A Bahraini man wearing a ghutra with an agal over it
TypeArab clothing
MaterialGoat hair
Place of originArabian Peninsula

An agal (Arabic: عِقَال; also spelled iqal, egal, or igal) is an Arab men's clothing accessory. It is a black cord, worn doubled, used to keep a ghutrah (or keffiyeh) in place on the wearer's head.[1] It is traditionally made of goat hair.[2]

It is traditionally worn by Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Jordan, and parts of Palestine, Egypt and Syria (such as the Negev in Israel, Deir ez-Zor and Hauran in Syria, and Sinai and Sharqia in Egypt), and Ahwazi Arabs.

The use of the agal and ghutra is dated through antiquities including bas-reliefs and statues going back to ancient times. The agal is traced in Semitic[3] and Middle Eastern civilizations and even in ancient Arabian kingdoms. In his book Iran in the Ancient East, the archaeologist and Iranologist Ernst Herzfeld, in referring to the Susa bas-reliefs, points to the ancient agal as unique headwear of Elamites that distinguished them from other nations.

See also


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. Second Edition, 1989.
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster definition, online edition
  3. ^ Walther Hinz, Lost World of Elam, pp. 20-21: In referring to dark-skinned Susa in a bas-relief wearing agal: "These must be Elamites from the hinterland. Even today dark-skinned men, in no way negroid, are often to be seen in Khuzistan. They consider themselves for the most part as 'Arabs', and speak 'Arabic' among themselves. It seems likely that the population even of Ancient Elam was a mixed one, consisting of dark-skinned aboriginals of uncertain race and of 'Semites', who had infiltrated from Mesopotamia in repeated incursions since the Akkad period".