It is from amongst Islamic and ancient civilisations for men to cover their head. The usage of a hat to cover the head also originates from ancient' time, though there are difference of opinion to the nature of the hat. Imam Bukhari rahimahullah has entitled a heading in his book Sahih Al Bukhari (Page 862 Volume 2) underwhich Allamah Ibn Batal Al Maliki (r.a) states:-
“In there is a proof that to wear kamees, pyjuma, topy etc which are mentioned in the hadith ofAbdullah Ibn Umar (r.a) are amongst ancient commands".
Wearing a topy was not only Islamic and ancient civilisations, but it was also part and parcel of The Prophets and pious predecessors costume and clothing. Hafiz Ibn Al Arabi Al Maliki (r.a) states:-
"Topy was part and parcel of The Prophets and pious predecessors costume and clothing" .
It is proven that The Prophet (s.a.w) too wore a topy. Allamah Qastallani (r.a) says:-
'The Prophet (s.a.w) had an imamaah which was called Sihab. He (s.a.w) wore beneath it a small flat topy which was drawn together towards the head".
Regarding The Prophet (s.a.w) topy, the most credible narration is that of Aysha (r.a) which Hafiz Abu Muhammed Hayan (r.a) who is also known as Abu Shaykh has stated in his book
"The Prophet (s.a.w) wore an elevated topy in his journey and whilst in residence aflat topy which was drawn together towards the head" .(Akhlak An Naby)
Following in the footstep of The Prophet (s.a.w) the Sahabas (companions) of The Prophet (s.a.w) too wore a topy or an imamaah to cover their head. In Jami-u-Tirmizy, Umar (r.a) narrates that I heard The Prophet (s.a.w) say:-
"There are four types of martyrs, a believer whose firm and strong in his iman, whilst encountering and confronting the enemy he gets martyred truly believing in Allah, he 's status on the day of judgement will be such that people will glance at him in this way, after saying this The Prophet (s.a.w) or Umar (r.a) raised their head to the extend that the hat fell. The narrator says that I don 't know whose hat is meant Umar (r.a) or The Prophet (s.a.w) ".
From this narration we get to know that The Prophet (s.a.w)/Umar (r.a) wore a topy..
It is stated in Sahih Al Bukhari:-
"Sulayman Taymy says that I saw on Anas .a such topy (which was attached and joint to the main garment) yellow coloured, made from silk and cotton "
Commentator of Sahih Al Bukhari Allamah Qastallani (r.a) says:-
"And without any shadow of doubt a group from the Companions of The Prophet (s. a. w) wore 'Burnus ' topy (which was attached and joined to the main garment). Amongst them Abu Bakr, Ibn Abbas and Tabyeen (the successors of the Companions of The Holy Prophet (s. a. w). Amongst them Ibn Abu Layla etc ".
The great Scholar Muhadith Sayed Muhammed Bin Jaffer Qataani (r.a) has gathered ahadith of The Prophet (s.a.w) wearing a topy with an imamaah or without it in which indicates the assiduity of The Prophet (s.a.w). Due to this Hafiz Ibn Al Arabi (r.a) has adjudged it sunnat to wear a topy.
The reality of Salat (Namaz) is to present oneself in the court of Almighty Allah, the Lord of mankind. This demands the humanity to present itself with respect and honour. Amongst this respect and honour is»to cover ones head either with a topy or an imamaah.
The clothing and costume of human nature can be divided into two categories; 1.Compulsory
2. Desirable/Preferred. The Quraan in SuratA'araaf Verse number 26 confines the costume in to two categories. Allah says:-
"O ye children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover, as well as to be an adornment to you. "
And in verse number 31 Allah says:-
"O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every place of prayer ".
From these verses we get to know that there are some parts of the body which are compulsory and necessary to cover and these are the private parts and those adjoining to it, and some which are required and desired. Abu Hayan Undulusy (r.a) says:-
"It is apparent that 'ZYNAT' (beauty) is every clothing with in which there is dignity and honour. In beauty those clothes are not included which covers the private parts because to cover these parts are absolute and must".
The theologists (fuqaha) have adjudged it makrooh-e-tanzihy to pray salah bare-head due to laziness or to regard it as of non-importance. It is stated in (Alfiqh-al-Islami) "under"(Makrouhat-e-Salah) that:-
To pray Salat bare-head due to laziness is (makrooh). Here the karahiyaat is tanzihy consensusly. The The former Grand Mufti of Pakistan Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Shafee (r.a) says:-
"Not only the covering of private parts in Salat is demanded, but also the clothes and the costume of beauty. Thus for men to pray Salat bare-head, bare-elbows, and bare-shoulders is makrooh whether it is short sleeves or the sleeves have been rolled up above the elbow. It is also makrooh to pray Salat in such clothes and costumes with which the person feels shame and disgrace either to meet or face friends or even to go out. So then how can he present himself in the court of Almighty Allah in this manner?”
The karahiyaat of praying Salat bare-head and bare-elbows can be acquired from The Quraanic word 'ZYNAT' and from the manifestation of The Prophet (s.a.w)". (Ma'ariful Quraan Page 44 Volume 3)
Thus to pray Salat bare-head is against the beauty and embellishment of The Quraan, against the command of The Prophet (s.a.w), against the inherited practice. Nowadays we see Muslim's bear- head and it has become a common practice. Well, this is fashion and nothing else.
To pray Salat bare-head is to resemble and imitate the Christians and the infidels.
The Christians in every aspect of their worship and every place of honour take
their hat off and stay bare-head. The Prophet (s.a.w) has said:-
"Who so ever imitate or resemble a nation then he (will be raised on the day of judgement) amongst them”
Some people are of a view that praying Salah bare-head is mustahab '(preferred), because it is not proven that The Prophet (s.a.w) wore a topy or an imamaah whilst praying Salat nor has it been mentioned in The Quraan. Their views are totally absurd as it has already been proven from the ahadith and from The Quraanic verse number 31 of Surat A'araaf:-
"O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every place of prayer"
The Prophet (s.a.w) never ordered anyone to pray Salat bare-head nor did He (s.a.w) prayed Salat bare-head while having clothes at hand. After the demise of The Prophet (s.a.w) the wearing of an imamaah or a topy by Companions are proven too. In Sahih Al Bukhari Hasan Al Basri (r.a) says:-
"People prostrated wearing an imamaah or a topy (Sahih al Bukhari) ".
In the above "athr" (saying) the Companions are meant from the word (AlQowm). That's what Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani (r.a) has related in Fathul Bari Page 588 Volume 1.
Contrary to this, the narration (and sometime The Prophet (s.a.w) prayed his Salat by placing the hat in front as sutrah) narrated by Imam Jalaudin Suyuti and Hafiz Ibn Ul Asakir (r.a), but this was because of a reason. The reason being placing the hat as sutrah. Thus praying bare-head without any suitable reason is not proven.
Some people say that praying Salat bare-topy is valid. The answer to this is Salat is valid without wearing a top garment (shirt, kamees etc) i.e. top half of the body being naked. Why be naive? Anyone with some sense would not pray Salat without a vest or 3 shirt, so why then do some people insist reading Salat without a topy?
So every Muslim should make a habit and strive to wear a topy or an imamaah as part of his Muslim identity, if not, then at least while praying Salat. May Allah give us tawfeeq to act Ameen………………..
Mufti Umar Farooq Desai Luharvi
Sheikh-ul-Hadith Dar-al-Uloom London