A kufi is a short, round brimless cap worn by men, specially the Muslim men in countries like the United States, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Africa etc. It is known by various names among different communities like kipa/yarmulke by the Jews, keffiyeh by the Arabs or topis by the Asians. It is basically a head covering, mainly used for prayer purpose and is also referred as a “prayer cap” or a “skull cap”.
In many countries, wearing a kufi cap is a part of the traditional costume like for the men in West Africa. Though kufi caps are mainly associated with the Muslims, they are also worn by the Christians and African Jews. For elders in the Muslim community, wearing kufis is a must as it symbolizes their status and position in the society and the family as family patriarchs, religious people or wise elders.
The general idea of wearing a kufi is to offer a sign of humility before God. It is believed that God is omnipresent and covering the head is a sign of showing deep reverence for God. That is why, all Muslim men are seen in their kufi caps, especially when they are at the Masjid or offering their prayers before their Allah. There is a belief that Prophet Mohammad, the founder of Islam, used to keep his head covered. Hence, all his followers or those who believe in Islam, should keep their heads covered and this applies to both men and women. During the five daily prayers, all Muslims are supposed to wear Kufi caps. Otherwise it is a sign of disrespect to Prophet Mohammad.
Wearing a kufi cap is not necessary in daily life or in day-to-day activities but while saying prayers, it is a customary tradition. For many Muslim men, kufis are considered “mustahab”, which means "praiseworthy" or "seeking the love of God".Styles of Kufis
Considering the importance of Kufis for Muslim men, these caps have undergone changes in their styles and colours to meet the taste of the modern Muslims. While the original style remains, which is the white skull cap without the brim, there are other styles available in various colours and prints. There are some which are plain woven cotton , while there some which are woollen. Embroidered kufis are also available. Hand-knitted kufis, stretchable kufis and custom made Islamic kufis are also popular. However, the basic round shape of this traditional head covering for the Muslim men remains the same.
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