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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Wearing Cap and Amamah (Turban),

Sunnah and Habit of Allah's Messenger (PBUH)

Each and every act of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) does not only deserve to be adopted by a true Muslim but also worthy of doing in whatever capacity we adopt them. Whether such act is related to worship or related to the daily routine habits, such as eating or wearing dresses etc. Every member of this Ummah must do whatever is in his capacity to adopt the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) in his life. If he is unable to adopt some Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (PBUH), he should at least love them and must regret for not being able to adopt them.

The Muslim Ummah unanimously agree that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) used to wear Amamah (Turban) or cap. Given below are proofs from Ahadeeth and opinions of the scholars of Ummah.

Ahadeeth about Amamah (Turban)

Amr bin Huraith (RA) narrates that while the prophet (PBUH) was delivering sermon to people at that time he was wearing a black Amamah on his head. (Muslim)

It is narrated from various companions of the prophet (RA) including Jabir and Abdullah bin Umar (RA), when the prophet (PBUH) entered Makkah on the day of the conquest of Makkah, was wearing a black Amamah. (Muslim, Tirmizi & Ibne Majah etc.)

Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) says, when the prophet (PBUH) delivered a sermon (in death illness) he was wearing a black Amamah. (Bukhari, Shamaele Tirmizi)

It is narrated by Abu Saeed al-Khudhari (RA) that when the prophet (PBUH) would wear any new cloth, he would name it whether it is a Qamees or an Amamah or a cloak then recite this Supplication. (O my Allah, I thank You for You wore me this, I seek its goodness and seek the goodness for which it is made and seek Your refuge from its evil and the evil for which it is made. (Tirmizi) This is known from this Hadeeth that Amamah was also a part of his (PBUH) dress.

Anas (RA) says, I saw the prophet (PBUH) making Wudhu while he was wearing a Qitari Amamah. He (PBUH) entered his hand beneath Amamah to wipe the front portion of his head and did not remove Amamah. (Abu Dawood)

Qitari: It is a kind of rough and thick cloak, and there are rectangles of red color thread on white background.

Abdullah bin Umar (RA) says that the prophet (PBUH) said, one who put on Ihram either for Hajj or Umrah, can’t wear Qamees, Amamah, Pajama and cap. (Bukhari & Muslim) It is known from this Hadeeth that people in the time of the prophet (PBUH) were habitual of wearing Amamah.

We do not find any book of Hadeeth, in which his (PBUH) Amamah has not been mentioned.

Size of Amamah (Turban):

There are different opinions about the size of Amamah. However, based on the research, the most correct opinion is that there is no specific size of Amamah. However, Amamah of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) used to be of 5 or 7 arms, even 12 arms has also been reported.

Color of Amamah (Turban):

Amamah of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) used to be white in general. However, sometimes Allah's Messenger (PBUH) also used Amamah of other colours. Some Ahadeeth have been mentioned above about the black Amamah. Mustadark Hakim and Tabrani has also mentioned about white Amamah of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). In addition, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) used to like white dresses the most. It is mentioned in a number of Ahadeeth.

Hanging Shamla of Amamah (Turban):

It is desirable to hang shamla and it is from additional Sunan. As far as the length of shamla is concerned, some Ahadeeth say it is better to be of 4 fingers’ length.

It is narrated by Amr bin Huraith (RA) that, I saw the prophet (PBUH) on the pulpit, he was wearing a black Amamah and both its ends were in the middle of his shoulders i.e. it was hanging on his back. (Muslim, Ibne Majah & Abu Dawood)

Abdullah bin Umar (RA) narrates that, whenever the prophet (PBUH) uses Amamah, he would hang it in between his shoulders. Nafe’ (RHA), (student of Abdullh bin Umar (RA)) says that, Abdullah bin Umar (RA) also used to do the same. (Tirmizi)

Ayesha (RA) says that a man came to the prophet (PBUH) riding on a Turkish horse and wearing an Amamah and he had hanged the end of Amamah in the middle of his shoulders. I asked the prophet (PBUH) about him, he asked, have you seen him, he was Jibrael (AS). (Mustadrak Hakim)

Amamah (Turban) and Salah:

Whether there is special virtue for offering salah wearing Amamah or not, a number of Ahadeeth have been reported on this subject. However, they are in general either weak or fabricated. Such as "Amamah is a crown of the Arab" (Dailami), "Use Amamah your forbearing will be increased" (Baihaqi, Mustadrak Hakim), "Use Amamah all the time, for this is a sign of angles and hang it behind you" (Baihaqi, Tabrani, Dailami), "Offering two Rak’at of salah wearing Amamah is better than offering 70 rak'at of salah without wearing Amamah (Dailami), "Offering one Friday salat wearing Amamah is better than offering 70 Friday salahs without wearing Amamah (Dailami).

