All female staff at Dubai Bank, Muslim and non-Muslim, must wear a shailah (head scarf) and abaya (black cloak covering the whole body) starting this Ramadan, as reported in Gulf News.
A memo sent to staff on Thursday says the bank has decided that all Muslim and non-Muslim female staff must wear a shailah and abaya.
A Dubai Bank official who would not reveal his name said a memo was issued to this effect by the human resources manager, informing employees that starting from the first day of Ramadan all female employees must wear a shailah and abaya regardless of their religion.
“Our bank is Islamic and must follow Sharia in all respects, which will satisfy our clients,” he said. While the decision takes effect beginning first of Ramadan, it has become a rule and part of the dress code for female employees at all times.
Gulf News has learnt that the proposal on the dress code was made by the bank’s Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board in June and it was endorsed by the management. A circular was then issued on Thursday.
The Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board’s proposal, a copy of which has been obtained by Gulf News, says the abaya should not have any embroidery or decoration on it and must not be coloured.
It says any female staff who does not adhere to this dress code should be advised by the human resources department at the bank to follow it.
If the staff member insists on not abiding by the law then the matter should be brought to the notice of the executive member of the Sharia supervisory board who can decide upon action to be taken against that staff.
The bank will encourage employees to wear a shailah and abaya by providing staff with them. The head of the human resources department has been instructed to ensure that employees adhere to the dress code.
The bank has given employees a grace period until after the Eid holiday after which it will become mandatory.
The proposal, signed by Shaikh Mohammad Taqi Usmani, Chairman of the Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board of Dubai Bank, says the move will gain customers’ confidence and help market the bank’s products.
Many customers, the proposal said, choose a bank based upon its appearance before considering other aspects. The dress code is essential in determining the bank’s identity as a Sharia compliant institution.
[Ed Note: Gulf News has some interesting comments made by Dubai residents on this issue.]