SIKH vs MUSLIM HEADGEAR: Understand the differences

Sikh headgear.jpg1Many people mistake Sikhs for Muslims due to their turbans, which often makes Sikhs targets of attacks meant for Muslims. Please study the differences in Sikh (right) and Muslim headgear below. You might be able to save a Sikh’s life one day.

If you see a man walking down the street wearing a turban, there is 99.9% chance that he is a Sikh, a follower of a monotheistic religion that started in the 15th century in India. Sikhs proudly wear the turban as part of their religious and cultural heritage. Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims or Arabs. They are neither. Sikhism is an independent religion and is in no way related to Islam.

Seattle Times

turban_sikhSIKH MEN commonly wear a peaked turban that serves partly to cover their long hair, which is never cut out of respect for God’s creation. Devout Sikhs also do not cut their beards, so many Sikh men comb out their facial hair and then twist and tuck it up into their turbans along with the hair from their heads. Sikhism originated in northern India and Pakistan in the 15th century and is one of the youngest of the world’s monotheistic religions. There are an estimated 18 million Sikhs in the world, with some 2 million spread throughout North America, Western Europe and the former British colonies.

turban_muslimMUSLIM RELIGIOUS ELDERS, like this man from Yemen, often wear a turban wrapped around a cap known in Arabic as a kalansuwa. These caps can be spherical or conical, colorful or solid white, and their styles vary widely from region to region. Likewise, the color of the turban wrapped around the kalansuwa varies. White is thought by some Muslims to be the holiest turban color, based on legends that the prophet Mohammed wore a white turban. Green, held to be the color of paradise, is also favored by some. Not all Muslims wear turbans. In fact, few wear them in the West, and in major cosmopolitan centers around the Muslim world, turbans are seen by some as passé.

turban_afghanAFGHAN MUSLIM MEN wear a variety of turbans, and even within the Taliban, the strict Islamic government that controls much of the country, there are differences in the way men cover their heads. This Taliban member, for example, is wearing a very long turban — perhaps two twined together — with one end hanging loose over his shoulder. The Taliban ambassador to Afghanistan, on the other hand, favors a solid black turban tied above his forehead. And some men in Afghanistan do not wear turbans at all, but rather a distinctive Afghan hat.

turban_iranIRANIAN MULLAHS wear black or white turbans wrapped in the flat, circular style shown in this image of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The word turban is thought to have originated among Persians living in the area now known as Iran, who called the headgear a dulband.

ARAB MUSLIM KAFFIYEH is not technically a turban. It is really a rectangular turban_arafatpiece of cloth, folded diagonally and then draped over the head — not wound like a turban. Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, has made the kaffiyeh famous in recent times. However, the kaffiyeh is not solely Palestinian. Men in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Persian Gulf states wear kaffiyehs in colors and styles that are particular to their region. Jordanians, for example, wear a red and white kaffiyeh, while Palestinians wear a black and white one. And a man from Saudi Arabia would likely drape his kaffiyeh differently than a man from Jordan. The black cord that holds the kaffiyeh on one’s head is called an ekal.

turban_nigerDESERT PEOPLES & MUSLIM TERRORISTS have long used the turban to keep sand out of their faces, as this man from Africa is likely doing. Members of nomadic tribes have also used turbans to disguise themselves. And sometimes, the color of a person’s turban can be used to identify his tribal affiliation from a distance across the dunes. This man’s turban is a very light blue. In some parts of North Africa, blue is thought to be a good color to wear in the desert because of its association with cool water.


82 comments on “SIKH vs MUSLIM HEADGEAR: Understand the differences

  1. This post is so dumb, my wife us Sikh and I am muslim we have been married for ten years and too beautiful girls, this is not what any religion is about it’s about respecting others faith, no wonder us Asians are so back words and the world is moving foreword, we don’t stick together this is really sad day for us all.

  2. It’s great that this site is explaining some of the differences with the types of turban styles, yet this site is clearly villainizing muslims or sending out the wrong message. I’m a white guy/not religious and reading this site seems to be sending a message to only stop sikh’s from attacks, yet is making it seem that attacks on Muslims is fine….. Attacks against anyone based on their religious belief or what they wear is a terrible thing.

  3. BareNakedIslam: Please understand that a person like myself who is neither a Sikh or Muslim, can misinterpret things especially since most of us who are caucasian and are brought up in a Western household are really not educated to know the difference. I know that I am just learning the difference because more and more people who wear turbans or head coverings are immigrating to my city and I am curious to know the difference. I am not racist and don’t think all people are bad. Most people who throw their opinions around have not researched what they are talking about. That in itself can make things dangerous as it is out of fear and ignorance that these things happen.

