In other words, through the act of performing Hajj, one declares that Allah (swt) is the Ultimate Authority. This visit to the House of Allah (swt) is the most sacred journey of one’s life. It is a move from self-interest towards the Almighty. It may appear that during Hajj the physical self alone is moving, but in reality Hajj is a journey of the soul.
During this journey one adapts the appearance of apostles hoping that this will have an effect in changing the inner soul. In addition this journey removes any fear of worldly poverty. One dirham spent on this journey brings the reward of many dirhams spent elsewhere.
To take ones heart and soul very close to House of Allah (swt) some prohibitions are placed on oneself.
House of Allah (swt) is a center of peace and love; it represents protection from all evils. All those acts which cause discord are prohibited in ihram. One has to avoid dispute, lying, pride and all forbidden acts in the House of Allah (swt) because one is in the presence of God Almighty.
This is a peaceful heaven and weapons represent enmity and discord, which are the acts of hell dwellers.
It is prohibited to stop growth of any living creature in this heaven. That is cutting or plucking of trees, plants and flowers is not permitted. Any mischief-maker on this earth is hell bound. Heaven dwellers always want to keep alive and take care of anything which is a symbol of Allah (swt).
If one wants to smell the heavenly perfume then she will have to keep away from the perfume of this world, which only helps in increasing the animal instincts.
To reach the zenith of Godly love one has to stay away from the love of their spouse also. Even being a witness to a marriage is not allowed, because this might distract one from the complete adoration of Allah (swt).
The eyes should be devoted to looking for Allah (swt). To keep oneself steadfast in this search one should stop viewing even their own image in the mirror. One should completely forget about dressing up and using adornment. The whole effort should be focused on the effort that Allah (swt) should consider us suitable enough for heaven.
Prohibitions during Ihram
Once ihram is worn twenty five things become forbidden. Some of these are common between men and women, while others are specific to one gender.
Common Prohibitions between Men and Women
- Sexual intercourse.
- Kissing a woman.
- Touching a woman.
- Looking at a woman and flirting with her.
- Reciting nikah
- Wearing perfume.
- Wearing antimony/eyeliner (surma).
- Looking in the mirror.
- Bursting out in anger Outrage (Fusouq).
- Killing insects found on humans, (such as lice).
- Beautifying oneself.
- Applying oil.
- Removing hair from one’s body
- Causing blood to come out of one’s body.
- Cutting one’s nails.
- Extracting a tooth, according to some scholars.
If during an Umrat-ut-Tamatu a pilgrim intentionally has sexual intercourse with his wife, and if he does so after performing sa’ee, the Umrah is not invalidated. However, there is an obligatory penalty upon him which should, as a matter of precaution.be the sacrifice of a camel or a cow.
If the intercourse takes place before sa’ee is completed, the penalty will still be a stated above. But as a matter of precaution, he must finish his Umra, the pilgrimage that follows it, and repeat both of them in the ensuing year.
If a pilgrim, in ihram for Hajj deliberately has sexual intercourse with his partner before his stay at Muzdalifah, his Hajj is invalidated. If the lady is also in ihram and she knowingly and voluntarily condoned the act, her Haij is also invalidated. Moreover, there is a penalty on each of them (which is described below), they must have to complete the remaining ceremonies and repeat the Hajj in the following year, whether the Hajj was obligatory or optional. However, if the woman was compelled into the act, her Hajj is not invalidated, and there will be no penalty on her. Her husband, who coerced her into it, should pay double the penalty.
The penalty for the intercourse is sacrificing a camel, but if one cannot afford it, it is a sheep. It is also mandatory that the husband and wife live separately during the remainder of the pilgrimage – being together only in the presence of a third person – until they complete all the pilgrimage rituals, including those at Mina. Then they may/ should return to the point where the intercourse took place. Should they choose to use a different route they are free to meet, only when they have finished all the resulted acts of worship.
They should also be separated, during the repeated Hajj in the following year on arrival, until they reach the place where the intercourse took place in the preceding year. Indeed, as a matter of precaution, the separation should be maintained until the completion of all the acts of pilgrimage, and the return to the place, where the act took place.
If a person, in ihram, intentionally had sexual intercourse after his stay at Muzdalifah, but before completing the fourth round of Tawaf-un-Nisa, the above-quoted penalty is obligatory on him; however, his pilgrimage is valid. But if the act is after the fourth round then there is no penalty.
