Traveling in Islamic countries: how to behave

We begin by specifying that this article, like any other article on our site, has and will never have any "denigratory" intent towards other religious cultures and faiths.

It would be absurd to deny that traveling to certain countries (especially as women) can not imply a certain cultural shock. Being a Western woman often involves not being used to having restrictions on your clothing, hairstyle, make-up and so on.

We are used to communicating through our appearance what we like, how we feel in that day, even how hot we have. Just think about how much we can "undress" during the summer, wearing shorts and tops that leave the back and shoulders free. Arriving in states of Muslim faith, the situation will be very different.

I do not deny that my journey between Jordan and Oman this summer was sometimes difficult because of the diversity of treatments I have suffered compared to Marco. There was no lack of verbal reproach about my clothing (which has always been modest and respectful of the place as much as possible), grim looks, places accessible exclusively to men and disparities of all sorts and genres that threatened to undermine an otherwise extraordinary experience.

Below you will find some Tips & Tricks to be adopted to feel as comfortable as possible in a country of predominantly Muslim faith.

Consider, as said before, that the rigidity of the rules varies depending on how fundamentalist the country you want to explore:

HAIR

In places of worship it is mandatory cover them in full, under penalty of access. In public, however, it is recommended to keep them as much as possible "compounds", tying them in a tail or a braid (looking at the positive side, you will feel less heat). The local women themselves do not appreciate watching a tourist playing with their hair or leaving them free in the wind.

CLOTHING

You may need to cover elbows and knees, or shoulders and decolletรฉ until you get to wrists and ankles. It varies from country to country. The general advice is to wear accolade clothing , not flashy and wide. Carrying a scarf of dark cotton can be a good idea, if you are in an environment with a large prevalence of men will be indicated to use it to cover the hair.

STUDY LOCAL USES AND COSTUMES

In other words, get "prepared", looking in advance for articles like this and assimilate the idea of the disparity of treatment compared to a man who could live.

UNDERSTANDS HOW SHARIA IS APPLIED

How strict are the Muslim laws of the country that I intend to visit? We are meeting Wikipedia in this case, providing a list of how widespread the Sharia laws are in the individual States:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_of_Islamic_law_by_country

PRECAUTIONS, SUGGESTIONS AND GENERAL INFO

Prolonged visual contact with a man will be perceived by him as a sign of sexual availability, avoid it if you are not really interested.

If you are traveling alone, try to join groups of local and non-local women. It will guarantee you more security and you will be less bothered.

Rarely a man will address you directly on the street, in restaurants or in shops. Always tend to talk with your mate for a man's trip. It's a form of respect, do not necessarily perceive it as an offense to your being a woman.

If you are traveling alone, consider the idea of getting yourself a fake wedding ring. If you approach asking for your husband, you can always say that is in the next shop and is about to arrive.

Hoping that these indications can help, the final advice is: OPEN HEART. You will rarely cross bad people, assimilate the idea of finding yourself in front of a reality and a culture totally different from yours and everything will be easier.

Giulia

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