Things to know when traveling to Muslim countries


When it comes to wanting to make a trip to Muslim countries can fill us with fear or doubt because of the information we see in the media and where they are often much generalized making us believe that all Muslim countries are equal. To start, the countries Muslims are not only found in the Middle East, but also in Asia, Africa and Europe. 

It should be clear that those who carry out the acts of violence are not all Muslim society, but rather extremist groups that are often financed by private interest’s alien to Islam. This should be clear so as not to generalize to everyone who is Muslim.

Some Muslim countries are usually governed by the Sharia or Islamic Law, which is a law attached to what the Holy Book of religion, the Koran says about the form of conduct, and will depend on each country the type of interpretation that Because each country interprets the Qur’an in a different way and that makes its rules vary from others.


The actions punish the Sharia are adultery, false accusations or lying, stealing, sexual offenses, alcohol consumption, homosexuality, drug trafficking, disobedience of women to men (whether family or husband) and that does not meet dress standards such as the Hijab or the Burka, among others that will depend on the interpretation of each country, and in ultra-conservative countries such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates are often not very tolerant of the concept we know of freedom; but there are more liberal countries, so to speak, that are very tolerant and aware of the customs of tourists, such as Turkey, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia. So keep your precautions, enjoy the culture, visit the place but do not try to perform the debauchery that we as Westerners know or get to change their customs, since the sanctions can be from jail or whipping, to the death penalty.

Recommendations for traveling to these countries:

Due to the above, it is important for women who want to travel to a Muslim country to wear their hijab or veil as a symbol of respect for the culture they go to. Do not make acts of romanticism in public such as kissing, holding hands or caresses, as there are countries like United Arab Emirates where this is considered a crime. Go out in the company of a man, mainly in conservative countries. And do not try to dress in summer style, even if it’s hot, you should use fresh clothes, loose but covered, as they say “decent” “no need to teach.” Do not look directly at men to avoid misunderstandings, and do not exaggerate with the use of makeup. 

Women’s clothing in Saudi Arabia. As you can see, women wear the burka because of the conservative nature of the country.

In conservative countries, try not to show “a lot of skin”. Even Michelle Obama had to cover herself in Indonesia.

In countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, women must wear their Hijab up to their necks, as there is a guard that is responsible for monitoring that the dress code is actually met. Also in Saudi Arabia it is forbidden for women to drive, so avoid sanctions.

Even Queen Elizabeth was covered because of the Saudi dress standards, which are often similar in other conservative countries.

In Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates are a little more open to the issue of tourist dress, but avoid wearing shorts or skirts no higher than the knees in public. In Morocco and Turkey they are respectful with Western customs, so they do not tend to be offended by the way tourists dress, but when entering mosques you must cover your legs and head. In conservative countries, women are not allowed to enter mosques.

Even if you are a tourist you must be aware that you are traveling to another culture, which you are not going to change.

Important:  As we have seen or heard, there is currently a strong crisis of violence due to extremist groups in Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Algeria, Syria, Sudan; so for obvious reasons do not travel to them for your safety.

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