The Ruling on Praying with the Head Uncovered – Shaikh al-Albani

Question: What is the ruling on praying with the head uncovered?

Answer:  “First: uncovering the head is from the customs and traditions which infiltrated the Muslim lands due to disbelievers practicing in our lands. They spread their customs and traditions in it and influenced many Muslims in those lands, even after the the disbelievers have been removed from it. From those customs is uncovering the head. Even though the lands differ in the [extent] of this [new] custom. The custom of uncovering the head in Syria, Jordan, and Egypt is more than in other Arab lands, like Saudi, Yemen, Kuwait, etc. So since this custom is not from the Islamic customs, then what is obligatory is that the Muslim enter into the prayer in the best of adornment due to the statement of the Exalted:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ

O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) [7:31]

The adornment here, even though the reason of revelation for verse is regrading the awrah; however, the benefit is according to the generality of the wording not the specificity of the cause.

Secondly: it comes in the authentic Sunnah what emphasizes this general verse:

من كان له إزار ورداء فليتزر وليرتد، فإن الله أحق أن يتزين له

Whoever has an Izar (lower garment) and Rida (an upper garment), then let him wear the Izaar and Rida. For verily Allah is more deserving that a servant adorns hismelf for Him

[Graded Saheeh by al-Albani in Asl Sifatus-Salah (1/148)]

In this Hadith a Muslim is ordered to enter the prayer in the most complete condition. When the Prophet was asked:

أَيُصَلِّي أَحَدُنَا فِي ثَوْبٍ وَاحِدٍ فَقَالَ ‏ أَوَكُلُّكُمْ يَجِدُ ثَوْبَيْنِ

Can any one of us say prayer in one garment? He said: Do all of you possess two garments? [Muslim no. 515]

This Hadith proves the permissiblility of prayer in one Thawb and it is an Izar which covers the awrah. However, also it indicates that the one who has two Thawbs, it is not necessary that he wears one thawb, restricting to the thawb which covers the awrah. It is well known that the awrah in prayer is the awrah outside of prayer, rather it is upon him to cover the awrah of prayer, if such a phrase may be used. Like that he (ﷺ) said:

لا يصلين أحدكم وليس على عاتقيه من ثوبه شيء

None of you should offer prayer in a single garment that does not cover the shoulders [Bukhari no. 359 and Muslim no. 516]

So like that, Imam Ahmad rahimahullah made clear that prayer of one whose two shoulders are uncovered, then his prayer is invalid and this is truth which Allah is worshiped by due to this Saheeh Hadith:

لا يصلين أحدكم

None of you should offer prayer in

A single garment that does not cover the shoulders [Bukhari no. 359 and Muslim no. 516]
It is a prohibition in prayer.

وليس على عاتقيه من ثوبه شيء

There is not a single garment that does not cover the shoulders [Bukhari no. 359 and Muslim no. 516]

If the general affair of adorning the prayer is established and the custom of the Muslims is covering the head is established, then it is believed that praying while uncovering the head is disliked not because there is a specific dislike, but only because it opposes the customs which the Muslims follow. It pleases me in this occasion and it is the end of the question, to mention what Shaikhul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah mentioned in his treatise Hijab al-Mar’ah wa Libaasuhaa fi Salah. It is a small treatise and perhaps you have found/read it. He mentions there a narration from Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he saw his free-servant Nafi’ praying with his head uncovered. So he said to him: If you went to meet one of rulers, would you meet them with your head uncovered? He said: no. So he said. By Allah, Allah is more deserving that you adorn yourself for him”

[Ajwibyyah al-Albaniyyah ‘ala Asilatul-Kuwaitiyyah 1-2. It was also mentioned in Silsilatul-Huda wan-Noor no. 189]

Translated by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan

Abu Sulaymaan

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