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Customs and Culture >
Why do Muslim men wear turbans or caps?

Not all Muslim men wear turbans, and not all men who wear turbans are Muslims. Sikhs, for example, wear turbans as a religious requirement. Many Muslim men do not wear any head covering at all. Head coverings tend to be associated with culture, rather than with religion.

Head coverings for Muslim males who choose to wear them include turbans, fezzes, prayer caps or skullcaps, keffiyahs, and traditional Arab head coverings. Turbans are most often associated with the Taliban of Afghanistan and Iranian clerics. The color of the turban often indicates the status of the wearer: black marks the wearer as a sayyid, or descendant of Muhammad, while white signifies that the wearer is not a descendant of Muhammad. The fez was the traditional head covering of Turkish men during the late Ottoman era. It was forcibly replaced with a European-style brimmed hat in the early twentieth century. Keffiyahs tend to be associated with Jordan and Palestine and are often worn today to indicate sympathy for the Palestinian national cause. Traditional Arab head coverings, such as those worn in Saudi Arabia, were originally designed to protect the head and neck from the sun. Prayer caps and skullcaps are typically found in Pakistan and among some African American Muslims.

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