Q. I would like you to clarify the following statements. One was made by Omar Bakri Mohammad (who is the head of Hizb ut-Tahrir in UK, which reads the following): "As for the men, wearing of the head scarf with the 'amamah or hat or other, that is mubah. It is only mandub for the Hanafi school of thought as a matter of respect, but there is no evidence to back this claim. Imam Shafi'i said, "The covering of the head during salah or otherwise is mubah. Whoever claims that it is mandub, his opinion is invalid because of the lack of evidence in the chain of transmission; unless people use logic as evidence and this is not valid in our Shariah"(Omar Bakri Mohammad is listed as a Shafi'i in this book) and Nuh Keller says in The Reliance of the Traveler that (o.24.2f) "and who is outwardly respectable (O: respectability (muru'a) means to have the positive traits which one's peers posses in one's particular time and place. Sheikh Al-Islam Zakariya Ansari says, 'Respectability is refraining from conduct that is unseemly according to the standards commonly acknowledged among those who observe the precepts and rules of the Sacred Law'. It is according to the standards commonly acknowledged because there are no absolute standards but rather it varies with different persons, conditions and places. Such as eating and drinking in the marketplace or wearing nothing on one's head (A: though the latter is of no consequence in our times), as may a religious scholar's wearing a robe or cap in places where it is not customary for him to do so)

A. What is mubah in our time is uncovering the head outside salat. But to say that "it is mubah to cover it in salat and whoever says it is mandub has no proof" is to me a proof of wayward thinking. I never heard of such a position among the sayings of the major scholars of the madhahib on the question. The Prophet wore a turban at all times and there is no proof that he ever prayed without one, and he even made mash [wiping] over it as stated in Sahih Bukhari, so it is definitely a vestimentary Sunna: how can he say "whoever says it is mandub to wear it in Salat has no proof"? How about "Pray as you see me pray" for a proof? Or, name but one free Muslim man who prayed bareheaded in the three centuries which the Prophet praised.

There is only a limited time in our life where there is reward in going bareheaded, and that is in the state of Ihram and Allah knows best. The sad truth is, such statements are excessive attempts to legitimize one more aspect of non-Muslim fashion among Muslims both in everyday life and in worship. The Prophet said we should adorn ourselves so as to stand out like a mole on the face. But such fatwas, on the contrary, tell us: blend in and make yourself completely similar so that, looking at you, one will not even think of Islam. Astaghfirullah!