In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…
While it is authentically established that our Messenger (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) did wear ‘imaamahs (turbans), there are a number of fabricated and extremely weak hadeeth narrations that many Sufis, Shia, and other fanatical turban enthusiasts pass on without verification, seeking to make the issue of wearing a turban an essential part of the Islaamic dress code, more than a historical tradition of dress shared by the Muslims and non-Muslims of many Arab regions.
The following is a brief list of some of the fabricated and unauthentic narrations that many turban enthusiasts often try to pass off as authentic hadeeth:
1 – Turbans are the Mark of the Angels?
عليكم بالعمائم فإنها سيما الملائكة، وأرخوها خلف ظهوركم
“Upon you is (to wear) ‘imaamahs (turbans), as they are the mark of the Angels. Fix them so their tails are down your backs.”
Munkar (unauthentic and contradictory): It was collected by al-Bayhaqee in Shu’ab al-Eemaan, at-Tabaraanee in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, and Ibn ‘Adee in al-Kaamil with contradictory chains narrated by weak and unknown narrators. See: Al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah (no.717) and Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.677).
2 – Multiplied Rewards and Angels Praying for People with ‘Imaamahs (Turbans)?
صلاة بعمامة تعدل خمسا وعشرين صلاة بغير عمامة، وجمعة بعمامة تعدل سبعين جمعة بغير عمامة، إن الملائكة ليشهدون الجمعة معتمين، ولا يزالون يصلون على أصحاب العمائم حتى تغرب الشمس
“A prayer performed whilst wearing an ‘imaamah (turban) is equal to 25 prayers performed without wearing an ‘imaamah. Jumu’ah prayer whilst wearing an ‘imaamah is equal to 70 Jumu’ah prayers performed without wearing an ‘imaamah. Verily the Angels attend Jumu’ah prayer wearing ‘imaamahs, and they go on praying for people with ‘imaamahs until the sun sets.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): This fake hadeeth was identified by a number of Hadeeth specialists as a fabrication, the likes of Ibn Hajr, as-Sakhaawee, and as-Suyootee in their compilations of fabricated narrations. Refer to: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.127).
3 – Multiplied Rewards for Someone Who Prays Wearing an ‘Imaamah (Turban)?
ركعتان بعمامة خير من سبعين ركعة بلا عمامة
“Two rak’ahs (units of prayer) whilst wearing an ‘imaamah (turban) is better than 70 rak’ahs performed without wearing an ‘imaamah.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was collected by ِAboo Nu’aym and Ad-Daylamee. Al-Albaanee categorized it as a lie in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.128 and 5699).
4 – Prayer in an ‘Imaamah (Turban) is Worth 10,000 Good Deeds?
الصلاة في العمامة تعدل بعشرة آلاف حسنة
“Prayer offered whilst wearing an ‘imaamah (turban) is equal to 10,000 good deeds.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was collected by ad-Daylamee with a chain to Abaan, who fabricated it as a narration from Anas ibn Maalik, as the scholars of Hadeeth have explained. Al-Albaanee categorized it as a lie in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.129), saying:
I have no doubt this hadeeth is false, as are the two before it, since the Wise Legislator (Allaah) weighs matters with precise accuracy, and it is not rational for the (additional) reward of the prayer wearing an ‘imaamah (turban) to be like that of congregational prayer, or even many, many times more! There is a huge difference between the rulings of wearing an ‘imaamah and that of congregational prayer. The most that could be said about wearing an ‘imaamah is that it is recommended, while what is correct is to consider it a sunnah ‘aadah (customary practice), not a Sunnah used in worship. While the least that can be said about congregational prayer is that it is a highly-stressed Sunnah. Some believe that it is an essential matter (pillar) without which the prayer is invalid. What is correct is that it (congregational prayer) is obligatory, while the prayer is valid without it, but with great sin incurred. So how could the Most Wise, the All-Knowing make its reward equal to prayer offered whilst wearing an ‘imaamah, or even many times less valued?!
5 – Allaah Praises People Who Wear ‘Imaamahs (Turbans) on Fridays?
إن الله عز وجل وملائكته يصلون على أصحاب العمائم يوم الجمعة
“Verily, Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and His Angels praise those wearing ‘imaamahs (turbans) on Friday.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was collected by At-Tabaraanee and Aboo Nu’aym, from the report of Al-‘Alaa’ ibn ‘Amr al-Hanafee, narrating from Ayyoob ibn Mudrik, both considered liars by the scholars of Hadeeth. Refer to: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.159).
6 – Angels Assigned to Seek Forgiveness for People Wearing ‘Imaamahs (Turbans)?
