Turbans: Any significance?

Is the way a mid-easterner wraps his turban any indicator of rank, religious or political affiliation, or ethnic extraction?

Usually the people you see with turbans are not Muslims, but Sikhs. Sikhs have a religious requirement to wear a turban, have a beard, and couple of other dress restrictions.

So since we see Bin Laden with a turban and beard, in photos, does this mean he’s not a Muslim?

Turbans are worn by Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus.

From CyberIran:

I don’t know if this applies to other Muslims or not.

No. Sikhs are required to have turbans and beards, but that doesn’t mean that no one else can.

I should clarify my post. I was asking about the style in which a turban is wrapped. Some are like a beehive hairdo: a big puff, higher in the middle and all several inches above the head (presumably). Some are even taller and narrower than that. Some are thinly wrapped, with a sort of brim around the crown. Some dangle in back. Some have smaller cloths wound around the temple. Do these variations signify anything?

I think the style of turbans being worn is largely cultural in basis - e.g., the turban worn by a Shiite in Iran looks very different from one worn by a Sikh in India. I realize that I also mentioned two religions here, but no matter how far a religion has spread today, its roots have to trace back to a particular cultural context - in other words, I think culture, climate, and geography influence (traditional) clothing more than religion does. That being the case, then understanding the significance of a turban’s style becomes a task of understanding the complexities of all the cultures that wear them, and that’s more than I can handle. Specifically, Islamic code does not require the wearing of turbans, and the turbans of India are also associated with regions, not religions.

Years ago someone explained to me that you can tell cast by the way they are wrapped. Later I was told that it’s familial, i.e. you learn to wrap it the way your father did.
I looked though and couldn’t find a site, so now I’m not so sure.

Could be both.

Philistine, thank you for the links, esp. the second one. It backs up what you said: there’s no shorthand for the styles and their origins. I’m certainly not asking for details! Just wondering if bin Laden’s people would be likely to all have the same style.

I should have just said that.

I may well be mistaken, but I believe that during WWII when the British Army included many Indian Sikh regiments, each regiment had its own style of wrapping the turbans. (If “Wrappng” is the correct verb.)