During that very time, the Desert men used to cover their heads with multi-colored cloth pieces. The oldest pictures of Ancient Arabian men showed them in multicolored head coverings with a band holding the cloth.

Beneficiary Purpose of Head Cover

The Historians say that the environmental factors of Arabian and Gulf regions caused the dwellers to cover their heads and bodies. The cotton headcloth saved them from the scorching sun heat of the dry desert. Therefore, their headdress became an inevitable part of their life for good.

Gutrah-What is this?

Also called Kufiyyah, Gutrah or Shemagh is a traditional Arab headdress. It consists of a piece of cotton cloth spread by the Arab and Kurdish men. When you visit Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, you notice that this Cotton scarf like Covering never falls off. It is because it is held firm with the double white or Black Headband. This Headband is known as Eqal.

History of Red-White Checkered Modern Saudi Gutrah

 When you stroll on the Arabian land you would see crowds of Saudi men and children in white robes (thobes) wearing the red or white Gutrah on their heads. 

But note that this Red and White Checkered Gutrahs you see were previously not a part of the Arabian World. The Red and White Checkered Gutrah has its roots in faraway London.

For many decades, the British Soldiers roamed in the deserts of Arabia. As Arabs, they also used to wear Red and White checkered headscarves, that were a part of the British Empire. The historians say that the Arabs after having impressed with the Englanders adopted the British style in their own head covering.

Gutrah Style- An Emblem of Recognition 

The shape of Saudi Headdress has almost been similar since British times. But the cloth fabric is becoming more stylish than before. Now the Islamic and Arabian world wear it in different styles, different colors and different ways.

 From the Gutrah Style and color, you can easily pinpoint the different regions of Gutrah wearing the Islamic Kingdom. It would be easy to say which part of the kingdom the people belong to, by just looking at the color and way they wear Gutrah. 

While the Saudis normally wear the Red and White Gutrah, the men from the Gulf countries put on the White Gutrah. Similarly, the Omanis or the UAE locals put on their Gutrah in the turban style with a variety of colors. The Muslims of Palestine wear the Black and White Checkered Gutrah.

Famous Gutrah Brands of Saudi Arabia

Nowadays, you would see two types of Gutrah in Saudi Arabia. The White one and other most popular red and white checkered version. Before this ultra-modern Gutrah style, a Greenish Colored Headdress was worn by the old Saudi people and the police alike.

Now the Saudis also flaunt their Gutrahs as the Saudi Fashion Symbol with the finest fabrics. Just like the Saudi women Abayas, the Saudis get their Gutrahs prepared from the well-known International brands such as Dunhill and Gucci.


The Arabian Dress code with the remarkable Gutrah tradition bestows the Arabian world with a sweet uniqueness. It is an ever Green and ever-present part of Arabian culture. So this Saudi National Headdress holds an immense significance for them till now.
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