  4. I am not a Muslim I am a Sikh but i respect both religions obviously Sikhi my parents are religious and so am I I pray and do seva at gurudwara But one thing that bothers me is people making fun of my dad and brother cause they both wear turbans but most people are used to it and another big misconception i read somewhere is guru nanak was hindu not muslim he started sikhism but his parents were hindus I love who I am i will never change I hate discrimination against sikhs who people think we are Muslims but no hate against them either we just have different beliefs than them Im only 14 i dont know much yet but i will

      • I don’t think we as Sikhs should feel insulted to be called Muslims, because Sikhism teaches us that all religions are equal. However, we can be upset if people who are ignorant to the differences, treat us badly because of it.

  5. Guys I also suggest everyone to read up on the History of SIKHISM. If it wasn’t for the SIKHS, today India would have been ISLAMIZED. SIKHISM was born during the ARAB/ISLAMIC occupation of India and a lot of the SIKH gurus were persecuted by MUSLIMS. They were the ones who fought against ISLAMIC tyrants like Auranzeeb who imposed forced conversion and tax on Hindus which actually worked in converting many Hindus to Muslims. Read up on Guru Gobind Singh. Auranzeeb, the Muslim ruler went against his promise on the Quran that he wouldn’t attack Guru Gobind Singh’s army. Read up on Chatrapati Sivaji ji as well. Till today as a Hindu I will be always grateful to my SIKH brothers for defending the BHARAT/India

    • My friend Mughals ruled 800-1000 years and in fact if you look the history carefully.Its only Aurangzeb who dont have good relations with Guru. MUslim Sufis in India and other emperor always pay respect and don’t have feeling like anti-sikh. If Mughal would have really forced the mass Indian to convert 80 % population is Muslim today.

      Sikhism is like buddhism who dont want follow Hindu caste system,Gods etc and want have own identity. If really Sikhs help Indian Hindus then why need leave Hinduism.. I have many sikh friends and if I say you are a part of Hinduism n Islam they dont agree and they like to have own identity.

      I am here not for insulting and defaing any religion but please read History well from many sources and then take decision.

  6. Why do you followers of the charlatan prophet muhammed the filthy (may shit be upon him) always have to tell everybody your tedious and predictable life story, when you decided to flush your brain down the toilet and give credence to the absurdity that is islam..

    Always a atheist, but then goes from believing in no god to believing that the god that created this unlimited universe, where the nearest star is billions of miles away and there are trillions of stars, was giving messages to a sadist, child molesting slave keeping, abuser of humans and animals, in a cave in 7th century Arabia, pull the other one it plays jingle bells..

  7. I’m Muslim and I am sitting here with my friend who is Sikh ( we’ve known each other for a very long time, our parents were friends since before our birth) looking at these comments and shaking our heads. Shame on this website, the real world isn’t like this may God be with all of you.

  8. Just a gentle reminder to not put all the people in the same bucket from the first view! In the same way a terrorist of any religion belonging can be disguised in a friendly sich as much as a man of any religion can wear a burka and rob a bank! While being a christian in my own country i remember being attacked by a gang of Indian tourists and almost raped in the street in an European country! That does not make me call all Indians mean and does not make me hate them!
    In Romania, were i was born, there are many Iranians claiming themselves muslims but the true reason is that they would be in jail in their country. They drink, go to women and do everything a muslim shouldn’t do. That does not mean all Iranians are like that, that does not mean all muslims are like that. Probably same kind of mean people have gotten to America as a majority too, due to corruption – with the right money you can get a visa for anywhere!
    A short information is required for wen you met people from other cultures.
    You should know, due to gender separation a muslim of opposite sex than you will not try to kiss cheeks, kiss hands or hug you. He/she may find it very disturbing if you try to do that. Some of them will avoid looking at you specially if you wear “sexy” clothes. And also they may be suspicious because they have been called many times bad names by other people there.
    Friends of same sex can hug and kiss their cheeks, also males. In Romania if 2 males are kissing cheeks you will find people say they are gay, although for women same thing is ok.
    It’s just a culture difference.
    I’ve been christian for 20 years,
    atheist for 3 years
    I am Muslim ever since.
    I am a woman but i don’t wear hijab in Romania, despite my religious belief. I could not wear a hijab were i am too, and surely nothing will happen, but i just wear what everybody else does and mix with the crowd, because i am a human, like any other human and we are all creations of God no matter how we’d call him.
    I have met my Muslim husband while i was almost atheist. He has never tried to talk me into my religious belief and he has always taken care of me wen i was needing, always respected me and treated me equal, proposed to me while being not Muslim and not asked me to chance religion for the marriage.
    I have willingly left Romania to live in Egypt despite the political situation now and for the years i am here with my son and my husband this man that you generalize as a terrorist has been changing diapers, washing dishes by his hand, carrying me in his arms to hospital and watching me and our boy many nights not sleeping wen we wer sick. He has never raised his hand on me and never called me a disrespectful word.

