Generally when one thinks of types of Islamic attire in Turkey one generally thinks of this style; A pretty patterned scarf matched with a pardesu or tunic and skirt. Pretty “quintessential” modest attire which is both cute and functional while remaining very “mainstream”.
But, many Turkish women who are practicing Muslims eschew this attire and instead wear the “çarşaf” which means sheet in Arabic and Turkish (pronounecd char-shaf).
There seems to be two forms of the carsaf…one that looks similar-ish to a “Pak Chador” which covers the face like a regular niqab and then sweeps down like a khimaar with cuffs and a matching skirt and then a second which is one piece but made to look like 2 pieces where the khimaar is attached to the skirt, with cuffs and gives the wearer a triangle of fabric to look out of.
Like this older woman who looks like she is wearing the first style. I dont think her khimaar is attached to the skirt…unlike the other style.
Close-up of the head area of this style…incidently…upon looking at the top of this young sisters khimaar I noticed that its quite similar to the Algerian jelbab (overhead) style as well…hmmmm…interesting…
The two styles side-by-side…
Here are 3 pictures which show how the 2nd style is worn, as you can see its entirely one-piece but made to look like a separate khimaar and skirt. It looks rather ingenious and I bet is rather comfortable. (I donno how one would breastfeed in it though…)
So now you may be wondering, OK so what type of Muslimah in Turkey wears the çarşaf…sunni? shia? who? While I couldn’t pin-down exactly from what I was told, they are just regular Muslims generally, not from any particular madhab or sect but who wear it for religious and modesty reasons. Granted though, some do wear bit because their religious jama’at endorses this style of attire.
My only real qualm with this style of overgarment is that I am not a huge fan of how some of the women make the triangle very small and so their noses stick out but it covers the mouth…to me, it looks a little odd and I wonder if its hard to talk with the çarşaf worn like that, and what about say, getting a snack and eating in a park…?? Those who wear it with more of the face exposed…I donno…it looks nicer, but still equally as covering…
What do you all think?
I don’t think this style is very popular amongst a lot of mainstream, secular or moderately religious types…because its been akin to pulling teeth from a horse getting information on this attire. The few Turkish women I know in my masjid could’nt or would’nt tell me much about it, except to say its called çarşaf. An American sister married to a Turkish man said her inlaws in Turkey really, really dislike this style. And from reading comments online (using handy, dandy Google translator-which for Turkish is surprisingly good!) it seems like many of the secular Turks find this look very very threatening, with omonous comments like “watch out, this will be the Turkey of the future!!” or making stupid comments like calling them ghosts and sacks of black! A expat Turks even made comments like, No way are those women Turkish, they *must* be Arab or Iranian! No Turkish woman dresses like that. LOL….no, they are Turkish. Finally I got “some answers” from a Turkish sister I know online. Woohoo!
Personally, I like the style, I think it looks quite comfortable and even rather pretty…I like how they are basically a one-piece garment and hello…cuffs for your hands!
And look…you can even do the “Turkish big head” style if your a trendy teenager. hehehehe (joking ofcourse!)
p.s. I want one…so if anyone can get me one…lemme know cuz I’ve basically exhausted all my channels. LOL