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.

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.

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

Historical background

Ancient and early Islamic times

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.

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]

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.

Pahlavi dynasty

Military commanders of the Iranian armed forces, government officials, and their wives commemorating the abolition of the veil in 1936
Azad Qadın heykəli - panoramio
"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]

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.


Women in shiraz 2
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


  1. ^ El Guindi, Fadwa (1999), Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance, Oxford/New York: Berg, p. 16.
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c 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

  • Briant, Pierre (2002), From Cyrus to Alexander, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns
  • Bruhn, Wolfgang, and Tilke, Max (1973), A Pictorial History of Costume, original published as Kostümwerk, 1955, Tübingen: Ernst Wasmuth
  • El Guindi, Fadwa (1999), Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance, Oxford/New York: Berg
  • Mir-Hosseini, Ziba (1996), "Stretching The Limits: A Feminist Reading of the Shari'a in Post-Khomeini Iran," in Mai Yamani (ed.), Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives, pp. 285–319. New York: New York University Press
Ali Jador

Ali Jador (Persian: علي جادر‎, also Romanized as ‘Alī Jādor; also known as ‘Alī Chādor) is a village in Hoseynabad Rural District, in the Central District of Shush County, Khuzestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 65, in 11 families.


Aniq (Persian: انيق‎, also Romanized as Anīq and Annīq; also known as Anekh, Aneq, Anigh, Anīkh, Kochev’ye Anekho, and Maḩall-e-Chādor Neshīnī) is a village in Nowjeh Mehr Rural District, Siah Rud District, Jolfa County, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 170, in 41 families.

Brez (clothing)

The Brez (Albanian: Brez or Brezi) is a traditional belt worn by men throughout Albania, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and in the Arbëresh villages of Italy. It originates directly from the Illyrian belt.


The chupalla (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃuˈpaʎa]) is a traditional Chilean horseman's hat made of straw. Many people in rural areas of Central Chile use it as well. In addition, it is often used when dancing the cueca (a Chilean folk dance) and during Chilean rodeos.

The name chupalla comes from achupalla, a local name given to a bromelia plant that was used to make these hats. Today, chupallas are made of various types of straw, including rice and wheat.

The phrase "por la chupalla" may be heard frequently in Chile. It is an interjection which, loosely translated, means "what the heck!".

Firaq partug

The term firaq partug refers to a number of outfits traditionally worn by women in Afghanistan. The styles vary according to region. The outfits consists of three garments: chador, firaq and partug.


The term jilbāb or jilbaab (Arabic: جِلْبَاب‎) 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.

Kashf-e hijab

On 8 January 1936, pro-western ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran (Persia) issued a decree known as Kashf-e hijab (Persian: کشف حجاب‎ Unveiling) banning all Islamic veils (including headscarf and chador), 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.


A kufi or kufi cap is a brimless, short, and rounded cap worn by men in many populations in North Africa, East Africa, Western Africa and South Asia. It is also worn by men throughout the African diaspora. It is also commonly called a "topi" or "tupi" among the Indian subcontinent.

Mekhela chador

Mekhela Sador (Assamese: মেখেলা চাদৰ, English: Mekhela Sadowr) is the indigenous traditional Assamese dress.

Oriana Fallaci

Oriana Fallaci (Italian: [oˈrjaːna falˈlaːtʃi]; 29 June 1929 – 15 September 2006) was an Italian journalist, author, and political interviewer. A partisan during World War II, she had a long and successful journalistic career. Fallaci became famous worldwide for her coverage of war and revolution, and her interviews with many world leaders during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Her book Interview with History contains interviews with Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Yasser Arafat, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Willy Brandt, Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and Henry Kissinger, South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, and North Vietnamese General Võ Nguyên Giáp during the Vietnam War. The interview with Kissinger was published in Playboy, with Kissinger describing himself as "the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse". Kissinger later wrote that it was "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press". She also interviewed Deng Xiaoping, Andreas Papandreou, Ayatollah Khomeini, Haile Selassie, Lech Wałęsa, Muammar Gaddafi, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba, Mário Soares, Alfred Hitchcock, and many others.

After retirement, she returned to the spotlight after writing a series of controversial articles and books critical of Islam that aroused condemnation as well as support.

Pasapali Sari

Pasapali Sari (Odia: ପଶାପାଲି ଶାଢ଼ି) is a handloom sari weaved mainly in the Bargarh district of Odisha, India. The name Pasapali is derived from pasā or gambling games using Chess board. These saris have intricate check patterns of contrast colors resembling the chess boards which gives it such name.


Rabdentse was the second capital of the former Kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now. However, the ruins of this city are seen close to Pelling and in West Sikkim district in the Northeastern Indian state of present-day Sikkim; Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim which is close to the ruins. From the vantage point of this former capital, superb views of the Khanchendzonga ranges can be witnessed. This monument has been declared as of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. It was first established in 1670 by Chadok Namgyal son of Phuntsog Namgyal by shifting from the first capital of Yuksom that was consecrated in 1642.The Rabdentse ruins are part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit starting with the first monastery at Yuksom known as the Dubdi Monastery, followed by Norbugang Chorten, Tashiding Monastery, the Pemayangtse Monastery, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, and the Khecheopalri Lake.