    I’m not here to call anyone anything but to say i don’t like to be judged and called names as i am not judging either.
    May i be the only muslim you know that is friendly? I’ll be happy to talk any time.

    • So you, your husband and your son are all engaged in demographic warfare against the West by bringing more ragheads into the world and by converting others — that’s the only way to explain it!

  9. Hi there there’s at least 73 sects in Islam and only 1 of them will enter paradise we are told and that one sect is the sect that follows Muhammad peace be upon hims teaching and how he lived his life, anyone who hasn’t read the biography of our beloved Prophet then please do how they lived their life is completely different how your typical ‘extremist’ is i.e al Qaeda the extremist type of Muslim your talking about is the ‘Salafi, takfiri, Wahhabi’ type which came about with the help of the British empire which are now the corrupt Saudi family and the terrorist organisation that America and the Zionists have made them selves don’t believe me please google search it your self I my self am a Sufi Muslim (brewali) we are known to be people of peace and harmony the same type of people the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak used to spend his time around just google difference between a Sufi (or brewali) and a wahabi that is if you want to see the ACTUAL Islam but I doubt it because all I will be getting is abuse by the looks of it peace to you all

    • I see nothing peaceful in the mohammedan phenomena. Why was America forced to battle Barbary PIRATES? What was the mohammedan horde doing at the Gates of Vienna? Did mohammed himself not raid caravans? Did he not behead 6-900 Jews of Khaybar, some as young as 12, children, some maybe 70 years old, and enslave and rape the others?

      “Current Sufi orders include Alians, Bektashi Order, Druze, Mevlevi Order, Ba ‘Alawiyya, Chishti, Jerrahi, Naqshbandi, Nimatullahi, Qadiriyyah, Qalandariyya, Sarwari Qadiri, Shadhiliyya, Suhrawardiyya and Uwaisi (Oveyssi).”

      Do you speak for ALL groups and ALL individuals? How about this:

      “Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of Salmaan Taseer, is said to be associated with the Dawat-e-Islami, a non-violent, non-political, Sufi-inspired group of the Barelvi school of thought. The Barelvis are mainly pacifists, having little or no militant tendencies, while most jihadists and militant groups, with few exceptions, believe in a more puritanical version of Islam…”

      “So does this mean orthodox Islam is essentially violent and Sufi Islam non-violent? My answer is, ‘no’. Blanket generalisations are wrong in either case. Neither are all orthodox Muslims militants, nor are all Sufis pacifists. Many would disagree with the latter part of my thesis because they believe Sufis are peace-loving, proselytising preachers. But I say, not essentially.”

      “Read history. Sufi sheikhs and dervishes led revivalist movements, fighting foreign rule as well as the ‘tyranny and oppression’ of Muslim rulers.”

      “…all I will be getting is abuse by the looks of it…”

      Is the above abuse or history?

    • If anyone still thinks that the Sufis are good people, then this self-professed Sufi’s calling of America and Israel a “terrorist organization” should open your eyes to their true nature! The Sufis are just as much our enemies (and therefore just as much terrorists) as the Salafis/Wahhabis — the above comment proves it!

  10. lol
    Muslims in my area don’t even wear a turban.
    The Women all wear a sari to special occasions, but then that’s just Indian tradition.
    Can’t comment about politics in India/Pakistan but then, that’s politics and not religion.
    As for Muslim’s “stealing” Egypt, I believe it would be closer to the truth to say that Egyptians “stole” the Muslim religion.
    Do the people commenting here realise that Muslims are derived from many nations and that Islam is a religion, not a race?
    And what about the 80% of Muslims of either gender who choose not to wear any sort of headgear?
    As far as I know, this is not even an option for a Sikh. (I’m quite open to being corrected on this though)

    Chances are that anyone who attacks a Sikh knows that he is attacking a Sikh. And let’s be honest, attacking anyone purely because you do not like his/her race, religion, sexual preference or hair colour is just wrong.

