Because of their traditional style of dress, the men of the Gulf countries are recognizable at first glance. Whether it’s the dishdasha, bisht, ghoutra, keffiyeh, iqal, etc. the Gulf Arab wardrobe consists of remarkable clothing accessories that distinguish it from other regions. Among the most important and popular fashion accessories is the iqal. Because its refined aesthetic contribution, it plays a vital role in the traditional clothing of Arab men.
What is the iqal?
Pronounced also "agal" or "igal", the iqal is a kind of hard black cord fixed on a goat wool core forming with it a hoop that arises on the head of the man to stabilize his ghoutra, keffieh, or shemagh.
Typically designed in one standard size, there is also has an adjustable version to adapt to the diameter of the head for more stability and comfort. Because of its black color, the iqal is the perfect accessory to accompany your qamis, bisht, or other traditional robes. There are several models: those with a tarboucha, a tassle knotted at one end, and those without a tarboucha.
What is the purpose of the iqal?
It is said that the iqal was originally intended to tie the feet of camels to prevent them from wandering off. Then, it was increasingly worn by men to maintain the shemagh, keffiyeh, or ghutra they use to protect themselves from the sand and sun of the harsh desert climate.
In addition to being very practical, the iqal has grown over the years as a traditional accessory much appreciated by many people, so much so that it is considered today as one of the accessories distinguishing the national identity of Gulf Arabs. There are also other practical applications, as well. When the iqal is soaked with perfume it has very useful role, which is to distribute a pleasant fragrance wherever it goes.