Turkish çarşaf

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


15 thoughts on “Turkish çarşaf

  1. Asalam Alaikom 😀 I honestly think any style of any country based on wearing scarf, hijab, turban, khimar, abaya, jilibab or whatever shldnt be percieved as anything but something decent/modesty and COMFY (thats the key word!) 😀

  2. Thanks for this info on the Turkish carsaf- I really like them, but I agree with you the nose is better in not out hehe!
    It’s sooo typical isn’t it- that when a woman want’s to dress more piously, more in line with what her Creator has commanded in Qur’an and Hadith, that’s when she becomes “ugly” and “extreme”!!! The more “western” you dress, the more conventionally “pretty” and “fashionable” the more acceptable you are. But once you cover yourself in something recognizably “foreign” and all-enveloping, like a chador or carsaf,or wear the niqab ( shock, horror!) you’ve put yourself beyond the pale- people become offended and downright hateful- and that even includes many muslims!
    I would love to wear carsaf or chador- but I don’t know how that would go down here in Los Angeles! Even just my black, Khaleeji abayas seem to be too much here. I fell in love with chador watching the late Poopak Goldareh in the Iranian series “Narges” on satellite TV . All you could see of her was that lovely face floating in the black of her chador- like the moon in the night sky- wow, what a vision!

  3. I feel you 100%…I wish dressing like this…in carsaf, chador, overhead abaya, long khimaar, etc etc was more accepted…but its not, thats why you see all the hootchie hejabis running around half naked with a scarf on their head and they are applauded…wow, backwards huh.

    Note…the readership of my blog has gone down cuz I dont really focus on “trends” perse…LOOOOOOOOOOOOL…though i never did overly focus on trends…but still…LOL. typical. Allahu alim

  4. I definitely like the long khimar/jilbab combo, but this is too much black for me! And I agree, it definitely looks better with the nose covered. I think I personally would be happiest with a long khimar and a pardesu, a mix of both “modern” and “traditional” Turkish styles; as gorgeous as the silk hijabs are, they don’t offer the chest and arm coverage that I like.

  5. I’m sorry to hear that your readership has gone down- but I hope you hang in there, inshallah!
    I’ve gradually weeded out so many muslima blogs I used to read for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Yours is one of the few I continue to read, and it’s my outright favourite! So, jezakallahu kheiran for your efforts!

  6. Salam alikun , for me this was really informative i did not know ( dont call me ignorant) that it gives women in turky who wear that type of hijab, mashallah. In germany we grow with turkish culture side by side but i never saw it on satilite TV in news or in real , usually they are very open styleish dressed or wear short on the forhead standing hijab . My turkish frind she told me that ones she was invited to a marriage on Istambul she was not alowed to pass by Car through a area with her husbad ( near a police station ) with closed short Hijab the police requested to open her” western “style hijab more lose so that it showes the troath. How this women are discriminated in this great carsaf ? Some muslim conntrys are trying to ban the” real” muslim women cover all together and promote the hijab free sexy style as much as possible on TV and printmedia, this is really sad.

    • well, ive heard that the women who wear the carsaf tend to all live in a neighborhood which the style of dress is common, so within the area they dont have problems. But frankly…en’shallah more Turkish women start to cover-both headscarf/modest dress and even carsaf because those secular Turks really, really need to chill out about signs of religion in the society…I mean c’mon…the society is almost excursively Muslim yet they freak out over the headscarf. LOL.

  7. The type that is also attached to a skirt is very similar to the traditional Syrian type. I know with the traditional Syrian type; one way it is made; is just a massive tube of fabric worn vertically, but the face part is at the very top edge of the tube; and then the rest of the top edge is sewn up like a typical seam you’d get down the front of a normal long khimar; and then there is a gap in the seam of the fabric tube for the arms and hands; and a type of belt is worn or an elastic skirt underneath which it is tucked in to, and some of the fabric is pulled out on top of the belt to give it that two piece look. This pic shows it; though this version is not sewn up anywhere except the ‘khimar’ bit.

    That big head picture is freaking me out though; they look like some weird kind of Orthodox nun?

    • LOL…ah yes,…i see what you mean about the Syrian style…and yes, ditto on the big headed carsaf style…maybe she has lotsa hair or was trying to be trendy with the Turkish big head style…No idea…or maybe she has a massive gamboo’a under it.

  8. Assalamualaikum Umm Ibrahim.
    Mashaallah, nice post and once again my knowledge about Islamic attire is improved. Thanks to you.
    I like the last pic but whatever happen to their heads? The girl on the left maybe has lots of hair.

  9. sister are you sure because those are the only pictures I could find showing really how the carsaf is made to fit…because all the action shots I saw online dont show this, but these do. If you want I can crop them and alter them and add your name. let me know.

  10. yes I am sure these photos are mine I ask you to please remove them because they are personal and it’s me who is on the photo I took pictures to sell my Turkish jilbab
    bâraka Allâhu feekum

  11. OMG i have not seen the “Turkish Big heads” in yeeeaaars. They have toned down now or so i thought. Looks awful i dislike sisters doing that, even using those giant flower clips makes you head look so strange, its deciving and makes you look like you have a odd shaped head or lots of thick long hair… in which ever case its haram and reflects the hadith very well!

  12. Sa. You asked which group they follow? Naksiben it is called..they follow a sjeick, and they don’t follow Ahlul Sunnah. Ghair inshaAllah. Wasalaam.

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