Chador

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Young women in Herat, Afghanistan, wearing chadors 2009 Herat Afghanistan 4112231650.jpg
Young women in Herat, Afghanistan, wearing chadors

A chādor (Persian : چادر ), also variously spelled in English as chadah, chad(d)ar, chader, chud(d)ah, chadur, and naturalized as /tʃʌdə(ɹ)/, is an outer garment or open cloak worn by some women in Iran, Iraq, and some other countries under the Persianate cultural sphere, as well as predominantly Shia areas, i. e., Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Pakistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Tajikistan, and Turkey, in public spaces or outdoors. A chador is a full-body-length semicircle of fabric that is open down the front. This cloth is tossed over the woman's or girl's head and she holds it closed in the front. The chador has no hand openings, or any buttons, clasps, etc., but rather, it is held closed by her hands or tucked under the wearer's arms.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Cloak long, loose overgarment fastening at the neck

A cloak is a type of loose garment that is worn over indoor clothing and serves the same purpose as an overcoat; it protects the wearer from the cold, rain or wind for example, or it may form part of a fashionable outfit or uniform. Cloaks have been used by a myriad historic societies; many climates favor wearing a full-body garment which is easily removed and does not constrain the wearer with sleeves. Over time cloak designs have been changed to match fashion and available textiles.

Women in Iran

Women in Iran discusses the history, contribution, aspects, and roles of women in Iran. Women have always played fundamental, crucial, and representative roles in the long history of Iran.

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Before the 1978–1979 Iranian Revolution, black chadors were reserved for funerals and periods of mourning. Colorful, patterned fabrics were the norm for everyday wear. Currently, the majority of Iranian women who wear the chador use the black version outside, and reserve light-coloured chadors for indoor use.

Iranian Revolution Revolution in Iran to overthrow the Shah replace him with Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution, was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.

Historical background

Ancient and early Islamic times

Malek Jahan Khanom, Mahd-e Olia, regent of Imperial Iran in 1848 Mahd od Owlia.jpg
Malek Jahan Khanom, Mahd-e Olia, regent of Imperial Iran in 1848

Fadwa El Guindi locates the origin of the veil in ancient Mesopotamia, where "wives and daughters of high-ranking men of the nobility had to veil". [1] The veil marked class status, and this dress code was regulated by sumptuary laws.

Fadwa El Guindi, born in Egypt in 1941, is a professor of anthropology with a PhD in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin (1972). At present she is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Qatar University in Doha, Qatar, as well as head of the department of social sciences.

Mesopotamia Historical region within the Tigris–Euphrates river system

Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq, Kuwait, parts of Northern Saudi Arabia, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders.

Dress code rules whether explicit or not setting out appropriate manner of dress for a place or event

A dress code is a set of rules, often written, with regards to clothing. Dress codes are created out of social perceptions and norms, and vary based on purpose, circumstances and occasions. Different societies and cultures are likely to have different dress codes.

One of the first representation of a chador is found on Ergili sculptures and the "Satrap sarcophagus" from Persian Anatolia. [2] Bruhn/Tilke, in their 1941 A Pictorial History of Costume, do show a drawing, said to be copied from an Achaemenid relief of the 5th century BC, of a woman with her lower face hidden by a long cloth wrapped around her head. [3] Achaemenid Iranian women in art were mostly veiled. [2] The earliest written record of chador can be found in Pahlavi scripts from the 6th century, as a female head dress worn by Zoroastrian women. [4]

Achaemenid Empire first Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

Pahlavi or Pahlevi is a particular, exclusively written form of various Middle Iranian languages. The essential characteristics of Pahlavi are

Zoroastrianism Iranian religion founded by Zoroaster

Zoroastrianism, or Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest religions that remains active. It is a monotheistic faith, centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate destruction of evil. Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster, it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda, as its Supreme Being. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will may have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

It is likely that the custom of veiling continued through the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sassanid periods. Veiling was not limited to noble women but was practised also by the Persian kings. [4] Upper-class Greek and Byzantine women were also secluded from the public gaze. European visitors of the 18th and 19th centuries have left pictorial records of women wearing the chador and the long white veil.

Parthian Empire Iranian empire ruled by Arsacids

The Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce.

