Topi in the light of the Sunnah

Q: I had always been taught that the topi is the crown of a believer and part of the Sunnat attire. However, I was recently told by a close friend that the topi is not part of the Sunnat attire and has no basis in deen. It was worn in the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) as a customary or traditional dress. Could you please enlighten me with regard to the following:

Is any mention of the topi made in the Ahaadeeth?

What importance did the topi hold in the sight of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum)?

 

A: Wearing the topi is a Mubarak Sunnat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and a salient feature of Islam. It is reported in authentic Ahaadeeth that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) wore the topi while performing Salaah as well as out of Salaah.

During the Khilafat of Hazrath Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) the kuffaar began wearing topis and turbans in order to deceive the Muslims and receive the same recognition in society which was afforded to the Muslims in the Islamic state. When Hazrath Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) perceived this he immediately prohibited them, and drew up a constitution which was governed by the Sunnat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). He enshrined in the constitution the distinguishing characteristics and salient features of Islam and thus prohibited the kuffaar from adopting these codes of conduct and Islamic attire. Just as he prohibited the kuffaar from adopting the ways of the Muslims, he prohibited the Muslims from emulating the ways of the kuffaar and their lifestyles. Among the issues underlined by Hazrath Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) in the constitution was that there be marked differences between the Muslims and non-Muslims in the following aspects:

The Muslims should be completely distinct from the non-Muslims in their mannerisms, behaviour, dressing, and dealings. They (the kuffaar) should not wear the topis of the Muslims nor their turbans. Below is part of the constitution of Hazrath Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) which he enforced upon the kuffaar.

إن أمير المؤمنين عمررضي الله عنه في الصحابة رضي الله عنهم ، ثم عامة الأئمة بعده ، وسائر الفقهاء ، جعلوا في الشروط المشروطة على أهل الذمة من النصارى وغيرهم فيما شرطوه على أنفسهم : أن نوقر المسلمين ، ونقوم لهم من مجالسنا إذا أرادوا الجلوس ، ولا نتشبه بهم في شيء من ملابسهم : قلنسوة أو عمامة… ( قاله ابن تيمية رحمه الله في كتابه اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم و قال بعد نقل الحديث رواه حرب {الكرماني} باسناد جيد, 1/363-364)

Ibn Taimiyyah (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) states in his kitab ‘Iqtidha us Siraatil Mustaqeem’: “Indeed the Leader of the Believers, Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) in the presence of all the Sahaba Radhiyallahu Anhum) drew up the constitution which he enforced upon the Zimmis (Christians, Jews etc.) residing in an Islamic state that they abide by the under-mentioned laws:

  1. We (the non-Muslims) will honour and revere the Muslims.”
  2. When they enter the gatherings we (the non-Muslims) will stand up in honour for them and allow them to be seated in our places if they intend sitting.”
  3. We (the non-Muslims) will not resemble them in their dressing and attire, neither will we wear their topis nor turbans.”

روى الشيخ ابو الحافظ الاصبهاني باسناده في شروط أهل الذمة عن خالد بن عرفطة قال كتب عمر رضي الله عنه الى الأمصار في حق النصارى " أن لا يلبسوا لبسة المسلمين حتى يعرفوا " ( قاله ابن تيمية رحمه الله في كتابه اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم 1/366 )

Khaalid bin Urfutah says that Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) had written to the governors of the various towns regarding the Christians: “They should not adopt the attire of the muslims in order that they be distinguished.”

Ibn Taimiyyah (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) states that all the muslim leaders that had followed as well as the Jurists, implemented the constitution of Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) in every era.

During the khilaafat of Umar bin Abdil Azeez, the disbelievers began adopting the clothing of the muslims. In order to create a distinction between them and the muslims he issued the same ruling of Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) that they should not wear the clothing of the muslims.

We clearly gauge from the above that the topi and turban were among the salient and distinguishing features of Islam from the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum).

Hereunder a few authentic Ahaadeeth shall be presented to further elucidate the position of the topi in the life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) and Taabi’een.

