بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Correct position regarding covering the head (for men) in Salah...
1- Its from the Zeenah (adornment) which Allah said in the Qur'an
يَابَنِيۤ آدَمَ خُذُواْ زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَكُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وكُلُواْ وَٱشْرَبُواْ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُوۤاْ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُسْرِفِينَ
2- Its better (afdhal) than praying without covering the head. Although wearing the 'amaamah is not from the Sunnah rather its from the customary practice ('aadah).
3- Its not wajib or must to cover the head as its not from the 'awrah !
4- Its befitting esp the imam who leads the prayer that he takes this adornment atleast in salah although its better for a muslim to always cover his head to distinguish himself from the kuffar.
5- Some of the salaf considered exposing the head as khawaarim al muru'aah. There are many weak ahadeeth pertaining to this chapter so beware.
. Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
It was narrated that Ibn Umar said to his freed slave Naafi: Do you go and meet people bareheaded? He said: No. He said: Allaah has more right that you should be modest before Him. This indicates that it is better to cover the head, but if we apply the words of Allaah – (interpretation of the meaning): O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying [al-Araaf 7:31] to this issue, we will see that covering the head is better among people who regard covering the head as a kind of adornment. But if we are among people who do not regard that as a kind of adornment, we do not say that covering it is better or that leaving it bare is better. It is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray in a turban, and the turban is a head covering. End quote.
Al-Sharh al-Mumti, 2/166
Shaikh Nasiruddeen Al- Albaani Rahimaullah said in Al-Qawl Al-mubin fi akhta’ Al-musallin by Mashhur Hussain on page # 58 of the 2nd edition): “Praying bareheaded is Makruh (disliked).”
It is not established at all that the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ever prayed outside the pilgrimage with bare head, without a turban/cap. Whoever thinks he did so then he should bring the proof. If he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had done so, it would have been recorded. The narration attributed to Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would sometimes remove his cap and place it as a sutrah in front of him is weak (da’eef).
Shaikh Albaani (May Allaah’s mercy be on him) said in (Al-Din al-khalis (3:214) and al-Ajwiba al-nafi`a `an al-masa’il al-waqi`a (p. 110):
“All acknowledge that it is desirable for the Muslim to enter prayer in the most perfect Islaamic appearance, due to the hadeeth: “Allaah is worthier of your self- adornment” [hasan].
And it is not part of excellent attire in the custom of the Salaf to habitually bare one’s head, and walk in that guise on the road and when entering places of worship.
Rather, it is a foreign custom which infiltrated many Islaamic countries at the time the disbelievers invaded them and brought their habits with them. The Muslims began to imitate them in this, and they lost thereby their Islaamic personality as well as through other similar acts… Nor is it established that the Prophet ever prayed bareheaded and without a turban other than in the state of ihram, although there were plenty of occasions to report it if he did. Therefore, whoever claims that he did, let him produce the proof, for truth is more deserving to be followed.”
Shaikh Albani (May Allaah’s mercy be on him) goes on to explain the mistake of some brothers in Egypt who brought the proof of the permissibility to pray without covering the head by analogizing with how the head is uncovered for someone in ihraam during the pilgrimage.
This is wrong since not covering the head during the pilgrimage is from the law (Sharee’ah) of Allaah. If their analogy was right then they should make it compulsory to pray without any head covering at all since it is obligatory to do so during the pilgrimage and to follow all the other restrictions of Ihraam in regular life!
[Tamaam-ul-Minnah fee ta’leeq ‘alaa fiqh-us- Sunnah by ‘Allaamah Albaani ]