Shah Persian title

Shah is a title given to the emperors, kings, princes and lords of Iran. It was also adopted by the kings of Shirvan namely the Shirvanshahs. It was also used by Persianate societies such as the rulers and offspring of the Ottoman Empire, Mughal emperors of the Indian Subcontinent, the Bengal Sultanate, as well as in Afghanistan. In Iran the title was continuously used; rather than King in the European sense, each Persian ruler regarded himself as the Shahanshah or Padishah of the Persian Empire.

Pahlavi dynasty

Military commanders of the Iranian armed forces, government officials, and their wives commemorating the abolition of the veil in 1936 Abolitionofveil.jpg
Military commanders of the Iranian armed forces, government officials, and their wives commemorating the abolition of the veil in 1936
"Statue of a Liberated Woman" representing a woman tearing off her chador, Baku, Azerbaijan Azad Qadin heyk@li - panoramio.jpg
"Statue of a Liberated Woman" representing a woman tearing off her chador, Baku, Azerbaijan

The 20th century Pahlavi ruler Reza Shah banned the chador and all hijab in 1936, as incompatible with his modernizing ambitions. [5] According to Mir-Hosseini as cited by El Guindi, "the police were arresting women who wore the veil and forcibly removing it". This policy outraged the Shi'a clerics, and ordinary men and women, to whom "appearing in public without their cover was tantamount to nakedness". However, she continues, "this move was welcomed by Westernized and upperclass men and women, who saw it in liberal terms as a first step in granting women their rights". [6]

Pahlavi dynasty Dynasty that ruled Iran from 1925 until 1979

The Pahlavi dynasty was the last ruling house of the Imperial State of Iran from 1925 until 1979, when the Monarchy of Iran was overthrown and abolished as a result of the Iranian Revolution. The dynasty was founded by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925, a former brigadier-general of the Persian Cossack Brigade, whose reign lasted until 1941 when he was forced to abdicate by the Allies after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. According to Reza Shah, He named Agha Ameri the successor to his dynasty if it fell.

Reza Shah Shah of the Imperial State of Iran

Reza Shah Pahlavi, commonly known as Reza Shah, was the Shah of Iran from 15 December 1925 until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941.

Eventually rules of dress code were relaxed, and after Reza Shah's abdication in 1941 the compulsory element in the policy of unveiling was abandoned, though the policy remained intact throughout the Pahlavi era. According to Mir-Hosseini, 'between 1941 and 1979 wearing hejab [hijab] was no longer an offence, but it was a real hindrance to climbing the social ladder, a badge of backwardness and a marker of class. A headscarf, let alone the chador, prejudiced the chances of advancement in work and society not only of working women but also of men, who were increasingly expected to appear with their wives at social functions. Fashionable hotels and restaurants sometimes even refused to admit women with chador, schools and universities actively discouraged the chador, although the headscarf was tolerated. It was common to see girls from traditional families, who had to leave home with the chador, arriving at school without it and then putting it on again on the way home'. [7]

Iranian Revolution

In April 1980, during the Iranian Cultural Revolution, it was decided that women in government offices and educational institutions would observe the veil. [8] In 1983, a dispute regarding the veiling broke out, and public conflict was motivated by the definition of veiling and its scale (so-called "bad hijab" issue), sometimes followed even by clashes against those who were perceived to wear improper clothing. [8] Government felt obligated to deal with this situation; so, on 26 July 1984, Tehran's public prosecutor issued a statement and announced that stricter dress-code is supposed to be observed in public places such as institutions, theaters, clubs, hotels, motels, and restaurants, while in the other places, it should follow the pattern of the overwhelming majority of people. [8] Stricter veiling implies both chador and more loosely khimar-type headscarf along with overcoat.

Usage

Women in Shiraz, Iran, 2005, wearing chadors Women in shiraz 2.jpg
Women in Shiraz, Iran, 2005, wearing chadors

Before the 1978–1979 Iranian Revolution, black chadors were reserved for funerals and periods of mourning. Light, printed fabrics were the norm for everyday wear. Currently, the majority of women who wear the chador reserve the usage of light-colored chadors for around the house or for prayers. Most women who still go outside in urban areas in a light colored chador are elderly women of rural backgrounds. During the reign of the Shah of Iran, such traditional clothing was largely discarded by the wealthier urban upper-class women in favor of modernity for western clothing, although women in small towns and villages continued to wear the chador. Traditionally a light coloured or printed chador was worn with a headscarf (rousari), a blouse (pirahan), and a long skirt (daaman); or else a blouse and skirt or dress over pants ( shalvar ), and these styles continue to be worn by many rural Iranian women, in particular by older women.

