People of every religion have something unique about their customs, rituals and beliefs. Most of these peculiarities have often been continued since several generations. It is possible that such things may have undergone changes over the years, which makes it difficult to ascertain how they started in the first place.
In the Muslim community, one of the most noticeable things is the skull cap worn by men. It is to note that cap is also worn in other religions such as Zoroastrians, Christians and Jews. However, the practice of wearing a cap is more widely seen in Muslim community. If you are wondering why Muslims wear a cap, here are some possible reasons.
As a Mustahabb – In religious terms, wearing a skull cap is considered Mustahabb. In Arabic, Mustahabb broadly means actions that are virtuous and recommended for all. The rounded skullcap worn by Muslims is referred to as the taqiyah. The practice of wearing a taqiyah was started by Islamic prophet Muhammad. He used to wear the cap at all times and very rarely has anyone seen him without the cap.
So, wearing the cap became a general practice among Muslims, as it was considered as a reverence for the Prophet. Wearing a cap is also because of ‘Sunnah’, which means to follow the actions of the Prophet and his companions. Such actions are considered pious in the Muslim community.
As protection from heat – Coming from the Arab region, which is mostly hot and sunny, a cap could have helped provide protection from the sun. It could also provide a cooling effect to the head, as the perspiration evaporates, taking away the heat with it. Another possible reason could be sand storms that are quite frequent in the Arab world. The skullcap would have acted as a barrier, preventing sand particles from entering the hair.
As a means of cleanliness – The skull cap could also have been used as a means to keep the surroundings clean. The cap would effectively prevent things like hair and other debris from falling in the surroundings. This would have greater significance at places of worship such as a mosque. As thousands of people visit mosques, a skull cap would help keep the surroundings clean.
In most parts, wearing a cap in the present day is due to religious beliefs. It is considered as pious and shows respect for the Prophet. Other reasons as described above seem logical, but nothing can be said with 100% certainty.