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Clothing Guidelines for Males to Pray In 

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

Evidence supporting the recommendation for males to wear at least two pieces of clothing in prayer.

It is recommended for a man to pray in at least two pieces of clothing. This is because it is more encompassing and offers a greater degree of coverage for the body. It was also authentically confirmed that ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (رضي الله عنه) said: “If Allāh has widened the blessings bestowed upon one of you, then let him take advantage of those blessings he has been granted. Let men wear the pieces of clothing they possess such that one prays in an izār [cloth used to wrap the lower portion of the body] and ridāʾ [cloth used to wrap the upper portion], and another in a shirt and izār…”1 and he went on to mention different combinations of clothing. This may be used as evidence to support the view that for people who have a degree of wealth, it is better for them to pray in two pieces of clothing. The view expressed by ʿUmar (رضي الله عنه) is further bolstered by the saying of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) when he was asked: “Should one of us pray in a single garment?” He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) replied: “Does everyone even possess two garments?”2 This proves that praying in a single garment is permissible. However, if Allāh has opened the doors of blessings upon us, we should take advantage of what we have been granted. This is because his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying: “Does everyone even possess two garments?” proves that not everyone possessed two garments. Rather, many people at the time of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would live in a single piece of clothing.

As for covering the head when praying, it was narrated that Ibn ʿUmar (رضي الله عنهما) once said to his ward Nāfiʿ: “Do you go out to the people with an exposed head?” He replied: “No”. So Ibn ʿUmar (رضي الله عنهما) said: “Then Allāh—the Exalted in Might—is more deserving of showing shyness towards.” This proves that it is better to cover one’s head when praying. However, if we were to apply this issue to the verse:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ

“O Children of Ādam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying.”
(Al-Aʿrāf, 7:31)

This clarifies to us that covering the head is considered better if one is among people that consider covering the head a form of adornment. If one is among people that do not view covering the head to be a form of adornment, we would not say: covering it is better nor that exposing it is better. Although, it was authentically confirmed that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to pray while donning an ʿimāmah which is a piece of clothing that covers the head.


[1] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 365.
[2] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 358 and Muslim: 515.

Source: Al-Sharḥ al-Mumtiʿ 2:165-166
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: March 23, 2024
Edited: March 23, 2024

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