Muslim Cap Styles

The historical and current Muslim caps and hats on display below is an attempt at progress to document the history of Sri Lankan Muslim men’s headgear. They provide many distinctive features of the pre-modern and modern head covers and caps use by the followers of Islam in Sri Lanka. The above featured image is a good cross-section of a the various Muslim cap styles currently fashionable and in demand.

White Skullcap

From examination of historical documents, drawing and text, the ordinary headgear of the Sri Lankan Muslims in the olden days seem to have been the white skullcap.

Surat Toppi

old muslim cap

A Surat Cap in Colombo National Museum

“Surat Toppi”, or “Surattu Toppi” was multi-coloured cap that was the fashionable headgear among the Ceylon Moors in the 19th Century, before the Turkish Fez hat became popular. However the Moors of the eastern districts do not seem to have used or known the Surat Toppi, a testimony to a bygone era where travel and communication wasn’t very developed as today.

Fez Hat (Turki Toppi)

turkish fez cap

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The ‘Fez’ was a popular headgear worn by Ceylon Moors starting from around 1890s to 1980s. A smaller version of the original tall Fez hats is still worn by Moor Bridegrooms at weddings even today. The Fez hat, probably became popular due to prominent Egyptian Nationalist Orabi Pasha wearing it and spending some time in Ceylon. The fez cap quickly became a symbol of local Muslim identity it even sparked the famous ‘fez controversy’ of 1905-1906 when the noted Moor leader and advocate M.C.Abdul Cader was prohibited from entering court wearing it. Intensive agitation and massive demonstrations in Colombo and in other parts of the island finally resulted in a decision of the Supreme Court permitting the wearing of the fez in court.

More cap styles and details coming…

Malay Cap

Stretch-knit Cotton Kufis

Fez-style Peak-top Kufis

Featured image source:


1. Fezzes and Surat Toppis

2. Men’s Kufi Hats and Skull Caps

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