إن لله ملائكة موكلين بأبواب الجوامع يوم الجمعة يستغفرون لأصحاب العمائم البيض
“Verily Allaah has appointed Angels at the gates of the large mosques on Friday who seek forgiveness for those wearing white ‘imaamahs (turbans).”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was collected by Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee in his Taareekh from the report of Yahyaa ibn Shabeeb Al-Yamaanee, who concocted it. Refer to: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.395).
7 – Reward for Wrapping ‘Imaamahs (Turbans), Forgiveness for Unwrapping them?
من اعتم فله بكل كورة حسنة، فإذا حط فله بكل حطة حطة خطيئة
“Whoever wears an ‘imaamah (turban) shall have a good deed for every loop he wraps and a sin removed for every loop he unwraps.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was indexed by al-Haytamee in his Ahkaam al-Libaas as being extremely weak. Al-Albaanee called it a fabrication in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.718).
8 – Turbans on Caps are the Distinction Between Muslims and Polytheists?
العمامة على القلنسوة فصل ما بيننا وبين المشركين، يعطى يوم القيامة بكل كورة يدورها على رأسه نورا
“Wearing the ‘imaamah (turban) on top of the cap is the distinguishing difference between us and the polytheists. For each loop (of a turban) he wraps around his head, one shall have an amount of light on the Day of Judgment.”
Baatil (falsehood): The first half was collected by at-Tirmithee, who declared the hadeeth to be dha’eef (unauthentic). The second part was indexed by Ibn Hajar al-Haytamee in his Ahkaam al-Libaas, who called it extremely weak. Refer to: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.1217).
9 – Turbans are the Crowns of the Muslims?
ائتوا المساجد حسرا ومقنعين، فإن العمائم تيجان المسلمين
“Go to the masjids humbly with your gazes lowered, for verily ‘imaamahs (turbans) are the crowns of the Muslims.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was collected by Ibn ‘Adee in al-Kaamil with Mubash-shir ibn ‘Ubayd in the chain, a known fabricator of hadeeth. See: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.1296 and 1593).
10 – Turbans are Barriers Between Faith and Disbelief?
إن الله عز وجل أمدني يوم بدر وحنين بملائكة يعتمون هذه العمة، إن العمامة حاجزة بين الكفر والإيمان
“Verily Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, supported me on the Day of Badr and Hunayn with Angels dressed in these ‘imaamahs (turbans). Verily the ‘imammah is a barrier between disbelief and faith.”
Dha’eef jiddan (extremely weak): It was collected by At-Tayaalasee in his Musnad from the report of Al-Ash’ath ibn Sa’eed, an abandoned narrator. Refer to: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.3052).
11 – The Angels Wore Red Turbans During the Uhud Battle, Black Turbans at Badr?
كانت سيما الملائكة يوم بدر عمائم سود، ويوم أحد عمائم حمر
“The mark of the Angels on the Day of Badr was black ‘imaamahs (turbans), and on the Day of Uhud it was red ‘imaamahs.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was collected by at-Tabaraanee in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, from the report of ‘Abdul-Quddoos ibn Habeeb, a known fabricator of narrations. It was also narrated that they wore red at the Battle of Hunayn and white at Badr. Not only are these narrations contradictory, none of them are authentic. See: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.4088).
12 – Allaah Honored This Nation with Turbans and Flags?
أكرم الله عز وجل هذه الأمة بالعمائم والألوية
“Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, has honored this Nation with ‘imaamahs (turbans) and flags.”
Dha’eef (unauthentic): It was collected by Sa’eed ibn Mansoor in his Sunan, with a broken, disconnected chain of narration. Refer to Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.5503).
13 – Wearing Turbans over Caps is from the Fitrah (Untainted State of Purity)?
لا تزال أمتي على الفطرة ما لبسوا العمائم على القلانس
“My nation will remain upon the Fitrah (untainted purity) so long as they wear ‘imaamahs’ over their caps.”
Mowdhoo’ (fabricated): It was collected by ad-Daylamee in his Musnad, with Muhammad ibn Yoonus al-Kudaymee in the chain, a known liar. Refer to: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.6072).
14 – Not Wearing Turbans is a Loss of Honor and Distinction?
العمائم وقار المؤمن وعز العرب، فإذا وضعت العرب عمائمها فقد خلعت عزها
“‘Imaamahs (turbans) constitute the respectful presence of the believers, and they are the honor of the Arabs. When the Arabs put down their ‘imaamahs, they cast aside their honor.”