Scholars and jurists are of the opinion that even though any specific virtue for offering salah wearing Amamah has not been reported in Ahadeeth, however, since it was a sunnah and habit of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and his companions (RA), Taba’een and Taba’ Taba’een were also habitual of wearing Amamah, and this has never been a dress of any other community, being exclusively a logo of the Muslims and an adornment for a person. Therefore, it should not be our habit to offer salat without wearing Amamah. We should also wear Amamah or cap in general, and we should offer salat using either Amamah or a cap, though it is neither obligatory nor an emphasized Sunnah.

When we have proof about the habit of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) to wear Amamah about which Muslim Ummah unanimously agree, then even if there is no specific virtue for wearing Amamah, it is a sufficient proof for its virtue that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) used it. For example Allah's Messenger (PBUH) loved white dresses, it is better to wear dresses of white colour even though we do not find any proof for a specific virtue or plentiful good deeds.

Wearing Amamah (Turban) above the cap:

Rakanah (RA) says, I heard the prophet (PBUH) saying that to wear a cap and Amamah is the difference between us and a polytheist. (Tirmizi) Some Muhadditheen have opined that one of the narrators of this chain is weak.

Some Ahadeeth about Cap:

Abdullah bin Umar (RA) says that the prophet (PBUH) used to wear white cap. (Tabrani)

Abdullah bin Umar (RA) says that the prophet (PBUH) said, one who put on Ihram either for Hajj or Umrah, can’t wear Qamees, Amamah, Pajama and cap. (Bukhari & Muslim) It is known from this Hadeeth that people in the time of the prophet (PBUH) were habitual of wearing the cap.

Ayesha (RA) said that, the prophet (PBUH) used to wear long cap while in journey and small cap while at home.

Khalid bin Waleed (RA) lost his cap in the battle of Yarmouk, he asked his friends to search for it, when they got it, he said when the prophet (PBUH) shaved his hair after completing Umrah, the companions hastened to take his shaved hair, at that moment I took his (PBUH) front hair and kept in this cap, from that time whenever I took part in any battle, this cap remains with me  and due to its blessings I got victory (by the order of Allah). (Baihaqi in Dalailun Nubuwwah and Hakim in Mustadrak)

Imam Bukhari in his book has narrated a saying of Hassan Basari (RHA), the companions (RA) used to do Sujud on either their caps or Amamah due to extreme heat.

Abdullah bin Umar (RA) saw his slave offering Salah bare-headed, he became angry and said Allah is most deserving, that we should stand before Him with adornment.

Zaid bin Jubair and Hisham bin Urwah (RHA) said that, we saw a cap on the head of Abdullah bin Zubair (RA). (Musannaf Ibne Abi Shaibah)

Abdullah bin Saeed (RHA) said that, I saw a cap on the head of Ali bin Abi Talib (RA). (Musannaf Ibne Abi Shaibah)

Father of Asha’th (RHA) said that, I saw a cap on the head of Abu Moosa Asha’ri (RA) when he came out of toilet. (Musannaf Ibne Abi Shaibah)

Note:Inthe famous book of Hadeeth Musannaf Ibne Abi Shaibah there is a mention of caps of a number of prophet's companions (RA). I will mention only three Ahadeeth due to space constraints.

Opinions of Some Scholars of Ummah about Cap:

It is difficult to discuss, at length, about the cap of Allah's Messenger (PBUH), and his companions in this short article. Therefore, the Ahadeeth mentioned above are sufficient. However, I feel it appropriate to mention opinions of some scholars and jurists.

Sheikh Nau’man bin Thabit i.e. Imam Abu Hanifah (RHA) was of the opinion that if salah is offered bare-headed, it is valid, but Makrouh (disliked). This opinion has been mentioned in a number of books of Hanafi school of thought.

