The Widespread Salafi/Modernist Obliteration of the Blessed Sunnah


[From “Dress According to Sunnah” by Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai]

Choice of dress style is the effect of Imaan and kufr. It is precisely for this reason that the Fuqahaa have ruled that adoption of kuffaar dress-style is kufr. The dress itself is not kufr. But the attitude of the heart which constrains a Muslim to adopt a non- Muslim dress-style is kufr since it displays a preference and a desire for something which belongs to the kuffaar. This attitude implies that the kuffaar style is better and more preferable than the style of the Ambiyaa, Sulaha and the Ummah. This is the attitude which exposes a Muslim to the grave danger of kufr.

Qaadhi Baidaawi in his Tafseer of the Qur’aan Majeed states:

“Verily; wearing the clothes of aliens (kuffaar), tying a zunnaar (the holy thread of idolaters or the crucifix) and similar other acts have been proclaimed kufr because the acts display (or imply) rejection (of Islam). Most assured, a person who has accented the Rasool (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) will obviously not be so audacious to commit these acts.”

Leaving aside the technical argument pertaining to haraam and Makrooh, the question which has to be asked is:

Why would a Muslim give preference to the dress-style of the kuffaar? Why would a Muslim love to walk around with a bare head when 124 000 Ambiyaa, 120 000 Sahaabah and the entire Ummah of Islam from the very inception of this Deen, always covered their heads with a special type of headgear which belongs exclusively to Muslims? If your Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and his Sahaabah always covered their heads, why do you who claim to be their followers, love to bare your head in public like the kuffaar do?

A question for meditation is:  Whose style is it to wander around bare-headed and whose style is it to cover the head in public?  The barometer of a man’s Imaan is in his dress-style. For some it is a barometer for ascertaining the very validity of Imaan, and for others a barometer to test the quality of their Imaan. At the least, kuffaar dress-style is fisq.



Style of dress is among the salient features (Sha-aair) of Islam. The Shariah accords great prominence to a Muslim’s way of dress. Detailed rules enacted by the great rulers of Islam among the Sahaabah, Taabieen and- their followers illustrate the emphasis which Islam lays on the dress of a Mu’min. Among the prohibited factors pertaining to dress is the emulation of non-Muslim dress styles. In all ages of Islam such emulation has been regarded as among the major (kabaair) sins. Tashabbuh bil kuffaar (emulating the kuffaar) is an evil with far reaching effect on the heart of a Muslim.

Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Whoever emulates a people becomes of them.”

In this article we propose to discuss one particular aspect of Islamic dressing, viz., headgear. In these times of intense, kufr and dhalaal, when many Muslims have sacrificed their intelligence to become slaves of western culture, there is a great desire among modernists to abandon the wearing of Islamic headgear. Among the styles of Islamic headgear is the popular topee which innumerable millions of Muslims have donned over the past centuries of Islamic history.

Now in this belated century modernists are at pains to discard this compulsory dress-style of Islam. Fallacious arguments are fabricated to deceive innocent and unwary people into accepting that the topee or Islamic headgear has no relevance in the Shariah. It should be understood that the ways and styles of Islam did not originate from dubious sources nor were its originators non-entities as are the votaries of western styles.

Furthermore, Islamic dress-styles were inherited by the Ummah from generation to generation. Each successive generation obtained its Islamic dress-style from its preceding generation. In this way the chain links up with the Sahaabah who disseminated nothing other than the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Headgear in Islam is not a new development

The vilifier of the topi must present his proof to indicate the point in time in Islamic history when this headgear became an accredited Islamic head-dress. If he contends that the topi has no Islamic relevance, let him prove his case with Islamic facts and Shar’i proofs. The assertion that many people presently in the Middle East pray without headgear is not Shar’i evidence for the fallacy that the topi has no Islamic status. What is presently being perpetrated in Muslim countries cannot becited as Islamic evidence for a claim. Only an ignoramus who suffers from colossal ignorance will advance such puerile and ludicrous ‘proof for his claim.

