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Which country is more secular, Egypt or Iran?

Written by NewsAward
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I’m Iranian, and I spent just over a month in Egypt. I can’t speak with too much certainty, because I didn’t really get to know Egyptian society. However, from what I observed Iranian people are more secular than Egyptians, but the Egyptian government is more secular than the Iranian government.

Hijab:

Women in Egypt aren’t forced by the government to wear hijab, but many of them do. I think at about half the women in Egypt wear the hijab. Iranian women are forced to cover their hair. Most of them wear the minimum that they can get away with, and would never wear the hijab if it wasn’t forced on them by the government.

Mosques:

In Egypt, there were mosques everywhere. From my apartment, I could always hear the call to prayer. It came from two directions, as there were two mosques close to my apartment. You could basically hear the call to prayer anywhere you are. Mosques are always packed.

In Iran, there are fewer mosques. They have much lower attendance. I don’t recall hearing the call to prayer so often. In fact, I heard the call to prayer more when I was in Turkey.

Praying:

In Egypt, you would often see shopkeepers, or taxi drivers placing a prayer rug and praying on the sidewalk, or outside their shops during the prayer time. On Fridays, there would be groups of people praying outside. The bazaar would basically shut down and the shopkeepers would gather to pray on the street.

You would rarely see such things in Iran.

Reverence for the Quran:

In Egypt taxi drivers and Uber drivers often listen to the Quran. On Fridays, you can hear Quran recited on speakers from mosques. Once the Uber driver was listening to music. When we got close to the mosque and the sound of someone reading the Quran came on, he turned off his music in respect of the Quran.

I’ve never heard an Iranian listening to the Quran on the radio or playing it on their iPhones. I haven’t seen the great respect for the Quran in Iran.

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