Women Ihram in Hajj

Women Ihram in Hajj

Should a woman shower upon entering the Miqat

It is equally part of the Sunnah for a woman to shower before Ihram just as it is for a man. In fact, in the case of women who at the time may be experiencing Hayd or Nifas, there is specific proof that she should take this shower.

Imam Muslim relates in his Sahih that from Ayshah - May Allah be pleased with her - that she said, "Asma' bint `Umays had Nifas after giving birth to Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr. This happened at Ash-Shajarah (a place near the Miqat outside of Madinah). So Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) directed that she should bathe and begin the Tahlil."

In this regard of showering before Ihram, the menstruating woman is in the same ruling as one who finds herself in Nifas. The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "If the Menstruating woman and the one in Nifas enter the time they should bathe and enter into Ihram and complete all the rituals (like others) except Tawaf of the (Ka'bah)."


Abu Dawud and others narrated that Ibn Abbas asked Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, "While he was in a state of Ihram, how did the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) wash his head?" Abu Ayyub (who was bathing at the time) replied by asking someone to pour water on his head. He then rubbed his head with his hand, going back and forth. He then said, "In such a way I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) wash."

This narration is used by the scholars as proof that it is permissible for a male or female in Ihram to take a bath and pour water over their head and to pass their hand through their hair.

If the bath is needed because of sexual impurity (Janabah), then the scholars agree that it is permissible. Even if the bath is desired to just cool off or for other non-essential reasons, the majority of scholars say that it is permissible without any reservations.

Imam Ash-Shafi'i said - after narrating this incident about Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, "This is the opinion that we hold. A Muhrim may take a bath whether it is due to sexual impurity or for other reasons. One may wash their head and soak their body with water."

However, some scholars have recommended that a woman should not shower unless it is necessary. This is because she is in Ihram and busy with the actions of Hajj. In fact, to bathe during Ihram is simply an issue of permissibility, but there is no one that says that it is recommended (Mustahabb). To some scholars, it is more recommended to remain dusty and disheveled.

Imam An-Nawawi said, "It is more desirable that the pilgrim remain dusty and disheveled. The proof of this is the statement of Allah [Then let them end their untidiness...] (22/29) and the statement of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him): [Verily Allah boasts the people of Arafah to the inhabitants of the heavens, saying, `Look at my slaves - they have come to me disheveled and dusty.']"


 Combing one's hair during Ihram

It is Makruh for a woman (or man) in Ihram to aggressively comb their hair - causing excessive amounts of hair to fall out - or to brush un-necessarily. This is because doing so may lead to hair being cut - which is one of the forbidden acts when someone is in Ihram.

As for brushing lightly or scratching one's head, this is permissible. There is a famous saying in the books of Fiqh where they suggest that someone should scratch with the insides of their hands - i.e. softly.

Imam An-Nawawi said, "As for a Muhrim (someone in the state of Ihram), I do not know of any opinion that says he is not permitted to scratch his head. Rather, it is something permissible."

There is a phenomenon amongst some women which works as such: They tie up their head very tightly and do not un-tie it until their Hajj is over. When they are in need of making Wudu', instead of wiping their hair they do wipe over their Hijab instead.

Sheikh Salah As-Sawi, one of the directors at the American Open University, commented that doing this is an example of someone placing a hardship upon themselves, a hardship that the Shari'ah does not require. He said that when a person combs their hair lightly or scratches, the person is not held responsible for the dead hairs that naturally come out.

 The color of clothes a woman in Ihram may wear

It is permissible for the woman to wear any women's clothes she pleases which are not attractive or resemble the clothes of men, or are tight-fitting showing the dimensions of her limbs, or transparent - not concealing what is underneath, or too short - not covering her legs or hands, but instead should be abundant, thick and wide.

Ibn al-Mundhir said, as quoted in al-Mughni:

"There is consensus among the scholars that the woman in Ihram can wear shirts, vests, baggy trousers, Khimars, and leather socks."

She does not have to wear a particular color (such as green) and can instead wear any colors she desires from among those specific to women (such as dark red, green or black). It is also permissible for her to change these colors if she wishes.

 Wearing Jewelry in Ihram

It is permissible for women to wear jewelry while she is in a state of Ihram. It was narrated in Al-Bukhari, that Umm Al-Mu'minin Ayshah used to not consider anything wrong with a Muhrimah wearing jewelry.

In Al-Mughni by Ibn Qudamah, he says, "I heard from Ahmad, who heard from Nafi' that the women (from the household) of Ibn Umar used to wear jewelry while they were in a state of Ihram. Ibn Umar (seeing this) would not forbid them."


Thus, it is apparent from the Madhhab of Imam Ahmad that it is permissible for a woman in Ihram to wear jewelry.

This permissibility of wearing jewelry is also the opinion of the Hanafiyyah and Malikiyyah. They quote as their proof - in addition to the above - the fact that wearing jewelry is an act of adornment and a woman in Hajj is not forbidden from adorning herself.

 Covering the face

A woman in Hajj should not cover her face or wear gloves, just as a male should not cover his head. There is no difference of opinion on this issue, based on the clear statement of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him), "The Muhrimah (a female in Ihram) should not cover her face, nor should she wear gloves."

Having said that, it is permissible for her to cover her face if she fears the gaze of non-Mahram men upon her.

It was narrated that Umm Al-Mu'minin Ayshah said, "The riders would pass by us while we were with the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) in a state of Ihram. When one of them would ride next to us, we would take our Jilbab and cover (coming down with the cloth from our heads) our face. When the rider would pass, we would uncover once again."

Scholars have used this Hadith to show that if a woman is in need of covering her face then it is permissible for her to do so.

However, the Shafi'iyyah set a condition to this covering saying that the Niqab should not touch the women's face. This was also the opinion of Al-Qadi from the Hanabilah.

In actuality, this condition does not have overall agreement from the scholars. Ibn Qudamah said in regards to this condition, "I have not found this condition to be from (Imam) Ahmad, nor is it from the Hadith. In fact, reality contradicts this condition. For verily, the cloth that covers over a women's face, rarely does it remain un-touching to her skin. Had this been a condition (that it should not touch her face) the Prophet (peace be upon him) - would have explained it."

Refuting the claims of those who claimed that the condition of the women's Niqab in Hajj is that it not touch her face, Imam Ash-Shawkani used similar arguments as that of Imam Ibn Qudamah.

And Allah knows best.

 Touching one's spouse intimately or non-intimately

If a male in Ihram touches his wife with desire, or kisses her, then he would be obliged to pay the Fidyah (penalty) - and the same would go for women. This is the opinion of the Hanabilah.

More so, the male is between two situations after touching his wife: either he releases some fluid or not. If he does not release anything, then the penalty for him is that he must slaughter a sheep. If he does release something, then he must slaughter a camel.


As for the women in this situation, then perhaps her situation is that of the males. Ibn Qudamah said, "The women is just like the male in this respect."

The Hanafiyyah and Shafi'iyyah said: It is Wajib for someone who kisses or touches his or her spouse with desire that they pay the Fidyah - which is the slaughtering of a sheep. If they cannot find or afford the sheep, then they should alternatively either feed the poor or fast.

From what the Hanafiyyah and Shafi'iyyah are saying, it seems that the same applies to women if they kiss or touch their husband with desire.



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