The Turban (Arabic عمامة;
imamah, Persian dulband) is a
headdress, of obscure Oriental
origin, consisting of a long scarf wound round the head
or an inner hat.
Early Persians wore a conical cap sometimes
encircled by bands of cloth, which may be considered one
of the origins of the modern turban. The turban did not
become common among the Turks, but was common among the
The shape, size and color of turbans vary, with the cloth's
length being upto 45 meters. In some areas, especially in
Rajasthan the turban's size may indicate the position of
the person in society.
In Hindi, an Indian Language, a turban is called a
There are many variations of the traditional headdress,
depending on the region and religion. In fact, it is said
that, in Rajasthan the style of the turban changes with
every 15 km you travel. The Rajput turbans are different
from Sikh turbans, which are in turn different from
the classical Arab turbans. The Sikh pagdi is also
called dastar, which is a more respectful word in
Punjabi for the turban.
"Royalty" in different parts of India have
distinctly different styles of turbans, as do the "Peasants"
who often just wear a towel wound round the head.
In Arab culture, the turban (or imamah) has an
important place. Ancient Arabs wore them and took pride
in them; to be deprived of one's turban was humiliating,
and knocking a man's turban off was considered an insult.
In daily life, the turban was very useful for fending off
the desert sand and protecting the face from high temperatures
and strong sunlight. In modern Persian Gulf countries, the
turban has been replaced by the white or red-and-white checkered
scarf (called ghutrah or shumagh), though
the turban tradition is still strong in Oman (see Sultan
Qaboos of Oman wearing turban). In Sudan, a large white
turban is worn and can indicate social status. Islamic clergymen
can be seen wearing turbans, in particular Shia Muslim scholars
who have become famous for them (e.g. Ayotallah Khomeini,
Ayotallah Khamenei, Hizbullah head Sayyid Hasan Nasrullah,
and newcomers to the world stage, like Iraq's Ayutallah
Ali al-Sistani). These are worn by Persian and Arab scholars
alike; the black colour indicates descent from the Prophet
Muhammad and also one person known for wearing turban is
Osama bin Laden.