When the weight of Islamic practice of the past fourteen hundred years upholds Islamic headgear as an integral and incumbent part of a Muslim’s dress, then by what stretch of intelligent reasoning can any Muslim decry and vilify such head-dress? When all the illustrious authorities of Islam from the time of the Sahaabah emphasised the donning of headgear, not only for Salaat, but at all times, then it is only necessary to dismiss with contempt the arguments against the topi blustered out by the enemies of the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

The topi is the head-dress which distinguishes a Muslim from a non- Muslim. The importance of this headgear is amply illustrated by the following command of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam):

The difference between us and the mushrikeen is turbans on top of qalaanis (topis).”

Even mushrikeen were in the habit of donning turbans. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) detested resemblance with them. Emulating non-Muslims is forbidden by Islam, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered that Muslims wear topis under their turbans even though the topis are totally concealed and not visible from under the turbans.

Even the style of headgear which the Muslim adopts should not resemble the head-dress of the kuffaar, hence Shaikhul Islam Zakariyya (rahmatullah alayh) states:

“In our time it is not permissible to wear green and yellow turbans” (Husnus Siyar of Dimyaati Shaafi).

Since green and yellow turbans were among the particular dress-styles of the Yahood and Nasaara of that time, the authorities of the Shariah banned the wearing of such turbans so that Muslims do not violate the Shar’I prohibition of emulating kuffaar. The following verdict appears in Fataawa Khaazin and Fataawa Hindiyah:

“A man will be proclaimed a kaafir for adopting the head-dress of the Majoos (fire-worshippers).”

The following verdict appears in the famous Maaliki Kitaab, Mukhtasarul Khaleel:

“A Muslim will be proclaimed a kaafir if he wears the hat of the Nasaara.”

Strutting about bare-headed is undoubtedly the style of western man who has discarded the norms of true civilization. It has never been the style of any Muslim community, anywhere in the world, right from the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to emerge in public with bare-heads. One who walks around bare-headed is mardood-ush-shahaadah, i.e. his testimony in an Islamic court is not admissible.

Those Muslims who are desirous of abandoning the Islamic topi are undoubtedly influenced by western fashions and styles. The fact that they have opted for a kaafir style at the expense of an Islamic style — a style which the Ummah has always accepted speaks volumes for their way of thinking. It points to the direction in which their hearts have inclined. Overtly they proclaim them-selves to be Muslims while covertly their hearts are saturated with love for the styles of kufr. But, Allah Ta’ala warns them:

“Do not incline towards the zaalimoon.”

Inclining towards the kuffaar is banned by Islam in all aspects. A Muslim is not allowed to unnecessarily adopt the ways, methods, institutions and styles of the kuffaar. Islam demands head-dress—Islamic head-dress—for its adherents. Western modernity demands a bare-head in order to conform to western standards of dress. The westernized Muslim conjectures the most baseless arguments to bolster his case against the ways of Islam. This attitude borders on kufr and threatens the Imaan of such deviated modernists.

Clarifying the Islamic ban of tashabbuh bil kuffaar, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) despatched a detailed decree to the Muslims of Aazarbaijaan (now in Russia). Among the many prohibitions contained in this Decree the following appears:

“The dress of your father Ismaa-il (alayhis salaam) is incumbent on you. Beware of the luxuries and the styles of the Ajam (non Arabs).”

Allaamah Ibn Hajar Haithami (rahmatullah alayh), in his Kitaab Azzawaajir an Iqtiraafil Kabaa-ir, records the following narration of Muhaddith Maalik Bin Dinaar (rahmatullah alayh):

“Allah revealed to one of his Nabis: Say to your nation: Do not wear the garments of My enemies for then you will become My enemies like they are my enemies.”