Riha (garment)

Riha is part of a three piece Assamese traditional garment worn with the Mekhela chador.

Sex segregation in Iran

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.

Shalwar kameez

Shalwar kameez, (also salwar kameez and less commmonly shalwar qameez) is a traditional dress worn by women, and also by men, in South Asia, as well as Central Asia.Shalwars are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrower at the bottom. They are pleated at the waist and held up by a drawstring or an elastic belt. The pants can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias. In the latter case, they are known as churidar. The kameez is a long shirts or tunic. The side seams are left open below the waist-line (known as the chaak), which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement. The kameez is usually cut straight and flat; older kameez use traditional cuts; modern kameez are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. The kameez may have a European-style collar, a Mandarin-collar, or it may be collarless; in the latter case, its design as a women's garment is similar to a kurta. The combination garment is sometimes called Shalwar kurta or Punjabi suit.

When women wear the shalwar-kameez, they usually wear a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta around the head or neck. The dupatta is used to display modesty: for Muslim women, the dupatta is a less stringent alternative to the chador or burqa (see hijab and purdah); for Sikh and Hindu women, the dupatta is useful when the head must be covered, as in a temple or the presence of elders.

Everywhere in South Asia, modern versions of the attire have evolved, the shalwars are worn lower down on the waist, the kameez have shorter length, with higher splits, lower necklines and backlines, and with cropped sleeves or without sleeves.The shalwar and kameez were introduced into South Asia after the Muslim conquests of the 13th century: at first worn by Muslim women, their use gradually spread, making them a regional style of northern India, especially the Punjab. The salwar-kameez is a widely-worn-, and national dress, of Pakistan. It is also widely worn by men in Afghanistan, and by women, and some men, in the Punjab region of India, from which it has been adopted by women throughout India, and more generally in South Asia.


Sombrero (Spanish pronunciation: [somˈbɾeɾo]; Spanish for "hat", literally "shadower") in English refers to a type of wide-brimmed hat from Mexico, used to shield from the sun. It usually has a high pointed crown, an extra-wide brim (broad enough to cast a shadow over the head, neck and shoulders of the wearer, and slightly upturned at the edge), and a chin string to hold it in place. In Spanish, sombrero refers to any wide-brimmed hat; in Mexico the hat is called Sombrero de charro.

The Dawn-Breakers

The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Revelation or Nabíl's Narrative (Táríkh-i-Nabíl) is a historical account of the early Bábí and Bahá'í Faiths penned by Nabíl-i-A`zam in 1887–88. The English translation by Shoghi Effendi was published in 1932.The book relies mainly on the memoirs of surviving early Bábís, and Nabíl himself was a participant in many of the scenes which he recounts.

Many of the photographs of the Bahá'í historical sites in Iran that illustrate the book were made by Effie Baker. She was requested to do so by Shoghi Effendi in the early 1930s, and travelled to Iran alone by car from Haifa, Mandate Palestine, wearing a chador for safety purposes.Shoghi Effendi's intention for publishing the English translation was to inspire greater dedication and self-sacrifice in its readers. He gave importance to the study of The Dawn-Breakers and describes the Bahá'ís as "spiritual descendants of the dawn-breakers".William P. Collins states that the narrative reflects, in addition to history, a universal sacred story or monomyth as described by Joseph Campbell (e.g. the story of Mullá Husayn).

Types of hijab

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

The Arabic word hijāb can be translated as "cover, wrap, curtain, veil, screen, partition", among other meanings. In the Quran it refers to notions of separation, protection and covering in both literal and metaphorical senses. Subsequently, the word has evolved in meaning and now usually denotes a Muslim woman's veil or the notion of separation between the sexes. In English, the term refers predominantly to the Islamic head covering for women and its underlying religious precepts.


Çarşaf (Ottoman Turkish: چارشف‎), also written as charshaf, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress. It is a Turkish version of Arabic Abaya and also similar to the niqab and the chador. Literally translated, çarşaf means "bed sheet".

The çarşaf is usually black. As with the Iranian chador, the çarşaf usually covers the lower part of the face, and the cloth is held together by a pin placed below the nose. Sometimes, the part of the cloth that covers the lower face is pinned laterally. In contrast to the chador, the çarşaf usually consists of two parts; a top that hangs to about the waist and a bottom that is cut like a wide, floor-length skirt.

The çarşaf, rather than being a form of traditional Islamic clothing, first became common towards the end of the 19th century, during the reign of Abdulhamid II (1876-1908), as a form of rejection of Western influences. From then, it continued to be used prevalently in remote parts of the former Ottoman Empire such as Yemen, where it is still widespread today.

According to research from 2012 (N/I, N/A 6%), less than 2% of women in Turkey wore it and in 5% in Iraq. According to another survey, only 0.1% of Turkish women wore the çarşaf in 2012.However, it is used for prayer by women. Similar to the use of the mukena in Muslim Southeast Asia.

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