What is a Kufi?
Kufis are the traditional and religious skull caps for Muslim men. It was the practice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to cover his head during regular times and while in salah (prayer).
There are many hadith from various narrators expressing how diligiantly Muhammad (peace be upon him) was in covering the head, especially for prayer. He wore a kufi cap and a turban most of the time and it was said frequently that the companions never saw him without something covering his head.
Allah reminds us in the Qur’an “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (33:21)
Many of the great scholars have looked to this verse as justification for imitating the actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in addition to practicing his teachings. In imitating the actions of the Prophet, we can hope to draw closer to his method of living and purify our lifestyle. An act of imitation is an act of love and those who love the Prophet are blessed by Allah.
Scholars differ in their opinion whether covering the head is Sunnah or if it is simply cultural. Some scholars classify the practices of our beloved Prophet as Sunnah Ibada (practice that has religious significance) and Sunnat al-'ada (practice based on culture). Scholars say that if we follow the practice we will be rewarded, regardless of it being Sunnat Ibada or Sunnat A'da.
How Many Different Kinds of Kufi are there?
Kufis vary based on culture and fashion trend. Basically any head covering that fits tightly to the head and does not have a brim which extends out to shield the sun can qualify as a kufi. There are some cultures that refer to it as a topi or a kopi and a few still that call it a taqiyah or a tupi. No matter what you call it, the general form is the same, though topi caps are more likely to have embellishments and detailed embroidery work on them.
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