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HOW TURKISH WOMEN DRESS
The world is rich in diversity. I love traveling in countries with cultures other than my own. Turkey proved a wonderful adventure for many reasons. It’s a beautiful country, the people are friendly and polite, and I felt safe. But for me, one of the most fascinating aspects of traveling there was learning about Islam. And in particular, observing how the Turkish women dress.
According to statistic on the Internet, 99% of the people in Turkey are Muslim. Although Turkey was secularized at the official level under the first Turkish president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (in office 1923-1938), religion remains a strong force among the Turkish people.
Without getting into a discussion of something about which I know very little, I will quote from the following article on Discoverislam.com/ Why do Muslim women dress the way they do?
"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their chastity; that will be purer for them. And God is well acquainted with all they do. And say to the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity; that they should not display their beauty, except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their coverings over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers,â€¦" (Qur'an 24:30-31)
God further states in the Qur'an: "Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage - there is no blame on them if they cast aside their (outer) garments, provided they do not make a wanton display of their beauty; but it is best for them to be modest; and God the One Who sees and knows all things." (Qur'an 24:60)
Muslim women dress in a way that is modest and dignified. The purpose of clothing is not only to protect oneself from the physical elements, but also to protect from immorality and pride. The Islamic concept of dress applies to both women and men. It sets expectations of moral and respectful interactions between the genders. As a result, both men and women are liberated from their baser instincts and can focus on higher pursuits.”
Another site http://fashionlinks4us.blogspot.com/2010/08/islamic-dresses-4-women.html identified the various kinds of garments Muslim women wear. This article states that “This dress code applies to women and adolescent girls, but not to children.”
Abaya: It is a flowing outer garment worn over all other clothing. The traditional Abaya is black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long caftan. It covers the whole body except the face, feet and hands.
Abaya Jilbab Salwar Kameez
Jilbab: This is a garment that may be worn like a dress, usually with trousers or long skirt underneath. It also covers the body except the hands, face and head. The neck and head are then covered by a scarf.
Salwar Kameez: A garment originating from the Indian subcontinent, which translates as “trouser suit” and is comprised of a long skirt, trousers, and dupatta. These garments are usually very colorful and bright, and are sometimes embroidered.
Dupatta: The Dupatta is a long rectangular scarf usually worn over the shoulders in front of the neck or covering the woman’s head.
Hijab: This is a head covering worn by many women of faith in Islam.
Dupatta Niqab Fashion Hijab
Niqab: A Niqab is a veil to cover the face while keeping the eyes and forehead open.
Burka (Burga): The Burka is a complete covering for head, face, and body.
This is what I observed in Istanbul and Izmir, the only cities I visited. I would guess that fifty percent of the women dressed in western styles and without covering their heads. Our tour guides, who were Muslim, dressed like other tour guide I’ve had in other parts of the world. The other half of the women wore more traditional Islamic clothing, and about fifty percent of those dressed in western-looking clothing with a Dupatta as shown in the photographs, i.e. with their heads covered.
Although some wear black or white scarves, most of them were colorful and beautiful, usually made of silk, and are worn over and pinned to a coordinating skull cap to keep them in place. There are all kinds of beautiful Hijab pins like the examples below. The ones I saw on the street weren't as fancy as these.
Many of the young women were very stylishly dressed, although blue jeans abounded among the younger women.
The Jilbab seemed very popular. Women wore them over pants or long skirts, usually in tan, dark blue or black, and, of course, with a head covering. Some are very high fashion, But I didn’t see many of those.
A smaller number were seen in black Abayas (generally older women), and I only saw one woman in a full Burga with her eyes totally covered. She was dressed in black, not a pretty colored Burga.
Nearly all the women carried black purses and had wonderful leather shoes. But you would also see sports shoes and sandals.
Styles I didn’t see on the streets include the very colorful Salwar Kameez, fancy embroidered Jilbabs, and high fashion clothing. I’ve included a few photos from other sources including a Muslim wedding dress and a young woman playing soccer in a hijab.
I’d love to hear your opinions on the Islamic dress code for women.