Dha’eef (unauthentic) at least: It was collected by Ad-Daylamee in Musnad al-Firdows, with Hanthalah as-Sadoosee and Aboo Nu’aym ‘Abdul-Malik ibn Muhammad. Hanthalah was considered weak by some hadeeth critics, extremely weak by others. ‘Abdul-Malik remains unknown. This hadeeth was cited by as-Sakhaawee in al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah (pp.465-466), in his list of unauthentic narrations about ‘imaamahs, about which he concluded: “None of them are established, while some of them are weaker than others.” Review: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (4/96-97).
15 – Wearing Turbans Enhances Good Character?
تعمموا _أو: اعتموا_ تزدادوا حلما
“Wear ‘imaamahs (turbans), your good character will improve.”
Dha’eef jiddan (extremely weak): It was collected by Al-Haakim and others, with ‘Ubaydullaah ibn Abee Humayd in the chain, an abandoned narrator. Al-Haakim, known for laxness in authenticating narrations, mistakenly called the hadeeth authentic in his Mustadrak (4/193). In Ath-Thahabee’s critical review of those rulings, he rejected this error, saying: “‘Ubaydullaah was abandoned by Ahmad [ibn Hanbal].” In Ibn Hajar’s desktop reference of narrators, Taqreeb at-Tah-theeb, he clasified this narrator as: “Abandoned in hadeeth.” Furthermore, the hadeeth was narrator by others, similar in status to ‘Ubaydullaah, with contradictions in the chains of narrations. Review Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (no.2819) for more detailed criticism. Like the previous narration, it was also cited by as-Sakhaawee in al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah (pp.465-466), in his list of unauthentic narrations about ‘imaamahs, about which he concluded: “None of them are established, while some of them are weaker than others.”
16 – Travel for Good Health and Wear Turbans for Good Character?
سافروا تصحوا، واعتموا تحلموا
“Travel, you will have good health. Wear ‘imaamahs (turbans), you will have good character.”
Dha’eef jiddan (extremely weak): It was collected by Ibn ‘Adee in al-Kaamil, with ِAboo Bakr al-Huthalee in the chain, an abandoned narrator. Refer to: Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth ad-Dha’eefah (6/344).
Points of Confusion Spread by Fanatical Turban Enthusiasts
“Wearing a Turban is an Authentic Sunnah in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree…”
Response: No one can deny that the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) wore ‘imaamahs. That is a historical fact. However, what is missing is any proof that ‘imaamahs were made as part of Allaah’s Religion. Worshipping Allaah with Arab culture that the Messenger himself did not worship Allaah with is most certainly a blameworthy innovation in Islaam.
“Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah Encourage the Wearing of Turbans…”
Response: This is also true, but within the culture of those places where wearing such headwear is the customary practice of upright people. It is encouraged as muroo’ah (matching cultural norms), not part of the Religion though. Additionally, some scholars use the word ‘imaamah to refer to any head covering, and they encourage the Muslims to distinguish themselves by covering their heads, with caps, shimaaghs, ghutrahs, or any other customary “turban”.
“Some scholars call some of these narrations authentic…”
Response: If there is a scholar who can produce an authentic chain of narration for any of these or similar narrations, then he is free to do so. The narrations cited above are not authentic, without a doubt. The most obvious of their defects have been mentioned in brevity along with each one. It is acknowledged that some scholars erred in their rulings on some of the above narrations. However, the Sunnah has been preserved through the scholars’ collective contributions. When a scholar errs, the Ummah will find other scholars clarifying the matter. An example of this is referred to in the notes to Hadeeth #15 above. While the methodology of the people of falsehood is to champion the mistakes of scholars, the way of the people of truth is to ascertain what is correct based on evidences, not errors or personalities.
“It is still allowed to act by weak hadeeths…”
Response: Some of the scholars allow acting upon weak narrations, under certain conditions that must be fulfilled. Firstly, they say that the hadeeth must be only slightly weak, not fabricated, munkar, baatil, or dha’eef jiddan, like these narrations. Secondly, they cannot establish anything not already founded in authentic narrations. Thirdly, there is an important manner used when quoting them if the first two conditions are fulfilled: You say, “It has been narrated in a weak hadeeth…” or the likes, so you do not attribute something unauthentic to the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace). Most fanatical turban enthusiasts fail miserably in fulfilling these conditions, especially the last one.
Acting by a weak hadeeth does not give anyone the right to attribute things to the Messenger (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) which he did not say or do. He said in the widely reported authentic hadeeth:
من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده من النار
“Whoever lies on me intentionally, let him take his place in the Fire.”
And Allaah knows best.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson