The Sudanese Headdress

21 Feb

This is a very interesting and informative video by Al-Arabiya news channel about the history of the Sudanese turban, or ‘Al 3imma’ as it is colloquially known in Sudan. The video explores the different ways different Sudanese men wear it, and why they chose to wear it that way.

This video is in Arabic and unfortunately does not have subtitles.

However, be sure to watch this silly video featuring two pals, a Sudanese and a Saudi, competing on who could put on their traditional headdress (3imma/shmagh) on faster. Hilarious!

10 Responses to “The Sudanese Headdress”

  1. Eu February 24, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    What about the commoner’s turban, which does not correspond to any particular sect and which isn’t wraped with the intention of granting its wearer ‘prestige’ or distinction?

  2. sudaneseoptimist February 25, 2009 at 1:39 am #

    Well, it’s normal. In most cases, normal is synonymous with boring and unexciting. Unexciting facts are unworthy of being documented for media outlets.

    Therefore, commoner’s turban is unworthy of media attention.

  3. Eu February 25, 2009 at 4:13 am #

    I beg to differ – we’re the only nation in our region to don the turban and the only other place it’s synonymous with is India so maybe a UCB inspired photo montage of different non-sectarian turbans would have been in order.

  4. Sammar E. February 27, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    I wish that documentary had subtitles😦

    As for the Saudi and Sudany competing… That Sudanese guy was fast! However, i think the Saudi guy purposely let him win..The Sudany guy is actually a professor and the Saudi is his student…..I’d let you win too if you were the one who decides my grade!

  5. sudaneseoptimist February 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    Eu– The Tuaregs also wear turbans. It would be interesting to see if there’s any differences between different styles of turbans in terms of N.Sudanese tribes (e.g. Danagla, ja3alyeen, shawaiga, halfawyeen, etc…) I don’t know of any differences, do you?

    Sammar– hmmm, did I miss something in that video? how do you know he’s a professor?

  6. Taric March 1, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    Before representing tribal, political & prestigious distinctions. Our Sudanese 3imma has the honor of symbolizing the fellowship of our profit Mohamed (9alla allahu 3alaihi wa sallam) & the early Muslim Mujahedeen who wore the 3imma al the time not only 2 cover their heads from the heat & so on. But also 2 use it as a conditional tool given their simple/abstinent lifestyles, like a mantle from cold or a pillow on their long travels for jihad or trade, or to tie something up when there is no rope, & we can remember the Blackstone story when they used a turban 4 sharing the honor of mounting it on the ka3ba between the 4 tribes of quraish during prophet Mohamed’s youth

    But the most dignified alternative use of wearing the 3imma, is having your shroud on your head all the time, & in case of death anytime or anywhere & under any circumstances a man should have/own something to be buried with. This of course indicates the strong intelligent belief in Allah & his fate!

    Btw, the Tuareqz turban (which is also similar to the turban worn by some tribes in west Sudan-probably related to the Tuareq) with part of the 3imma goes under the chin & cover most of the face is a traditional Muslim warrior headwear that protects from the heat & the dust of the desert.

  7. sudaneseoptimist March 3, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    “like a mantle from cold or a pillow on their long travels for jihad or trade, or to tie something up when there is no rope,”

    hmmm interesting! I’ve actually never thought of it that way! I might want to get a 3imma myself now…so useful!😛

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  9. Darren May 6, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Good post, really enjoyable stuff. You do such a good page and it keeps me in touch, I will be using this website and your page to come back and keep updated. I really look up to people who take time out of their own time to keep people up to date with everything that is going on. Thanks again mate

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Oh The Irony! « The Sudanese Optimist - March 7, 2009

    […] wear a kiffeyeh once in a while–should I expect to see little Palestinian munchkins wearing a 3imma […]

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