If a person knowingly has sexual intercourse during Umrat-ul-Mufradah, he is liable to the penalty previously discussed. His Umra, however, is valid if the sexual act took place after sa’ee; otherwise it is invalidated as well. It is then mandatory on him to remain in Makkah for another month, and proceed to one of the Meeqats to wear ihram again in order to repeat his Umra. It is not sufficient to wear ihram from Adnal hil. As a matter of precaution, he must also complete the Urnra that was rendered invalid.
If a pilgrim relieved from his ihram, has sexual intercourse with his wife who is still in ihram, she becomes liable to a penalty of a camel, which must be borne by the husband.
If a wife was forced to have sexual intercourse, then she is not obliged to pay any penalty, but as a precaution her husband has to give a penalty.
If a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, has a sexual intercourse with his wife out of ignorance or due to an oversight, his Umra and Hajj are valid and there will be no penalty on him.
Kissing a Woman
It is not permissible for a pilgrim, in a state of ihram to kiss his wife with passion. If he does so and as a result ejaculates, he is liable to a penalty or sacrificing a camel. If he did not ejaculate, the sacrifice of a sheep will suffice.
If the kissing was without passion, the same penalty shall be due, as a matter of precaution.
If a person, who is not in the state of ihram, kisses his wife, who is in a state of ihrarn, he must, as a matter of precaution, pay the penalty of sacrificing as sheep.
Touching a Woman
It is not permissible for a pilgrim, in ihram, to touch, carry, or cuddle· his wife with passion. If he does so, whether he ejaculates or not, he becomes liable to a penalty of sacrificing a sheep. However, if he touches, carries or cuddles her without passion, no penalty is incurred.
Looking with Desire
It is not permissible for a person, in the state of ihram to embark on foreplay with his wife. If he does so and ejaculates, he is liable to a penalty of sacrificing a camel. However if he is unable to pay this penalty, he may replace it with a sheep. He should also avoid looking at her with desire, if this eventually leads to ejaculation. That said, it is advisable not to embark on this road whether or not looking at her resulted in ejaculation, as a matter of precaution.
Nikah (Marriage Contract)
It is forbidden for a pilgrim, in a state of ihram to officiate the marriage contract himself or another person, Irrespective of whether or not the other person is also in a state of ihram, and whether the intended marriage is permanent or temporary. In all these cases, the marriage is invalid.
If a pilgrim, in the state of ihram, gets married, and the marriage is consummated, the person who conducted the ceremony, husband, and wife should each pay a penalty, which is a camel. That is, if they were aware of the situation and the rules. If some were aware and others not, the ignorant party shall not incur the penalty. There is no difference as to the extent of the penalty whether the person who conducted the marriage ceremony, and. the woman, were in a state of ihram or not. If marriage is not consummated then there is no penalty.
Use of Perfume
It is forbidden for a person, in ihram, to use perfume, be it by way of wearing, smelling, applying, or eating it.
By perfume we mean every substance intended for one’s body, clothes, and food, such as musk, oud, waras, amber, saffron and the like.
However, it is evident that, one must also refrain from all kinds of scent and perfume, like rose and jasmine. There is one exception, though, which is ‘Khalooq-ul-Kaba’, which is extracted from saffron and other materials, and is applied on the Holy Kaba.
It is forbidden for a pilgrim, in the state of ihram to close his nose to bad smell, although there is no objection to moving away quickly from the smell.
If a person, in ihram, deliberately consumes an item of perfumery or wears clothes that have traces of scent on them, she should, as a matter of obligatory precaution pay penalty of a sheep.
Applying Antimony (Surma)
Applying antimony in two situations need consideration:
- Application of black collyrium (kohl) for beautification is totally forbidden. As a precaution even if not intended for beautification, it is forbidden.
- Application for beautification of collyrium (kohl) which is not black, and its equivalent, without intention of beautification is not objectionable and carries no penalty. But if intention is beautification then it is better avoided.
Use of antimony for treatment is permitted. There is no penalty on the use of antimony. But in the first case where its use was forbidden, it is preferable to sacrifice a sheep.
- Is the application of lamp black or soot (Kajal) also forbidden?
Ans: The same rule applies here as for antimony.