In Tafseer Ma-aariful Qur’aan Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahmatullah alayhi) the then Grand Mufti of Pakistan, explains in the exposition of the aayat:

“O! The Sons of Aadam! Adopt your beauty at the time of every Salaat” (Aayat 31 Surah A’raaf)

“From this aayat it is obvious that just as the compulsion of concealing the satr is based on the command in this verse, so too is based the significance and merit of donning good and clean garments according to one’s means and ability. Since only concealment of the satr is not adequate for Salaat, but the adoption of zeenat (beauty) is also commanded, therefore it will be Makrooh for a man to perform Salaat bare-head, bared shoulders and exposed elbows, whether he has donned short-sleeved shirt or has rolled up his sleeves.”

Islamic headgear is an integral part of the Sunnah, so much so, that a turban will be described as Islamic only if it is worn on top of a qalansawah (topi). Abandoning this Sunnah is a sign of Imaani disaster. It is indicative of the Muslim’s drift from Seeraatul Mustaqeem. There can be no other meaning for a Muslim who detests or regards as insignificant and unimportant the donning of Islamic headgear.

While abandonment of any Sunnah invites the Wrath and Curse of Allah Ta’ala, adoption of the Sunnah brings in its wake great rewards and creates vitality and Noor in the heart of the Mu’min. In this regard, Rasulullah {saliailahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Whoever protects my Sunnah, Allah honours him with four qualities: He becomes endeared to pious people, evil people fear him, increase in Rizq and steadfastness in Deen.”

In Al-I’tisaam, Imaam Zuhri (rahmatullah alayh) narrates that Imaam Maa-lik (rahmatullah alayh) said:

”The Sunnah is like a ship. He who embarks on it is saved while be who remains behind (stranded in the ocean) will drown.”

Thus, those who have adopted the process of abandoning the Sunnah will soon find themselves drowning in the raging ocean of kufr, immorality and baatil. Diversion from the Deen and abandonment of the Sunnah is an incremental process. It commences with the abandonment of the Aadaab (etiquettes), progressing to the abandonment of Mustahab acts, then deteriorating to the abandonment of Sunnatul Muakkadah, then Waajib acts and finally it leads to the neglect of Fardh acts.

One’s very Imaan is exposed to the gravest dangers by the abandonment of Sunnat acts. Such abandonment leads to the total disintegration of Taqwa and Imaan. For this reason it is most dangerous for Muslims to view Islamic headgear as an insignificant item. Nothing in the Deen and Sunnah is insignificant. Every act of the Sunnah, be it an Adab or a Mustahab act is of great importance for the acquisition of the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. Every Mustahab act being part of Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) Uswah Hasanah (beautiful example)plays a vital role in the rising stages of Taqwa. Of such importance is Islamic headgear and all other aspects of the Sunnah that the authorities of the Shariah have ruled:

“Using a Miswaak is Sunnat, but rejection of the fact that the Miswaak is Sunnat, is kufr.”

The Qur’aan Majeed commands Muslims to adopt the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and to refrain from every act which the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam} has forbidden:

“Whatever the Rasool has given to you, take hold of it and whatever he has forbidden you of refrain therefrom.”

The Rasool has given us the way of dress which includes the Islamic headgear. We are bound by the Qur’aanic command to adopt it and uphold it. He has forbidden us from emulating the kuffaar. Muslims are, therefore, under Qur’aanic obligation to abhor and refrain from the styles of the kuffaar.

There is no gainsaying that a bare-head is among the styles of the kuffaar. To strut about without headgear is undoubtedly the way of the kuffaar, especially the libertine western kuffaar. A Muslim in whose heart is embedded Islam cannot find pleasure in the adoption of a style of the kuffaar. Every kufr emulation necessitates abandonment of a Sunnat. Thus, by adopting the kaafir style of walking about bare-headed and entering the Musjid bareheaded, the Sunnah style of Islamic headgear is abandoned.

Like kuffaar enter their places of worship bare-headed and like the kuffaar attach no significance to headgear, so too does the westernized Muslim who follows in the footsteps of the enemies of Allah Ta’ala. In opposing the Command of Allah Ta’ala, viz. the Sunnah, Muslims are invoking the chastisement of Allah Ta’ala Who says in the Qur’aan Shareef:

“Those who oppose His Command should fear a disaster reaching them or that a painful punishment will overtake them.”