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) performing Salaah with a topi:

عن وائل بن حجر قال رأيت النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم حين افتتح الصلاة رفع يديه حيال أذنيه قال ثم اتيتهم {و في رواية مسند احمد اتيته مرة اخرى} فرأيتهم يرفعون أيديهم إلى صدورهم في افتتاح الصلاة و عليهم برانس و أكسية (سنن أبي داود, ص 104 ,باب رفع اليدين. و في مسند احمد ص168, 169 ج31. و في النسائي ص173 ج1في باب موضع اليدين عند الجلوس للتشهد الاول قال السندي في حاشية النسائي ثم اتيتهم أي النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم و اصحابه من قابل في ايام البرد)

Hazrat Waail bin Hujr (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates, “I came to Madinah Munawwarah on one occasion and I saw Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) performing salaah and he raised his hands parallel to the ear lobes when commencing Salaat. I then came on another occasion and I saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) raising their hands to their chests when commencing Salaat whilst they were wearing topis and shawls.”

 

Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) performing Salaah with the topi:

قال الحسن كان القوم يسجدون على العمامة و القلنسوة ( بخاري, باب السجود علي الثوب في شدة الحر, 1/56 )

عن الحسن أن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم كانوا يسجدون و أيديهم في ثيابهم، و يسجد الرجل منهم على قلنسوته و عمامته و هكذا رواه عبد الرزاق موصولا عن هشام بن حسان عن الحسن و رواه أيضا ابن أبي شيبة من طريق هشام (فتح الباري 1/588)

Hazrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) says, “The Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) would make sajdah during salaah on their turbans and topis.”

 

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) wearing the topi out of salaah:

قال الحافظ العراقي في شرح الترمذي و أجود إسناد في القلانس ما رواه أبو الشيخ عن عائشة رضي الله عنها كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يلبس القلانس في السفر ذوات الآذان و في الحضر المضمرة يعني الشامية (كتاب منتهى السول 1/508)

Hazrat Aaisha (Radiyallahu Anha) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to wear a topi which covered the ears whilst on a journey and while at home he used to wear a white Syrian double-layered topi. Allamah Iraqi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) has stated in his commentary of Tirmizi Sharif that this Hadith is the most authentic Hadith of all the Ahadith dealing with the topi.

ابو حنيفة عن عطاء عن ابي هريرة قال كان لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قلنسوة شامية و في رواية عن عطاء عن ابي هريرة كان لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قلنسوة بيضاء شامية – هذا حديث صحيح ( مسند الامام الاعظم, كتاب اللباس و الزينة,ص 204 )

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu Anhu) says that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had a Syrian topi. In another narration, Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu Anhu) says that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had a white Syrian topi.

 

Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) wearing the topi out of salaah:

عن هلال بن يساف قال قدمت الرقة فقال لي بعض اصحابي هل لك في رجل من اصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال قلت غنيمة فدفعنا الى وابصة قلت لصاحبي نبدأ فننظر الى دله فاذا عليه قلنسوة لاطية ذات اذنين….الخ ( سنن ابو داود, باب الرجل يعتمد في الصلوة على عصا, 1/136,137 )

Hazrat Hilaal bin Yasaaf (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) narrates, “I reached Raqqah (a place in Shaam) and one of my companions said to me, ‘Do you wish to meet a Sahaabi of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)?’ I replied, ‘To meet a Sahaabi is certainly our good fortune.’ So we set off to meet Hazrat Waabisah (Radiyallahu Anhu). I said to my companion, (When we reach) “We will closely examine his outer appearance and dressing.’ When we met him we found him wearing a white topi which stuck to his head and covered his ears.”

 

. حدثنا قتيبة حدثنا ابن لهيعة عن عطاء بن دينار عن ابي يزيد الخولاني أنه سمع فضالة بن عبيد يقول : سمعت عمر بن الخطاب يقول سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول الشهداء أربعة رجل مؤمن جيد الإيمان لقي العدو فصدق الله حتى قتل فذلك الذي يرفع الناس إليه أعينهم يوم القيامة هكذا ورفع رأسه حتى وقعت قلنسوته قال فما أدري أ قلنسوة عمر أراد أم قلنسوة النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ؟ ( ترمذي 1/293,294 )

Hazrat Fadhalah bin Ubaid narrates, “I heard Hazrat Umar bin Khattab (Radiyallahu Anhu) mention, ‘I heard Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying, ‘There are four categories of Shuhadaa:

The first category is that Believer who possesses strong Imaan. When he meets the enemy, (he fights with great zeal) testifying to the promises of Allah (in regard to the lofty position which the shaheed will receive) until he is killed. He is the one whom people will lift their heads to view his high and lofty position on the Day of Qiyamah. Nabi then lifted his head demonstrating to the Sahaaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) the manner that people will lift their heads on the day of Qiyaamah. In doing so the topi of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) fell off. (The narrator says that I am uncertain whether the topi of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had fallen off or the topi of Hazrat Umar (Radiyallahu Anhu) who narrated this Hadith.)

