Men covering head while praying
Fatwa No: 348739

  • Fatwa Date:20-8-2017 - Thul-Qi'dah 28, 1438
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. If I do not cover my head during prayer to show that it is not obligatory in Islam, is that good or not? Our elders in the Salafi masjid raise questions about it. What should I do. How should I correct my intention? If I cover my head, is it for the people? And if I do not do so, then questions will be raised again. May Allaah make your place in Paradise wide and high.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It is recommended for the man to cover his head while praying. The Fiqh Encyclopedia reads, "Muslim jurists unanimously agreed that it is recommended for the man to cover his head while praying with a turban or the like because the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to pray while wearing a turban."

We have previously underlined this in fatwas 89242 and 216982. The imaam should observe this recommended act.

As for your wish to clarify to people that this is not an obligation, you should know that the Sunnah teaches that it is permissible to refrain from doing a recommended act if it is feared that people might mistakenly assume that it is obligatory, like the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did when he performed the five daily prayers with one ablution and did not renew his ablution for each prayer. It was narrated on the authority of Buraydah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, offered the prayers with one ablution on the day of the Conquest of Makkah and wiped over the Khuff (leather socks). So ‘Umar said to him, "You have done something today that you were not accustomed to do before." He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "O ‘Umar, I have done that on purpose." [Muslim and others]

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "It is possible that he used to do it (perform ablution for each prayer) as a recommended act and then feared that people would mistakenly assume that it is obligatory and therefore refrained from doing so in order to clarify for the Muslims that it is permissible. This is more likely..." [Fat-h Al-Baari]

Badr Ad-Deen Al-‘Ayni  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "The statement, 'You have done something today that you were not accustomed to do before,' clearly indicates that he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to perform ablution for each prayer, acting upon the better option in this regard. He performed all the five prayers on that day with one ablution in order to clarify the permissibility of such an act for the Muslims; hence, he said, 'I have done that on purpose.'" [Sharh Sunan Abu Daawood]

If you believe that performing the prayer without covering your head would cause Fitnah (tribulation) among the worshipers at the masjid, then do not pray with your head uncovered. You can explain to them that it is not obligatory to cover the head through words and teaching, without raising questions in the masjid because of that. Also, when you put on a head cover for the prayer, put in your intention that you aim to earn the reward of this recommended act, and not that of aiming to please people.

Allah knows best.

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