Spelling out the calamity of confrontation with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the Qur’aan Majeed says:

“Whoever opposes the Rasool after the guidance (of Shariah) has been made dear for him and he then follows a path which is not the way of the Mu’mineen, then we shall allow him to do as he pleases. And We shall cast him into Jahannam. Indeed it is an evil place.”

It is significant and noteworthy that in this aayat, the Qur’aan-e-Hakeem describes ‘opposition to the Rasool’ as being a path other than the path of the Mu’mineen. Thus, any practice which the Mu’mineen have inherited from the Salf-e-Saaliheen is in fact the Sunnah.

An item of this practice is the Islamic headgear. Discarding this important item of Islamic dress is in fact a path other than the path of the Mu’mineen. The Path of the Mu’mineen is given authority and Divine sanction in the aforementioned Qur’aanic Aayat in view of the fact that it stems from the teachings, of the Sahaabah who were the first and the most authoritative expounders and upholders of the Sunnah. Diversion from this path of the Mu’mineen leads to Jahannum according to the Qur’aan. In the sphere of Islamic belief and practice, the Path of The Mu’mineen cannot be ignored. The Qur’aan Shareef explicitly declares Jahannum to be the consequence of adopting a path other than the Path of The Mu’mineen.

While all Muslims who truly believe in Allah, His Rasool and the Divine Law are Mu’mineen, the uppermost echelons of The Mu’mineen are, undoubtedly the Sahaabah, the Taabieen and the Tab-e- Taabieen The Mu’mineen of these three noble eras, described by Rasulullah ( sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as the Khairul Quroon (the Noblest Ages), are undoubtedly the first of the Ummah whom we have to emulate and whose Path the Qur’aan commands us to follow.

Islamic headgear has come to us from these illustrious Mu’mineen whose Path can be abandoned only at the peril of Imaan. In the satanic conspiracy to wean Muslims away from the Sunnah and Islam itself, the liberal influences of the western kuffaar are adopted in degrees. In the initial stage of diversion from the Sunnah, the Muslim simply abandons his Islamic headgear in public, at home and on the streets. Still believing that such headgear is necessary for only Salaat, its importance is diminished for other occasions and as a permanent item of Islamic dress.

Later, when his outlook has changed on account of having become habituated to strut around bare-headed in public and he has become sufficiently audacious by virtue of his Imaani conscience and Deeni convictions becoming paralysed, he rebelliously steps into the Musjid without Islamic Headgear and in this abominable way performs his Salaat without even realizing that he has despoiled the value of his Salaat.

Salaat performed without headgear is Makrooh. Such Salaat has to be compulsorily repeated within the confines of the time. If it has not been repeated within the confines of that particular Salaat, the Fardh (i.e. the obligation) while having been discharged, is short of its rewards and blessings. Such defective discharge of such an important and fundamental institution of Islam will undoubtedly have far reaching consequences for Muslims in both this transitory world and in the Aakhirah.

From the abovementioned discussion it will be clear that dress-style is of vital importance for the Muslim. It is essential for his spiritual development that the Muslim differentiates himself from non-Muslims by even his external appearance. His external appearance must testify that he is a Muslim. A Muslim dressed in the style of the kuffaar cannot be recognised as a Muslim by another Muslim who is not acquainted with him. A Muslim in western garb and western appearance can reasonably be mistaken for a kaafir and he (the imitator of the kuffaar) is solely responsible for such a serious mistake committed genuinely.

In so far as the Shariah is concerned, the topi or any Islamic head-dress is essential for a Muslim in Salaat as well as at all times. The arguments of the denigrators of the topi arise from kufr mentality and should be dismissed with contempt.


For conclusive proofs for the Sunnah Status and absolute imperativeness of adopting the Islamic Headgear see:

The Crown of the Believer [Conclusive Proofs for the Sunnah Status of the Topi]
(Mufti Husain Kadodia)

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