And Whoever Loves Me is With Me
January 1, 2008 § 25 Comments
“[A]nd whoever loves me is with me.” (Tirmidhi, Book of knowledge)
The Holy Prophet, his Companions, the Successors and the righteous ones who follow their traditions have all worn the turban. Al-Manawi said,
“The turban is a Sunna, especially for prayer and self-beautification, because of the many narrations concerning it.”
The turban is not only a Tradition of the Holy Prophet (alayhi salatu wa salam) but was worn by the angel Garbiel (alayhi salaam) and his company of angels during the historic Battle of Badr,
“One of the believers was pursuing a man of the enemy, and the man’s head flew from his body before he could reach him, struck off by an unseen hand. Others had brief glimpses of the Angels riding on horses whose hooves never touched the ground, led by Gabriel wearing a yellow turban, whereas the turbans of the other Angels were white, with one end left streaming behind them.”
The above mentions, “one end streaming behind”, this identifies that it is not just the turban itself that is a Tradition of our Prophet but also the style in which a Muslim wears his turban as reported by Ali bin Rukanah,
“Rukanah wrestled with the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) threw him on the ground. Rukanah said: I heard the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) say: The difference between us and the polytheists is that we wear turbans over caps.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
And on that glorious day of Victory, the day when the Holy Prophet (alayhi salatu wa salam) walked into Mecca destroying and removing 360 idols from the Ka’ba he wore upon his head a black turban as reported by Jabir bin Abdullah (Sahih Muslim). The best community among mankind, the Prophet’s Community, would follow everything that he did. They would see him and immediately apply whatever they saw him doing to their lifestyle. There are a number of examples of this. One such instance is found in Sahih Bukhari and narrated by Ibn ‘Umar saying,
“The Prophet wore a gold ring and then the people followed him and wore gold rings too. The the Prophet said, “I had this golden ring made for myself. He then threw it away and said, “I shall never put it on.” Thereupon the people also threw their rings away.”
Likewise we should be imitating the Holy Prophet (alayhi salatu wa salam). Didn’t the Prophet say,
“Pray as you see me pray.”
He prayed wearing a turban, he wiped it during ablution without removing it. He wore it during war and when giving Friday sermons. He would receive turban cloth as gifts, while his Companions and the Successors are reported having given them as gifts to distinguished and honorable persons.
I am not writing this article to criticize making prayers bareheaded. As praying bareheaded can be viewed an act of humility as discussed in al-Jazayri, al-Fiqh `ala al-madhahib al-arba`a, Kitab al- Salat,
“According to the Hanafi school [among] the disliked acts (al-makruhat) in prayer are:… i`tijar, which is to tie a scarf around the head and leave the center bare;… [or] praying bareheaded out of laziness. As for praying bareheaded out of humility and submission, it is permitted (ja’iz) and not disliked.”
However, I am pointing out that wearing a turban during prayer, worship and to beautify the appearance is the Holy Prophet’s Tradition. And it should not be criticized or looked down upon especially by Muslims. There are many Muslims who have a problem with the turban and it is for this reason that I decided to write this article.
When I walk the streets of New York City, non-Muslims get excited, smile and send compliments when they see a neatly wrapped turban cloth, loose fitting clothes and a cheery disposition. They become eager to talk about Islam, if for nothing else but sheer curiosity concerning the turban and its meaning. I never expected this kind of response from non-Muslim people that I would meet in the street. In fact I probably expected the opposite before I began donning a turban openly.
Then one morning, after the dawn prayer the strangest thing happened. I was with Shaykh Abdul-Kerim in Manhattan escorting someone to their car. And while I was finishing up my little task an ordinary middle-aged American woman was out power walking with another middle aged friend. The woman took one glimpse at me, then she looked at the turban; then she looked at the shaykh; then she looked at the other murids. All of the sudden her face brightened into a grin that stretched from ear to ear! The woman gave me a big hug and a kiss on my cheek. She then said, “I love you!” She looked toward Shaykh Abdul-Kerim holding her heart saying, “I love you”, and then to the other murids blowing kisses and showering us with sentiments of warmth and well wishes. Since that day this is the kind of treatment I get donning a turban in the streets of New York City.
Yet within some areas of the Muslim community there is a very different kind of response for wearing turban. I have been told stories of Muslim parents and family members against their sons wearing a turban and if that wasn’t enough someone once told me that my turban is a distraction to their prayer!
All of this leads me back to my first thought. Why is the turban such an instigant for Muslims? What exactly is the problem here, and why does it seem more of an instigant in the Muslim community than it is elsewhere? It seems to me that the turban should be a welcome element of our Prophet’s Tradition and not a stigma, especially for Muslims.
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