Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As salam alaykum,
Can I perform wudu with my headscarf on? By that I mean running water over my headscarf instead of running water over my hair?
I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.
According to the Hanafi school, it is obligatory to wipe one quarter of the head because of the Words of Allah Most High, “wipe your heads ” [5.6], and the traditions (hadith) of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in which he wiped the front part of his head (nasiya). [see: Muslim & elsewhere]
Wiping your headscarf or turban, however, doesn’t fulfil the obligation, derived from the decisive Qur’anic text, of wiping the head, and is thus problematic, and practically, invalid.
As for the traditions which seem to indicate permission of wiping over the turban, they are interpreted to mean that this was (a) done as a form of completion, after the obligatory wiping, or (b) that the wetness was sufficient such that it passed through to the head itself, or (c) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) straightened his turban and the narrator thought that he was wiping it.
[Tahtawi, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah; Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih; `Itr, I’lam al-Anam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram]
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And Allah alone knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani