Family in the Park

November 10th, 2012  |  Published in All Posts, homines, photographia

Your first thought about Iran is probably related to the negative aspects of extreme Islam. They exist, no doubt. But look at this family in the park. They could have been any family in any park in the world, but they’re dressed differently.

Achund family in the park

Achund family in the park

The man with the turban is a Mollah – i.e. Islamic clergy. The white turban indicates that he’s Iranian. If he were Arab, i.e. a Seyyed, it would have been black. The turban is actually a long long piece of white cloth which he wraps around his head every day. The cloak may be gray, as this man’s, brown or black – its color doesn’t signify anything.
This picture was taken before the recent decree that special state permit is required for clergy who want to wear clergy attire. This actually means that from now on only Achunds (this is how we seculars call the Mollahs) who identify with the regime are allowed to be identified as clergy.

Behind the Mollah, two men (one is almost completely hidden by the other) wearing long sleeved buttoned shirts on this warm day. This kind of shirt is usually a sign of religious people, but not of the clergy. The women are wearing a Czador (AKA Chador, but my transcription rocks). Czador in Persian means “tent”, and I think you can understand why this garment is called that. A real Czador is one piece of cloth, cut as semi-circle. A woman wearing a chador must always hold it with her hand, the other hand hidden inside the czador. She can’t use her hands. Nowadays there are also Chinese Czadors with sleeves, but they’re not worn by really religious women.

The most surprising thing for Westerners in this picture would be the little girl, who is not wearing any Hejab (Hejab is a generic name for any sort of head or total-body -covering for women, from handkerchief to Burka. It comes from Arabic, meaning “concealment”). Girls have to wear Hejab when they go to school, but out of school they are not obliged to wear Hejab until they reach a certain age, which differs from community to community.

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