    • Attacking muzzies for being muzzies is NOT wrong — the very existence of Islam is a threat to everyone else in the world! Read the Koran, for Heaven’s sake, will ya?

  11. Sikhs are great people.
    In the Golden temple they feed hundreds of people every day no matter what colour,creed or faith,plus they have served in our armed forces with destinction for two hundred years or more.

  12. Yes, it is sad when some uneducated American takes a pot shot at men in turbans. Especially after 9-11. Also the more recent incident, the idiot killed quite a few at their temple worship ceremony… Really sad.
    The women’s clothing can be alittle tricky for the casual observer, not to be mistaken for muzzie. What I noticed is that their clothing is of a traditional Sari, and not like Omars tent. With western clothes, the head scarf is worn very loosely, not super tight like muzzies do. AND most importantly, they don’t smell like muzzies!!

    Good citizens, and a great contributors to American society.

  13. No one on the Left really bothers to stick up for minorities and produce articles like these. Instead it’s just obscurantist nonsense that hides the victims out of political convenience.

    You show em BNI!

    • It is very much to the advantage of Leftists that People of Color in general are targeted by idiots. It is very much to the advantage of UAF that Leftists in general are targeted by idiots.
      Do distinguish between the economic Left and the islamophilic Left. “Anti-racism” divides the working class between “oppressed” muslims and “oppressing” non-muslims. We should not allow the working class to be divided!

  14. The land which Pakistan sits on is stolen land………….It was stolen by the Muslims with the connivance of the Brits.

    The previous owners were the Sikhs and Hindus.

    There is NOT one piece of land that Islam now sits on that has not been stolen from someone else at some time. Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, Pakistan, Bangla Desh. Turkey was Anatolian Greece, Istanbul was Constantinople, Egypt belonged to the Copts, Londonistan used to be called London, etc. It’s all Stolen Land, or in the process of being stolen

    • “…with the connivance of the Brits.”

      Can you enlarge on that? If it wasn’t for the sanctification of Gandhi, and what he achieved, India might have been prosperous and successful like Canada and Australia, and more powerful than China.** Not that it’s doing badly at all.

      But that venomous islamist creep with an inferiority complex a mile high – Mohammed Ali Jinna – would never tolerate his precious mohammedan brood living in any kind of partnership where they weren’t the one and only, supreme high boss. So he forced partition, and was thus directly responsible for the deaths of a million total on both sides, and maybe $500 billion damages in today’s values.

      From that sprang three bloody wars and nuclear weapons. And A.O. Khan, Pakistan’s evil thief and nuclear genius, and purveyor of nuclear secrets to despots around the world.

      **Cui bono? Wasn’t it/isn’t it in China’s interest to divide and conquer greater India?

      Sorry, off topic, except toxic islam.

      • When the Brits, forced both by their crushing post-war debt and popular pressure into giving up their colonies ASAP, prepared to leave India, the guy who was assigned to devise the Pakistani frontiers wanted at least a year or more for his task. He was given only one MONTH by his superiors!!! Naturally he couldn’t but make mistakes as to where exactly the borders would be – though bloodshed was inevitable given the rapidly-escalating Hindu-Moslem hatred (which of course the Moslems had and have all along for everybody else!!!). It’s said that it’s a miracle that more fighting and bloodshed didn’t ensue than what did.

        Of course, Kashmir continues to be a sore point between India and Pakistan; and, given the odds especially for the Moslems to jettison all reason (something they’re extremely good it), sooner or later we’re guaranteed to have all-out nuclear war between the two!! When that happens, here’s to the hope that India will win hands-down!!!


        “After arriving in India on 8 July 1947, Radcliffe was given just 5 weeks to decide on a border. He soon met with his college alumnus Mountbatten and travelled to Lahore and Calcutta to meet with commission members, chiefly Nehru from the Congress and Jinnah, president of the Muslim League. He objected to the short time frame, but ALL PARTIES WERE INSISTENT that the line be finished by the 15 August British withdrawal from India.”

  15. Interesting article. My husband and I used to go to a Sikh owned Indian restaurant when we lived in Utah. Since the Indian restaurants here are Muslim owned we have to cook it for ourselves. Right after the 9-11 attacks there was in incident in Sacramento- we were living there at the time- where a man mistaked the Sikh temple for a mosque, crashed through the gate and urinated in a pool of water used for cleansing before worship.

