I have noticed that a majority of men cover their heads head with a cap or something to cover the hair while offering salah. Is this mandatory? What if sometimes you don't find a cap or cloth to cover your head or if you are deliberately not covering your hair while praying? Is this considered sinful?
While it is true that the Prophet (saws) was never seen without a head-covering, there is no hadith reaching us from him (saws) that legislates covering the head while praying. The actions of the Prophet (saws) are divided into those that form part of the shari'ah (in this case, actions of the Prophet (saws) that are legislated for us to perform and emulate and receive reward for), and those that form his own actions, or 'aadah.
The general principle is to wear clothes that are respectful when in prayer. If in the culture you are in it is respectful to wear a head-covering (or disrespectful not to!), then do so out of an intention to be respectful to Allah.
Imam ash-Shatibi (rahimahullah) says in his book Al-Muwafaqat that
“[Customs] change matters from something praiseworthy to something blameworthy, and vice versa. For example, uncovering the head, for this is an issue that varies from place to place. In Eastern lands, it is something frowned upon for people of stature [muru’a], while in Western lands, it is not. Therefore, the Islamic ruling on it changes from place to place, and in Eastern lands, it would be taken into account for considering someone not worthy, while this would not be the case in Western lands”
Imam ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) says the following in Zad al-Ma'ad:
The custom of the Prophet (saws) with regards to clothing was that he would wear whatever Allah had facilitated for him of the clothes of his people, so he would wear a qamis, a turban, an izar, a rida, a shawl, etc. And he would wear cotton and wool, and other garments, and he would also wear what was imported from Yemen and other lands. So his Sunnah actually necessitates that a man should wear whatever Allah has facilitated for him in his land, even if it be more luxurious [than this] ..."
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi adds that in fact the true sunnah is to wear clothes similar to those of the people around you, as the Prophet (saws) did with his clothes and headgear.
And Allah SWT knows better. (This is not a fatwa. I am merely pointing out facts that I've learned from my teachers, and quoting two of the great scholars of the past.)
Wearing a cap in salaah (prayer) is masnoon (derived from sunnah). Wearing a cap all the time too is sunnah. The holy prophet (pbuh) covered his head for most of the time, not only during prayer. Though one condition: the cap should not contain things that are forbidden to wear like gold and silk. And wearing a cap is not at all a compulsion because no hadith or a verse of the Holy Qur'an relates it farz to pray wearing a cap. But it's a sunnah you'll be missing out if you don't.
And Allah knows best.
For me wearing a cap is not just a sunnah nowhere day because a lot of brothers who is doing hair style which is as i know not allow in islam (may Allah show them the right way) They should put a cap while they pray they have self respect for themselves they are in front of Allah some how.It been say come in pray in your most beautiful way ...So here where self respect came on
The only place where prophet pbuh ask us to cover our head is when entering toilet. And majority us are not following that Sunnat. On the other hand people are bent upon proving that covering of head is a sunnat. But with a cap..topi..prophet never wore cap..so the advocates should wear exact dress wore by prophet pbuh...And mind it the same dress was wore upon by Abu jahal...Abu Lahab etc
Wearing of cap...especially the rounded one is a pick from Jews clergy etc..we r not imbibing sunnat of prophet pbuh on the contrary we r imitating Jews.