On the other hand, in Iran, the chador does not require the wearing of a veil. Inside the home, particularly for urban women, both the chador and the veil have been discarded, and there, women and teenagers wore cooler and lighter garments; while in modern times, rural women continue to wear a light-weight printed chador inside the home over their clothing during their daily activities. The chador is worn by some Iranian women regardless of whether they are Sunni or Shia, but is considered traditional to Persian Iranians, with Iranians of other backgrounds wearing the chador or other traditional forms of attire. For example, Arab Iranian women in Western and Southern Iran retain their Overhead Abaya which is similar to the overhead Abaya worn in Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

See also

Related Research Articles

Hijab veil worn by Muslim women

A hijab in common English usage is a veil worn by some Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest. The term can refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to Islamic standards of modesty. Hijab can also refer to the seclusion of women from men in the public sphere, or it may denote a metaphysical dimension, for example referring to "the veil which separates man or the world from God."

Veil any lightweight covering for the head or face or both

A veil is an article of clothing or hanging cloth that is intended to cover some part of the head or face, or an object of some significance. Veiling has a long history in European, Asian, and African societies. The practice has been prominent in different forms in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The practice of veiling is especially associated with women and sacred objects, though in some cultures it is men rather than women who are expected to wear a veil. Besides its enduring religious significance, veiling continues to play a role in some modern secular contexts, such as wedding customs.

Burqa loose garments covering the entire body and having a veiled opening for the eyes; worn by Muslim women

A burqa or burka, also known as a chadaree in Afghanistan or a paranja in Central Asia, is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover themselves in public, which covers the body and the face.

Islamic clothing refers to clothing worn by Muslims, which varies by region, culture, country, tribe, personal preference, and other demographics. Despite the wide range of styles, Islamic clothing generally follows the rules of hijab for women.

Types of hijab Wikimedia list article

This table of types of hijab describes terminologically distinguished styles of Islamic clothing commonly associated with the word hijab.

Niqāb cloth that covers the face as a part of sartorial hijab

A niqab or niqaab, also called a ruband, is a garment of clothing that covers the face, worn by some Muslim women as a part of a particular interpretation of hijab. According to the majority of Muslim scholars and Islamic schools of thought, face veiling is not a requirement of Islam; however a minority of Muslim scholars, particularly among the Salafi movement, assert that women are required to cover their face in public. Those Muslim women who wear the niqab, do so in places where they may encounter non-mahram (non-related) men.

Headscarf piece of cloth worn on ones head

Headscarves, or head scarves, are scarves covering most or all of the top of a person's, usually women, hair and her head, leaving the face uncovered. A headscarf is formed of a triangular or square cloth folded into a triangle piece of fabric, with which the head is covered.

Jilbāb

The term jilbāb or jilbaab refers to any long and loose-fit coat or outer garment worn by some Muslim women. Wearers believe that this definition of jilbab fulfills the Quranic choice for a hijab. Jilbab, jubbah or jilaabah is also known as chador by Persian speakers in Iran. The modern jilbāb covers the entire body. Some women will also cover the hands with gloves and the face along with a niqāb. In recent years, a short visor is often included to protect the face from the tropical sun.

Islamic dress in Europe

Islamic dress in Europe, especially the variety of headdresses worn by Muslim women, has become a prominent symbol of the presence of Islam in western Europe. In several countries, the adherence to hijab has led to political controversies and proposals for a legal ban. Some countries already have laws banning the wearing of masks in public, which can be applied to veils that conceal the face. Other countries are debating similar legislation, or have more limited prohibitions. Some of them apply only to face-covering clothing such as the burqa, boushiya, or niqab; some apply to any clothing with an Islamic religious symbolism such as the khimar, a type of headscarf. The issue has different names in different countries, and "the veil" or hijab may be used as general terms for the debate, representing more than just the veil itself, or the concept of modesty embodied in hijab.

Secularism in Iran

Secularism in Iran was established as state policy shortly after Rezā Shāh was crowned Shah in 1924. He made any public display or expression of religious faith, including the wearing of the headscarf (hijab) and chador by women and wearing of facial hair by men illegal. Public religious festivals and celebrations were banned, Islamic clergy were forbidden to preach in public, and mosque activities were heavily restricted and regulated.