Looking in the Mirror
It is forbidden for a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, to look in a mirror for the purpose of beautification. However, there is no objection to looking in a mirror for any other reason, for example, a driver looking in the mirror to check the rear view; a pilgrim may need to look into a mirror to tend an injury in his face, or to ensure that there is nothing on the face to obstruct ablution water reaching the skin. (All other reflective surfaces are treated in the same way as a mirror.)
If one has looked into the mirror for beautification, it is recommended to renew the talbiyah.
There is no objection to wearing medical spectacles. However, as a matter of precaution, one should refrain from wearing them, if it is widely the view that they may be considered among beautification objects.
It is forbidden for a pilgrim in a state of ihram to quarrel with others, tell lies, swear or show pride. These are forbidden acts in any case, but in ihram they become more sinful.
To show pride of one’s position, wealth, connections etc. and try to put down other pilgrims is completely forbidden.
There is no penalty for fusouq. However, the pilgrim should seek Allah’s forgiveness, and as a precaution should sacrifice a cow.
It is forbidden for a pilgrim in a state of ihram to quarrel with others, particularly to swear by Allah (swt) in order to prove something. Apparently, the prohibition is not exclusive to “La Wallah” (No, by Allah) or “Bala Wallah” (Yes, by Allah), but includes all types of swearing in the name of Allah in any language, even though it does not include la or bala.
However, swearing by other than Allah (swt), for example Qur’an etc, is not taken into account.
There is no penalty for taking an oath, if it is true. However, the pilgrim should seek Allah’s forgiveness, if he has done so only twice; otherwise there is a penalty of a sheep.
If the oath is untrue, the penalty is a sheep – for the first time, two sheep for the second and a cow for the third time. That is the maximum penalty. However, if he had paid the penalty and took yet another false oath, the penalty is incurred in the same order.
Killing of Insects found on the Body
It is forbidden for a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, to kill lice on one’s body or throw them from one’s body or clothes, as a matter of precaution. Yet, there is no objection to moving them from one place to the other.
If they are killed, the penalty should, as a matter of precaution, be one fist full of grain. As for mosquitoes, gnats and the like, it, as a matter of precaution, is better to avoid killing them, so long as they do not harm the pilgrim, It is permissible, though, to kill them to protect one, although one should as a matter of precaution, avoid doing so.
Those acts of beautification which are common for men and women.
As a matter of precaution, a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, should avoid whatever is considered to be beautification, whether or not he has the intention to beautify himself, including applying henna in the usual way.
However, it is permissible to use that which is not considered as beautification and is used for treatment, or the like. It is also permissible to apply it before wearing ihram, even though its effect continues while the pilgrim is in a state of ihram.
It is permissible for a pilgrim, in a stale of ihram to wear a ring, not for beautification but as a recommended act, for safe keeping, or for the purpose of counting the rounds of circumambulation. However, as a matter of precaution, wearing it for ornamental purposes must be avoided. There is no penalty on beautification in all these situations.
Questions and Answers
Q1. While in ihram is any other dye besides henna permitted?
Ans: No beautification is permitted.
Q2. While in ihram can lotion or cream be applied to face and hands?
Ans: If it is not considered as beautification, does not have perfume in it and will not be considered as oiling the body, then it can be applied.
It is not permissible for the pilgrim in a state of ihram, to apply oil to the body, even if there is no perfume or scent in it. But for eating purpose that oil can be used which has a pleasant smell. Medicinal or non-medicinal oil can be used for treatment.
If the oil, which contains perfume, is applied deliberately, the penalty is a sheep; if it is applied out of ignorance, as a matter of precaution, a poor person should be fed as the penalty.
Removal of Body Hair
It is forbidden for a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, to shave or pluck, even a single hair of hers, or another one’s, whether the other person is in ihram or not.
If there are plenty of lice and the pilgrim is troubled by them; then it is permitted to shave off hair.
If the hair drop off by themselves in the course of ablution or bath, then there is no problem.
If a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, shaves his head without any valid reason, the penalty is a sheep. If, however, he does so out of necessity, the penalty is a sheep, fasting for three days, or feeding six poor persons, each receiving a kilo and a half of food.
