Question:

I have a question about wearing a kufi, or hat of some
sort during salah. I recall something a long the lines that RasulAllah
PBUH used to wear it during salah because it showed respect, but it
wasnt a sunnah, because everyone used to wear it for respect during
that time. Was him wearing a kufi/qifaya a sunnah or something else?

Answer:

All praise be to Allah.

There is a type of Sunnah called Sunnah al Jibiliyya, which refers to emulating the habits and characteristics and ways of dress of the Prophet alayhi as salam, out of love for him, and the desire to adhere as closely as possible to his personal habits. This type of Sunnah is not related to religious guidance, rather, it brings reward only if done out of love and with the intention of emulating the Prophet.

For example, wearing a turban will not bring one reward in and of itself, rather, if it is done out of love of our beloved Messenger, it will bring reward due to this noble intention.

Another example of the Sunnah al Jibilliyaa was when Ibn Umar used to decend from his camel at the exact same place the Messenger of Allah, alayhi as salam, used to decend. When asked why he did this, he said, “I want to emulate the Prophet of Allah.”

As for wearing a turban or kufi in prayer, the Ulema say that these types of things depend on what is considered appropriate and beautiful in each culture. Allah commands us to wear our beautiful clothes in salat, He says:

“O Children of Adam, take your beauty ( khudhoo zeenatakum) to every Masjid.”

If in one’s culture, wearing a hat or a turban is considered from beautiful and noble dress, one will be rewarded for wearing it in Salat.

Allah knows best.