Taqiyah (cap)

The taqiyah, also spelled tagiyah, gefiyah, keffiyah, and kufiyyah is a short, rounded cap worn by Muslim men. This cap is worn by Arab Muslims with the thawb or salwar kameez. When worn by itself, the tagiyah can be any color. When worn under the keffiyah scarf, it is always white. Some Muslims wrap the turban around the cap. The turban is called an Imama in Arabic. A hadith in the books of Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi quotes Muhammad as saying, "The distinction between us and the polytheists is the turbans over our caps."

In the United States and Britain, many Muslim merchants sell the prayer cap under the name kufi.

Muslims always wear a cap under the turban, unlike Sikhs, Jews, and Arab Christians. (For more information about Arab Christians, see Maronite Church, Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Melkite, and Arab Americans)

Muslims wear the tagiyah cap to emulate Muhammad. The companions of Muhammad were never seen without their heads being covered. In order to emulate their actions, Muslims throughout the world wear a variety of tagiyah caps, fez hats, and other headgear. Another goal of wearing a tagiyah is to be more like Muhammad and therefore obey and follow his tradition. The tagiyah cap is not a modern invention within the US-based Muslim community, but a tradition from antiquity. In fact, ancient Arabs had the habit of always wearing something on their heads. They considered it inappropriate not to wear headgear like the keffiyeh, see Sartorial hijab for further information.

The tagiyah is also called a prayer cap in English. Many Muslims wear the tagiyah during Jumu'ah, or friday prayers at the mosque, and during daily salat, or prayers at home, see external links for photos. For men, it is mustahab, which means praise worthy or seeking the love of God, to cover the head during prayer. Some Muslims use a prayer mat during salat. It is common for men to wear a tagiyah during weddings, see Nikah.


Tagiyah is the Arabic word for a Muslim cap used in Saudi Arabia. In Pakistan and India, the prayer cap is called a topi. Topi means cap in the Urdu language. In Pakistan, men usually wear the topi with salwar kameez. It must be noted, that the Pakistani American community is the second largest Muslim ethnic group in the United States. In the United States and Britain, many Muslim merchants sell the prayer cap under the name kufi. The West African name kufi is used because Muslims of African descent are the largest community of Muslims in the United States at 34.6% of total adherents, see Islam in the United States. In West Africa, men wear the kufi with the dashiki shirt or dashiki suit. The kufi is also worn by African Jews and African-American Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims, see Islam in the African diaspora.

Popular culture

In the United States, the topi was featured in the television series, Aliens in America. The kufi was featured on the HBO series Oz, see Muslims of Oz. Traditional Indian clothing is also featured in the Hollywood film Bride and Prejudice. Although the film is set in India, it contains many images of South Asian clothing. It must be noted that the men wearing turbans in this film are of the Sikh faith, see Sikh turban for further information. Furthermore, all South Asian men wear a turban during wedding ceremonies, including Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs. As in the use of the kufi among people of African descent, most South Asian men wearing a turban are not Muslim.

The Muslim world

There are a wide variety of Muslim caps seen around the world. Each country or region will usually have a unique cap.

Western reverts

In Islam, a convert to the religion is called a revert, see Religious conversion. As more Muslims have immigrated to the West from traditional Islamic cultures, many Christians have converted to Islam, see List of converts to Islam. Most reverts use the West African name, kufi, when speaking of a Muslim prayer cap.

Two approaches to clothing are seen. The first approach is to add the prayer cap to the traditional clothing of the ethnic group the revert was born into. The general rule is that a revert may wear any modest clothing that exists in their culture, plus the tagiyah or the hijab. This is the cultural clothes approach. For instance, a Scottish American man would wear a kilt and a tagiyah for his wedding instead of the Balmoral bonnet. English American men would wear morning dress and the tagiyah, instead of the top hat. Western clothing, like trousers and an oxford shirt, or a suit, would be worn with the tagiyah to Friday prayers. An Irish American man may chose to wear an Aran sweater with his taqiyah cap to Friday prayer services. A French American man would wear a striped Breton shirt and a beret or a taqiyah cap to Friday prayer services. The clothing must be modest. For example, a German American man would not wear lederhosen to Friday prayer services, because the shorts are immodest, see Awrah.

The second approach is the sunnah clothes approach. For a man, the thawb, salwar kameez, taqiyah cap, and turban are the sunnah clothes. A revert who takes the sunnah clothes approach would wear a white thawb or white salwar kameez and tagiyah for his wedding ceremony, see Islamic marital jurisprudence. The bride wears a white wedding dress. Most brides wear a white veil with the wedding dress, see white wedding. However, a few wear a white hijab or a white hooded bridal cape or full length cloak. For non-formal events such as Friday prayer services, and Eid ul Fitr celebrations, men wear the tagiyah with a thawb or salwar kameez in a variety of colors.

External links

  • Turkish costumes

See also

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