Religious clothing is clothing which is worn in accordance with religious practice, tradition or significance to a faith group. It includes clerical clothing such as cassocks, and religious habit, robes, and other vestments. Accessories include hats, wedding rings, crucifixes, etc.

Hijab by country

The word hijab refers to both the head-covering traditionally worn by some Muslim women and Islamic styles of dress in general.

Jewish religious clothing religious clothing of Jews

Jewish religious clothing is apparel worn by Jews in connection with the practice of the Jewish religion. Jewish religious clothing has changed over time while maintaining the influences of biblical commandments and Jewish religious law regarding clothing and modesty (tzniut). Contemporary styles in the wider culture also have a bearing on Jewish religious clothing, although this extent is limited.

Sex segregation in Iran encompasses practices derived from the conservative dogma of Shiite Islam currently taking place in Iran. Most areas of the country are segregated by sex, except universities.

Pahlavi hat hat prescribed for men in Iran under Reza Shah

The Pahlavi hat was an item of headgear for men introduced in the Imperial State of Iran by Reza Shah.

Niqāb in Egypt

In a predominantly Muslim society, as many as 90% of women in Egypt have adopted a form of veiling. A majority of Egyptian women cover at least their hair with the hijab. A hijab refers to a head covering that is worn by Muslim women. Although the phenomenon of wearing the niqāb, a veil which covers the face is not as common, the niqab in Egypt has become more prevalent. While a few women in Egypt wear a black niqab along with a billowing black abaya as seen in countries such as Saudi Arabia, many choose to wear different colors of the niqab or manipulate the hijab to cover their face. Regardless, the growing trend of munaqqabat, or women who wear the niqab, has alarmed the authorities. They have begun to see this dress as a security threat, because it hides the face, and because it is perceived as a political statement, a rejection of the state in favor of a strict Islamic system.

Kashf-e hijab

On 8 January 1936, pro-western ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran (Persia) issued a decree known as Kashf-e hijab banning all Islamic veils, an edict that was swiftly and forcefully implemented. The government also banned many types of male traditional clothing. Since then, the Hijab issue has become a deep wound in the Iranian politics. One of the enduring legacies of Reza Shah has been turning dress into an integral problem of Iranian politics.

2017–19 Iranian protests against compulsory hjab Iranian protesters to compulsory hijab

Girls of Enghelab Street is a series of protests against compulsory hijab in Iran. The protests were inspired by Vida Movahed, an Iranian woman known as the Girl of Enghelab Street, who stood in the crowd on a utility box in the Enghelab Street of Tehran on 27 December 2017, tied her hijab, a white headscarf, to a stick, and waved it to the crowd as a flag. She was arrested on that day and was released temporary on bail a month later, on 28 January 2018. Some people believe that Movahed's action was based on Masih Alinejad's call for White Wednesdays, a protest movement that the presenter at VOA Persian Television started in early 2017. Other women later re-enacted her protest and posted photos of their actions on social media. These women are described as the "Girls of Enghelab Street" and "The Girls Of Revolution Street" in English sources. Some of the protesters claim that they didn't follow Masih Alinejad's call.

References

  1. El Guindi, Fadwa (1999), Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance, Oxford/New York: Berg, p. 16.
  2. 1 2 CLOTHING ii. In the Median and Achaemenid periods at Encyclopædia Iranica
  3. Bruhn, Wolfgang, and Tilke, Max (1955), Kostümwerk, Tübingen: Ernst Wasmuth, p. 13, plate 10.
  4. 1 2 ČĀDOR (2) at Encyclopædia Iranica
  5. mshabani (10 December 2015). "More veils lift as topic loses political punch in Iran".
  6. El Guindi, Fadwa (1999), Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance, Oxford/New York: Berg, p. 174.
  7. El Guindi, Fadwa (1999), Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance, Oxford/New York: Berg, pp. 174–175.
  8. 1 2 3 Ramezani, Reza (2010). Hijab dar Iran az Enqelab-e Eslami ta payan Jang-e Tahmili [Hijab in Iran from the Islamic Revolution to the end of the Imposed war] (Persian), Faslnamah-e Takhassusi-ye Banuvan-e Shi’ah [Quarterly Journal of Shiite Women], Qom: Muassasah-e Shi’ah Shinasi, ISSN   1735-4730

Further reading