  16. Sometimes it is very easy to tell the difference. The quiet one on his way to work is a Sikh. The one with his head back, his mouth open so wide that you can see light coming in the other end, screaming somehing about an Alley Snackbar,and carrying a sign that says sharia law is the only way is a muslim and probably a spokesman for cair.

    • Thanks SweetOlBob for the laugh of the day, Alley Snackbar, hillarious.
      This article was indeed informative too. Very much appreciated I must say.

  17. Well done for taking the time to spread awareness of the differences between muslim and sikh head gear. Im sikh myself (although i dont wear turban) and I enjoy visiting your website to see what the trouble makers are getting upto on this great website

    The newer generation sikhs (shall i say third generation living in western countries) like to wear smaller “compact” turbans. Although alot of sikhs do cut their hair.

    example of compact turbans worn by sikhs in western countries

    If you are not sure, always check if he is wearing a steel bracelet worn on the right arm (sometimes gold braclet), See picture above.
    All sikhs wear the steel bracelet whether males and females

    OH and shokria (or shukria) means well done in hindi :)

    • Are you sure about the bracelet? Is this just a person choice or a requirement? How can you tell the difference between a Sikh woman and a muslim woman, do they still wear a scarf? There is a small woman I see now and then and she says Hi to me, muslim women and men never say hi unless you say it first, my own personal experience. But if I can tell they are muslims I ignore their arse. Peace to all non-muslims who want to know.

      • It is a REQUIREMENT as a SIKH to wear the silver or gold bracelet!! Sikh woman cover their heads different than Muslims do. We have a longer scarf that covers our head, as Muslims only have the hijaab. Sikhs are way different!

      • PS, the average person doesn’t know that and can’t recognize it. That’s why Sikhs keep getting mistaken for Muslims and attacked. You can keep your pride or you can keep your life. Your choice.

    • I was born here 52 years ago, my family has been in america at least 100 years. Most days you will find me in a thobe and sandals, and if I am dressed up or it is cold or very sunny you may find me wearing an igal and a shemaugh.

      The US army and many western forces issue shemaugh to troops. They use them the same way “natives” use them. If you go to a sporting goods store you will find many shemaugh available in a variety of patterns, and many hunters and survivalists consider them essential.

      So tell me, how does an “american” dress?

    • FORGET IT, “masteradrian”!!!!! Your anti-theism is just as bad as the Islamic hatred of everybody else – with that attitude, you’ll be an outstanding Commie or Nazi!!!!

      SHAME ON YOU!!!

      DEATH TO ALL totalitarianism: ISLAM, FASCISM, NAZISM and COMMUNISM!!!!!

      Meanwhile, dear Ms. BNI:

      Thank you so very much for this posting: quite educational and something I most certainly welcome and wish to know about!!! I don’t want to risk wronging any Sikhs or Hindus – or anybody else but Moslems and other totalitarians like that dictator wannabe “masteradrian”!!! [His attitude is a complete TURN-OFF!!!!]

    • There is nothing without the necessity of symbolism. If had been investigated must have realized; I am sorry for objective remarking.

  18. I’m glad you posted this BNI. Too many people just aren’t sure of the difference. I’ve shared this on my FB page to assist others.

  19. Thanks for this. I found it informative. I have been wondering because I noticed what I sorta thought were muslims around me but like Ken & Bruce mention, they seemed different than muslims. Friendly and just something about them in general felt unlike what I feel around muslims. I noticed a bumper sticker not long ago that said Sikh’s Love America. Made me smile. Generally you can tell the difference in just the demeanor but it helps to know for sure. Thanks!

  20. Can always see the difference between Sikh’s and muslims. The one that looks intelligent is a Sikh.

  21. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area I’ve had the oportunity to meet a few Sikh men and more muslims than I would like.
    Besides the headgear the one obvious difference between the two is the general attitude.
    The Sikh’s I’ve met have all been open, outgoing & very friendly. The latest just a couple of weeks ago while waiting for a Bart train.
    with whom I started a conversation about the problems Sikh’s were facing in India with muslim’s. Funny he was like most American’s, unaware that there’s a problem at all.
    The too many muslims I’ve met have been closed off, uptight & more than half reeking of arogance.
    A friend met a Sikh & was invited to their religous services & then to a family’s home for a meal.
    He said all the people were very hospitable & friendly.
    Easy for me to see which one get the crosshairs.

  22. there is one more head cover of Sikhs that you didn’t list. It looks like a “bun” in the front and is for Sikh males who have not gone through the manhood rituals.

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