A head covering or prayer cap is considered a respectful addition to a Muslim man's outfit, especially on religious occasions or when entering a mosque. Many mosques have rows of turbans and skullcaps just outside for men to don before praying if they are not wearing a hat. The type of headgear worn by Muslim men varies between Islamic countries depending on tradition and fashion.
In the Middle East, many Muslim men wear a "taqiyah," a short, rounded cap made from a coarse cloth. Known in the West as a Muslim prayer cap, the taqiyah is brimless to allow the man's forehead to touch the ground while praying to Allah. The taqiyah fits close to the head and can be plain white or crocheted with intricate geometric patterns.
Throughout the Muslim world, you'll find slight variations on the taqiyah. Called a "peci" among Indonesian Muslims, the prayer cap is slightly taller and worn by non-Muslims as well. In Central Asia, the "doppa" is a tight skullcap worn by the Uyghurs, a Chinese Muslim minority; and in Saudi Arabia well-off Muslim men wear a head covering called a "ghutra," which is a square piece of cloth held onto the head with a thick black band.
The turban is another type of hat more common in some Islamic countries than other. In Afghanistan, for example, Muslim men might own a variety of turban styles and colors for different occasions. Turbans are a long cloth wrapped around the head several times, and they can be made from a variety of materials from Polyester to fine, expensive silks.
Hats for Different Occasions
Aside from regional differences in styles of head coverings, it is also common for a Muslim man to own several kinds of hats for separate occasions. Because of the turban's especially religious connotations -- the prophet Muhammad supposedly wore one for much of his life -- a turban can be worn by a holy man called an Imam, or it may be worn only for special occasions. Similarly, a Muslim man might own several prayer caps that range in style, from plain for everyday prayer to highly decorative caps for religious holidays.
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