A great scholar Ibnul-Qayyim (RHA) wrote that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) would wear Amamah with cap beneath it. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) would also wear cap without Amamah and wear Amamah without cap. (Zadul Ma'ad Fi Hadye Khairil Ibad).

Sheikh Nasiruddeen Albani (RHA) was of the opinion that offering salah bare-headed is valid but Makrouh (disliked).

Sheikh Ibnul Arabi (RHA) said, cap is the part of the dresses of prophets and pious people. It protects head and fixes the Amamah. (Faizul Qadeer)

A great majority of scholars of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh say that offering salah bare-headed is valid but Makrouh (disliked).

An Ahl-e-Hadith scholar wrote "Offering salah bare-headed is valid because we find its proof from Prophet's companions (RA), however, out of love of fashion adopting biased approach towards cap, if a person makes it a habit to offer salah without covering his head as it has gained wide currency today, it is not appropriate. This is because Allah's Messenger (PBUH) himself did not do this. (Ahl-e-Hadith magazine, Sohadrah, Pakistan Volume 15 Serial 22)

Another Ahl-e-Hadith scholar Maulana Sayed Muhammad Dawud Ghaznawi (RHA) wrote "Head is not from among the body parts that must be covered. However, the issue of offering salah bare-headed should not be seen from this perspective, and it should be seen in the context of etiquette of offering salah". He further quoted statements and excerpts from different books, such as Hadeeth narrated by Imam Bukhari (RHA) about the necessity of covering shoulders, Hadeeth narrated by Imam Malik (RHA) in his book Mu'atta; explanation of Mu'atta by Zarqani (Preface), Ibne Abdul Bar, explanation of Sahih Bukhari Fat'hul Bari, the book compiled by Great scholar of Islam Imam Ibne Taimiyyah (RHA), Al-Mughni complied by Imam Ibne Qudama, that even though shoulders are not from among the parts that must be covered, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) had prohibited to offer salah with bare shoulder even if there is only one cloth. Likewise, though it is not from among the parts that must be covered, but it is from the etiquette of offering salah that one should not offer salah without wearing cap unless there is a justifiable reason for that, and he was of the opinion that it is a requirement of the adornment for which we have been ordered. Excluding the beginning of the Islam when there was scarcity of clothes, I have not seen any narration that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) or his companions (RA) have offered salah in congregation bare-headed, let alone this had been a habit. This trend which is gaining currency nowadays must be stopped. If one offers salah due to his love of fashion, his salah in this way will be Makrouh (disliked).

Another Ahle Hadith scholar Maulana Muhammad Isma'il Salafi (RHA) wrote: the way of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and his companions (RA) is what the people have been adopting while offering their Salahs generation by generation in mosques. I have never seen any Ma’roof Hadeeth (Hadeeth whose chain reaches to Allah's Messenger (PBUH)) which approves offering salah bare-headed, especially offering obligatory salah in congregation. Rather, it was habit of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) to offer salah completely covered. The habit of offering salah bare-headed is not a good habit. This habit is spreading day by day as a means of fashion which is inappropriate. (Fatawa Ulama’e Ahle Hadeeth Vol. 4 pp 286-289)

All the scholars of Saudi Arabia are of the opinion that wearing cap is a Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). All Muhadditheen, Mufassireen, Jurists, other scholars and pious people are of the same opinion. In addition, wearing cap is an adornment for a man, which is required in the light of the teachings of the Qur’an (Verse 31 of Surah Al-Araf). Therefore, we should offer salah wearing cap only. One can go through these fatawas (Islamic rulings) on the websites of Saudi Scholars. Under the Saudi rules and regulations, any government authority does not entertain any citizen and not complete any transaction unless the person goes to a government authority wearing cap and scarf. It is a habit of the general public of Saudi Arab that they generally offer salah covering their heads.

Point One:

These days a small group of Muslim Ummah based on a narration narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) seems to be encouraging to offer salah bare-headed in which the narrator said: that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) sometimes would take his cap down and make it a sutra in front of him. (Ibne ‘Asakir) This Hadeeth may not be taken as a proof for the virtue of offering salah bare-headed due to the following reasons;

This is a weak narration. In addition, this narration is narrated only by Ibne Asakir, i.e. this narration is not found in any of the well-known book of Hadeeth.