Removal of Blood from the Body
As a matter of precaution, it is forbidden for a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, to remove blood from her body. However, there is no objection to using miswak (A bark used for cleaning teeth), even if it results in bleeding. The penalty for bleeding, without a valid reason is a sheep, as a matter of optional precaution.
It is forbidden for a pilgrim, in a state of ihram, to cut her nails or part thereof, unless it is causing distress to her. For example, if part of the nail has become blunt and causes pain to the entire nail, it is permissible to cut it
The penalty for cutting one nail is mudd (750 gms) of food; for cutting all hand nails in one session, it is a sheep. The same rule applies to cutting feet nails. If hand and feet nails are cut in one go, the penalty is a sheep. If hand nails arc cut in one session and feet nails in another, the penalty is two sheep.
Extraction of Teeth
Some scholars are of the opinion that extracting a tooth by a person, in a state of ihram, is forbidden, even if no blood comes out in the process. They prescribe the penalty to be a sheep. Although there is no doubting the reasoning for this view, it is not far from being the correct one.
Possession of Weapons
It is forbidden for a person, in a state of ihram, to wear arms, or carry them in a way that suggests that she is armed, as a matter of precaution. As a matter of precaution, the penalty for carrying arms, without a valid reason, is a sheep.
Prohibitions Specific to Ladies
Wearing of Jewelry for Beautification
It is forbidden for a lady, in a stale of ihram, to wear ornamental jewelry. Even if her intention is not to make herself beautiful, but the jewelry is serving this purpose, then as an obligatory precaution it should not be worn.
A woman can continue wearing those pieces of jewelry which she customarily wears and was using before entering the stale of ihram, however, she should not show them off to her husband, or, as a matter of optional precaution to any male, among her mahrams (Father or brother). If she were to do the above? Is it a sin? There is no penalty on beautification in all these situations.
- Is there a limit for the amount of regularly worn jewelry a woman is permitted to wear during the state of ihram?
Ans: No there is no limit. She can continue wearing whatever she is accustomed to.
Covering One’s Face
It is not permissible for a lady who is in the state of ihram to cover her face with a veil, a drape (niqab), a hand fan, or anything of the sort. As a matter of precaution, she should not cover her face, or for that matter any part of her face, with any form of covering. However, she can cover her face while sleeping. Also there is no objection to covering a part of the face during one’s prayers.
In the slate of ihram, women can cover their faces by pulling the end of their head cover (hijab) from the head onto the nose and it is apparent that there is no need to hold the end of the veil away from the face by hand or otherwise, though it is better to do so as a matter of precaution.
As a matter of optional precaution the penalty for covering the face is sacrificing a sheep.
Questions and Answers
Ql. Is a lady in ihram permitted to dry her face with a towel?
Ans: As an obligatory precaution it is better to avoid this, even if the towel does not cover the whole face.
Q2. While wearing maknah (Head covering) it is likely that woman’s face will be covered for a few seconds, what is the rule for this?
Ans: There is no harm in this. But as an obligatory precaution a Hijab which covers the forehead completely should be avoided.
Q3. Is the chin a part of the face, and should this also stay uncovered in ihram?
Ans: Whatever portion is washed in ablution is called face, rest is not.
Q4. If a lady pulls down her head covering to hide her face from strangers and the cloth sticks to her face, is there any penalty for her?
Ans: No there is no obligatory penalty.
Q5. Can a lady in ihram sleep face down, in a position where her face is covered?
Ans: She can sleep in such a position. But as a precaution it should be avoided.
Q6. If the husband has come out of ihram according to his Mujtahid’s (Religious Jurist) ruling but the wife is still in ihram according to her Mujtahid’s ruling, (and they conduct a marriage at this point?) is their marriage contract valid? If the wife is not aware of the ruling, is it husband’s duty to inform her?
Ans: Marriage contract is valid for husband but invalid for wife, whether the wife is aware of the rules or not. As an obligatory precaution if the wife is unaware then the husband should inform her.
Q7. If a man enters a marriage contract being unaware that he is not out of ihram, is the wife illegal for him for life?
Ans: No she is not illegal for life.
Prohibitions Specific to Men
- Covering the upper part of the feet.
- Wearing clothes that are stitched.
- Covering the head.
- Finding shelter in a shaded place during the journey.
The selection taken from the “A Guidebook for Women on Rites of Hajj” by Razia Batool Najafi.