 

The topi of the Taabi’een:

حدثنا عبدان ثنا أبو سنان قال رأيت الحسن أبيض الرأس واللحية عليه كمة بيضاء مضربة ( المطالب العالية 3/20 )

Hazrat Abu Sinan (Rahmtullahi Alayhi) narrates, “I saw Hazrat Hasan (at the time when) his hair and beard had turned white and I found him wearing a white topi which was double-layered.”

 

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) at times wore the topi beneath the turban and at times wore the topi without the turban:

قال ابن القيم كان النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم يلبَسُها (اي العمامة) ويلْبَسُ تحتها القَلَنسُوة. وكان يلبَس القلنسُوة بغير عمامة، ويلبَسُ العِمامة بغير قلنسُوة. (زاد المعاد فصل في ملابسه صلى الله عليه و سلم 1/130)

Ibne Qayyim (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) states that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to wear a topi beneath the turban. At times Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) wore a topi without a turban and at times he (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) wore a turban without a topi.

و روي عن ابن عباس أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم كان يلبس القلانس تحت العمائم و يلبس العمائم بغير القلانس (جمع الوسائل 207)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to wear a topi under the turban and at times he (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to wear the turban without the topi.

Apart from the above-mentioned Ahaadeeth there are many other Ahaadeeth which are reported in various compilations which we have deliberately omitted for the purposes of brevity.

 

Conclusion

From the above-mentioned authentic Ahaadeeth we conclude that the topi is a Mubarak sunnat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and a salient and distinguishing feature of Islam. In every era of Islam commencing from the era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) special importance and significance was afforded to the topi. We will quote the saying of Ibn Taimiyyah (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) which will shed some light on the position of the topi in Islam.

Ibn Taimiyyah (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) says after mentioning the Hadith of Hazrat Rukanah (Radiyallahu Anhu):

عن ركانة قال سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول إن فرق ما بيننا وبين المشركين العمائم على القلانس ( ترمذي 1/308 )

Hazrat Rukanah (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates, “I heard Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying, ‘Verily, the distinguishing feature between us and the Mushrikeen is that we wear the turban over the topi’.”

Imaam Abu Dawood (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) narrated the hadith of Rukanah (Radiyallahu Anhu) without explaining any flaws or weaknesses in the chain. This is indicative of this hadith being hasan (authentic) according to him. Though this hadith is regarded as weak according to Imaam Tirmizi (and others), it is not of such a nature that it cannot be used to support and corroborate what is already established through other authentic ahaadeeth. It is evident that creating a distinction between a muslim and non-muslim by means of clothing and attire (topi, turban etc.) is a command of Allah. Despite it being possible for a mu’min to be distinguished from a kaafir through his beliefs and actions Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) commanded that an additional measure be adopted i.e. a mu’min be completely distinct from a disbeliever in his attire and appearence.

 

قال ابن تيمية في كتابه "اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم" ص 279 و ايضا ما روى ابو داود: حدثنا قتيبة بن سعيد الثقفي حدثنا محمد بن ربيعة حدثنا ابو الحسن العسقلاني عن ابي جعفر بن محمد بن علي بن ركانة او محمد بن علي بن ركانة عن ابيه أن ركانة صارع النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم فصرعه النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال ركانة وسمعت النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم يقول: "فرق ما بيننا و بين المشركين العمائم علي القلانس".

و هذا يقتضي أنه حسن عند أبي داود و رواه الترمذي أيضا عن قتيبة و قال غريب و ليس إسناده بالقائم و لا نعرف أبا الحسن و لا ابن ركانة و هذا القدر لا يمنع ان يعتضد بهذا الحديث و يستشهد به و هذا بين في ان مفارقة المسلم المشرك في اللباس أمر مطلوب للشارع كقوله: "فرق ما بين الحلال و الحرام الدف و الصوت" فان التفريق بينهما مطلوب في الظاهر اذ الفرق بالاعتقاد و العمل بدون العمامة حاصل فلولا انه مطلوب بالظاهر ايضا لم يكن فيه فائدة.

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