For the sake of argument, if we accept this Hadeeth as sound, it may not be taken as a proof for offering salah bare-headed absolutely. Rather, the wording of this Hadeeth clearly indicates that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) did this due to an important need, i.e. when he would not find anything to make it sutra for his salah he would use his cap and great importance for sutra has been mentioned in several Ahadeeth.

At the maximum, this Hadeeth may be taken as a proof that men are not obligatorily required to cover their heads while offering salah, something which is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam.

Allah's Messenger (PBUH) would offer salah bare-headed only during his performance of Umrah or Hajj. As far as, making his cap a sutra for his salah is concerned, this may be argued that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) did this to fulfil a requirement which is more important than covering the head. In addition, the said hadith has not mentioned that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) offered his salah bare-headed. It is possible that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) may have used his raised cap which he would use in his journeys and the cap he used beneath his Amamah close to his head was still on his head. This is because we find mention of two or three types of caps of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) in books of Ahadeeth.

Beside this hadith, a small group also takes a narration narrated in the book of Ibn-e-Asakir (Visit mosques bare-headed and visit wearing Amamah for Amamah is a crown for Muslims). However, scholars of Hadeeth branded this narration as weak and even fabricated. Even if we treat this narration as sound, this narration encourages wearing Amamah while entering a mosque.

Point Two:

Some people use caps. But their caps are old, worn out and dirty. We spend a lot of money on our dress, residence and other things, but we wear old caps. My dear brothers, covering head is an adornment as the scholars of the Qur’an, the scholars of Hadeeth and other scholars have written in their books, and we are required to adorn ourselves while offering salah pursuant to the order of Allah in the Holy Qur’an;

خذوا زينتكم عند كل مسجد

Moreover, use of cap or Amamah is an Islamic rite. Muslim is recognized by a cap. Therefore, we should use clean and good cap.

Point Three:

We should wear Amamah or cap during salah, but it is not obligatory. Therefore, if we find somebody offering salah without wearing a cap, we should not hasten to put a cap or scarf on his head, because this will distract his mind from salah (even for a short span of time). However, we should preach him to offer salah wearing a cap before he starts his salah.


Wearing Amamah or cap is sunnah of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) (Because whenever we find mention of whether there was a cloth on the head of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) or not, in the books of Ahadeeth, his biography or history related to general life of Allah's Messenger (PBUH), we find mention of Amamah or cap on the head of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) by 99%. Companions of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) his companions, Taba’een, Taba’ Taba’een Muhaditheen, Jurists and other scholars used to wear Amamah or cap. This has always been till today a sign of being Muslim. Therefore, we should wear cap or Amamah all the time. If it is difficult to wear them all the time, then at least it should be our habit to wear them during salah. Salah will be valid if offered bare-headed, but a big group of the jurists and scholars are of the opinion that making this a habit to offer salah bare-headed is inappropriate. Some jurists based on some Ahadeeth, and in the light of the teaching of Abdullh bin Nafe’ (RA) imparted to his disciple Nafe’ (RHA) on this topic and due to the habit maintained from the time of prophets' companions (RA) till today, are of the opinion that offering salah bare-headed in Makrouh (disliked)). I would like to mention two scholars from among them, first is Sheikh Nau’man bin Thabit i.e. Imam Abu Hanifah (RHA) (80 Hijri to 150 Hijri) and the second is Sheikh Nasiruddin Al-Albani (1333 Hijri to 1420 Hijri). I have especially mentioned the later Sheikh Nasiruddin Al-Albani because some of our brothers who are of the opinion about the soundness of offering salah bare-headed treat the opinions of Sheikh Nasirudding Al-Albani as the last and final word. He has written about offering salah bare-headed and his opinion has been recorded in audio-cassettes that offering salah bare-headed is Makrouh (disliked).

We, the residents in Saudi Arabia, hailing from India and Pakistan offer salah without wearing cap, despite that fact that I, during my stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a long period of time (12-13) years have never seen a Saudi scholar, speaker or mufti or an Imam offering salah bare-headed or delivering his speech bare-headed. Rather I have seen them always covering their heads. Not only a specific group of people but the public in general offers salah covering their heads.

Note: This article is about covering heads by men. As far as covering heads by women, the Mulsim Ummah as a whole unanimously agree that it is obligatory for a woman to cover her head and that her salah will not be accepted without covering her head.  

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (