Question # 32: Is it sunnah to wear a cap (or turban) especially during salah (prayer)?


bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

 Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: If covering the head is customarily regarded as a part of adornment in a particular country, then the head should be covered, otherwise it does not have to be covered.

Long Answer: Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: an imam leads the people in prayer and he is not wearing anything on his head. What is the ruling on that?

He replied: “There is nothing wrong with that, because the head is not part of the ‘awrah, rather what is required is to pray in a lower and upper garment, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “No one of you should pray in a single garment with no part of it over his shoulders.” But if he wears his adornment and dresses fully, that is preferable, because Allah says:  “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying” [Soorah al-A’raaf, 7:31) But if he is in a country where it is not customary to cover the head, then there is nothing wrong with leaving it bare… [Moreover,] it is well known that men who are in ihram pray bareheaded, because they are not allowed to cover their heads whilst in ihram. Hence it is known that there is nothing wrong with praying bareheaded.” (Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  “It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said to his freed slave Naafi’: “Do you go and meet people bareheaded?” He said: “No.” He said: “Allah has more right that you should be modest before Him.” This indicates that it is better to cover the head, but if we apply the words of Allah:  “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying” [Soorah al-A’raaf, 7:31) – to this issue, we will see that covering the head is better among people who regard covering the head as a kind of adornment. But if we are among people who do not regard that as a kind of adornment, we do not say that covering it is better or that leaving it bare is better. It is proven that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to pray in a turban, and the turban is a head covering.” (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’)

Dr.Salah Al-Sawy, the Secretary General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America said: “Covering the head during the prayer is not obligatory. We do not know of any authentic proof of that. It has been established by the hadith—through numerous chains of narration—that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “None of you should pray in a single garment without any of it on his shoulders.” (Sahih Muslim) If covering the head was obligatory for men, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would have ordered it to be done.

It has also been established by the hadith from Umar ibn Abi Salamah (رضي الله عنه), who was the step-son of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), who said, "I saw the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) pray in a single garment, wrapping himself with it in the house of Umm Salamah [the narrators mother], putting both edges over his shoulders.” (Sahih Muslim)

So, the combination of what the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did and what he told others to do indicates that it is not obligatory for a man to cover his head in the prayer, however, we caution here that for the most part, the way of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was to wear a turban, but wearing it specifically for the prayer would be a point of conjecture.”

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam