Wow... this sure does remind me of my JW days... only this is a question being asked in an Islamic newspaper.
Covering Head in Prayers
Q. People here in Saudi Arabia offer their prayers in mosques without covering their heads, and they may also wear trousers covering their ankles. Such practices are strongly shunned in other country. Which is correct?
A. There is no requirement, or recommendation, to cover one?s head in prayer. This is a question of tradition. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not give instructions on this point. As for covering the ankles, this is a misunderstood point. During the Prophet?s lifetime, a person who wore long robes, covering his ankles, or touching the ground, did so as a gesture of arrogance, pressing the point that he was rich.
The Prophet spoke strongly against this, but in his Hadiths he always mentioned that doing so in a gesture of arrogance is forbidden. This means that when arrogance is intended then the action is forbidden. We understand this from an authentic Hadith which states this prohibition but goes on to say that Abu Bakr said to the Prophet: ?My robe often drops on one side.? The Prophet said to him: ?But you do not do this in a gesture of arrogance.? When we consider people?s clothes these days, we find that a large proportion of Muslims wear trousers which go down to their feet. Yet the thought of arrogance is never entertained by anyone who wears trousers or anyone who sees such a person. It is a normal type of clothes that is very common. Hence, it does not come under the prohibition. Those who advise people to turn the bottom of their trousers up to leave them hanging above the ankles overlook the element of arrogance intended by the Prophet. They take that any covering of the ankles is forbidden, which is not so. They themselves do not advise against wearing socks in prayer, which again cover the ankles.