Wiping over Headwear (Turbans, Caps, Khimaars) for Wudhoo’

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…

I was asked about the issue of women wiping over their khimaars (head coverings) for wudhoo’. Seeking the Assistance of Allaah, I say:

The Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) wiped over his footwear and headwear, as found in Saheeh Muslim and other source books of hadeeth. Some scholars said this is not for women and their khimaars, however, to consider a ruling in Islaam specific to one of the two genders requires evidence, as all rulings in Islaam are for men and women alike, unless there is evidence to show an intended distinction.

All rulings in Islaam are for men and women alike, unless evidence establishes an intended distinction.

This is a very important principle in Fiqh. Furthermore, it has been reported from Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her), that she used to wipe over her khimaar for wudhoo’. This is the short version of the answer. Stop reading here, unless you are interested in a more detailed discussion.

Some scholars said it is not allowed for women to wipe over their khimaars. This is due to either

  • [A] Their rejection of the entire issue of wiping over headwear, because the evidence for it had not reached them,
  • [B] Or because they affirmed the Sunnah of wiping over headwear in general, but no report from a female Companion reached them affirming their practice of it, so did not see any basis for it in the practical understanding of the female Companions. There are in fact many reports of women Companions reaching under their khimaars to wipe over their heads for wudhoo’. However, those who knew of the reports (of Umm Salamah, for example) are given priority over those did not have them.

Those who affirm the permissibility of women wiping over the khimaar either

  • [A] Allow it unrestrictedly,
  • [B] Or allow it only when there is difficulty in removing the khimaar.

The same is true for their understanding of men’s headwear.

This second and more plausible position means: If a man is wearing the likes of today’s “Sudani” turban, which is a very long cloth extensively wrapped around the head many times, he is the kind of person who takes this concession and wipes over his headwear without removing it. However, a man wearing a simple cap should just remove the cap and wipe without any difficulty, and thus he needs no concession. The word “concession” does not even logically apply to his situation.

Similarly, a woman who is wearing a khimaar that is easy to remove should simply remove it and wipe over her head for wudhoo’. However, if her khimaar is wrapped in a complex way that is inconvenient to unwrap, or she is in a public place or around men who are not from her immediate family, then she should take this Prophetic concession and wipe over her headwear.

This is the position which I believe to be correct. It is the choice of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, and it is the published verdict of the Permanent Committee for Fatwaa, headed by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, and Allaah knows best.

Written by: Moosaa Richardson

17 thoughts on “Wiping over Headwear (Turbans, Caps, Khimaars) for Wudhoo’

  1. What is the ruling on wiping over the socks, what type of socks, how long is the permissible time period, and how do we wipe over them according to the Sunnah? May Allah raise you in ranks of knowledge.

  2. Jazaakallaahu khayraa. Is it a strong/sound opinion that the khimar must cover the neck and chest of the woman before she is allowed to wipe over it, or is it OK for her to wipe over a small under-scarf and the like?

    • She may only wipe over her headwear which is burdensome to remove and put back on, or if she fears exposing herself near men not from her family. I do not know of any condition for the headwear to cover the neck and chest for wiping to be valid. Of course, she must cover these areas sufficiently as part of her duty of observing hijaab. The Permanent Committee said, “It is permissible for a woman to wipe over her Khimar that she wears over her head and is wrapped under her jaw.” [Source] And Allaah knows best.

    • NOTE: In the translation at the Lajnah’s English page: “khimar (veil covering to the waist)” it should be noted that what is between parenthesis is from the translator, not the scholars.

  3. Assalam Alykum wa rahmathullah,
    May Allah bless you for the knowledge you share, verily it is the knowledgable who know more about Allah and who is able to teach us about Him and His deen.
    I have a question regarding wiping over the skull cap which is worn commonly by Muslims today. I do not find the matter of simplicity or difficulty regarding the issue of wiping over the khuffs in the hadith, be it which can be easily removen or not. Is it similar to the matter pertaining to whatever headwear is worn on the head? I have seen certain narrations of wiping over the forelock and the headwear ( I believe العصاإب refers to turban) together. My question is, whether it is permissible to wipe over the cap considering the general ruling of the hadith or is it better to wipe over the head?
    جزاكم الله خيرا

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. According to what I understand to be the correct position of the scholars, the headwear which is burdensome to remove and replace is the one which can be wiped over, because this is what is in line with the concept of a rukhsah (concession). And Allaah knows best.

  4. السلام عليك
    If the turban/khimar covers part of the forehead, is it permissible to skip this part of the face during wudu, because it would be found difficult to take the turban/khimar off to uncover this part of the face?

    Also, is it permissible to wipe over the overhead jilbab out of difficulty of to untie the inside and to remove the jilbab completely?

  5. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    Ustaaz what is مشقة in المشقة تجلب التيسير
    How can one know something is mashakah especially in terms of purifying oneself.

    Please answer.

  6. Also is it a condition that the turban/Khimar should have been originally worn in a state of taharah during which the head was wiped upon?

  7. Jazakallahu khairan. Brother, is the wiping over the khimar done from the front of the forehead and towards the back only or is it done from the front of the forehead towards the back and then towards the front like when wiping the hair during regular wudu?

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