Is It Mandatory to Wear a Hat When Leading the Prayer?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


What is the ruling on the head covering for someone leading the salat in the Shafi’i madhhab? Is it mandatory? How about in the prayer in general?


Thank you for your question.


My teacher Shaykh Amjad Rasheed answered this question many years ago:

“What is the proof that it is a sunna for men to cover their heads?” He responded: “The proof for it is that the Prophet did it, (Allah bless him and give him peace) and persevered in it, along with the hadiths that have been transmitted about the merit of wearing a turban, which was compiled by our imams in many independent publications.

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said in the Tuhfa (3/63), ‘It is recommended to wear a turban for the prayer and for beautification. There are many hadiths about it, and the extreme weakness of many of them is strengthened by the multiple chains of narration.’ Then he said, ‘And there is no harm in wearing a fitted cap that sticks to the head, or one that is tall and quilted (i.e. stuffed), or other types of caps under the turban, or even without the turban, because all of these have been related from him, (Allah bless him and give him peace).’”


It says in the Reliance of the Traveler:

It is recommended for a man to pray in his best clothes, and to wear an ankle-length shirt and a turban (and a shawl over head and shoulders, a mantle, and a wraparound or loose drawers (under the ankle-length shirt)). If he does not wear all of these, it is desirable to wear two, namely the ankle-length shirt with either the mantle, the wraparound, or the loose drawers.

Outside the Prayer

Therefore, it is sunna to cover the head for the imam, and those who are following him, or when praying alone, and even when at home, such as when entering the bathroom and eating. Please see more details below:
Wearing a Hat (Qalansuwa)
Is it Recommended to Wear a Kufi (Cap) at Home as a Sign of Modesty?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Arabic Reference:

السؤال: ما هو الدليلُ على أن تغطيةَ الرأس للرجل من السُنّة ؟

الجواب : الدليلُ هو فعلُه صلى الله عليه وسلم لذلك ومواظبتُه عليه ، مع ما جاء من الأحاديث في فضل العمامة ، وقد جمعها أئمتُنا في تصانيف مستقلة ، قال الإمام ابنُ حجر الهيتمي في “التحفة” (3/36) :” وتسنُّ العمامةُ للصلاةِ ولقصدِ التجمل ؛ للأحاديث الكثيرة فيها ، واشتدادُ ضعفِ كثيرٍ منها يجبرُه كثرةُ طُرُقِها … “. اهـ  ثم قال :” ولا بأسَ بلبس القلنسوةِ اللاطئةِ – أي اللاصقة – بالرأس ، والمرتفعةِ المضربةِ – أي المحشوة – وغيرها تحت العمامة وبلا عمامة ؛ لأن كلَّ ذلك جاء عنه صلى الله عليه وسلم “. اهـ