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11 March 2024
The Prohibitions of Ihram for Men and Women


Embarking on the pilgrimage of Hajj or Umrah is a profound spiritual journey for Muslims, marked by rituals and acts of devotion. One crucial aspect of this pilgrimage is the state of Ihram, a sacred state of ritual purity and consecration. During Ihram, pilgrims are required to adhere to specific rules and prohibitions, ensuring their focus remains solely on worship and spiritual reflection. For both men and women, there are forbidden acts that must be strictly avoided during Ihram, serving as reminders of the sacredness and sanctity of this journey.

Ihram: A State of Consecration
Before delving into the forbidden acts during Ihram, it's essential to understand the significance of this state. Ihram is not merely a set of clothing worn during the pilgrimage; it represents a state of consecration and devotion. Upon entering Ihram, pilgrims enter a sacred state where certain actions and behaviors are prohibited to maintain spiritual purity and focus.

Prohibitions of Ihram

When a Muslim enters the state of ihram, whether for Hajj or Umrah, there are prohibitions imposed upon him as long as he remains in the state of consecration. Scholars refer to these prohibitions as "Prohibitions of Ihram," which are divided into three categories:

The first category includes prohibitions of ihram for both men and women, which apply to both genders. The second category includes prohibitions of ihram specifically for men. The third and final category includes prohibitions of ihram specifically for women.

Prohibitions of Ihram for Men and Women

There are certain actions considered prohibitions of ihram for both men and women alike, and it is imperative for Muslims to abstain from performing them. Among the prohibitions of ihram for both genders are:

  • Shaving or cutting hair: This is one of the most well-known prohibitions of ihram for both men and women. It is forbidden for both men and women to shave or cut any hair on their bodies, including the hair on the head, face, and body.
  • Trimming nails: Trimming nails is also prohibited for both men and women during ihram. Therefore, it is advised to trim the nails before entering ihram and performing the rituals of Hajj or Umrah.
  • Using perfume on clothes or body: Using perfume or fragrances, whether on clothes or on the body, is considered among the prohibitions of ihram. However, if a Muslim uses perfume before entering ihram and its scent remains on their body, it is not considered a violation of ihram.
  • Marriage: It is not permissible for the one in ihram to get married, to contract marriage for someone else, or to propose marriage until they have completed their ihram. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said in a hadith narrated by Muslim: "The one in ihram does not marry, nor is he married to, nor does he propose."
  • Sexual intercourse: Sexual intercourse is considered one of the greatest prohibitions of ihram for both men and women. It is the only prohibition considered among the violations of Hajj, as stated in the Quran: "Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj." (Quran, Al-Baqarah: 197).
  • Hunting: It is not permissible to hunt any wild animals that are edible, such as rabbits, deer, and others. Allah says in Surah Al-Ma'idah: "Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food as provision for you and for travelers, but forbidden to you is game from the land as long as you are in the state of ihram." (Quran, Al-Ma'idah: 96). It is also not permissible for the person in ihram to participate in any form of hunting, even by indicating. Hunting is considered a prohibition of ihram for both men and women because it prohibits any participation or engagement in any form of hunting and the killing of animals, even for consumption.

Prohibited Acts for Men During Ihram
For men in Ihram, there are several prohibited actions that they must be mindful of throughout their pilgrimage journey:

  • Wearing stitched clothing: Men must also refrain from wearing any stitched clothing during Ihram. Instead, they wear two white, seamless clothes, symbolizing equality and simplicity. Stitched clothing, such as shirts, trousers, or socks, is considered a distraction from the spiritual focus of the pilgrimage.
  • Tightly covering the head: Unlike other times, men are forbidden from covering their heads with anything during Ihram. This includes hats, caps, or turbans. However, it is permissible for men to cover their heads with a loose-fitting covering such as a sunshade,

Prohibited Acts for Women During Ihram
While many of the prohibitions during Ihram are similar for both men and women, there are some specific guidelines for women:

  • Covering the face: Women are not required to uncover their faces during Ihram. However, they are prohibited from wearing a niqab (face veil) or burqa that covers the face. The hijab (headscarf) should be worn loosely, ensuring modesty while allowing the face to remain visible.
  • Wearing perfume or makeup: Women in Ihram are forbidden from wearing perfume or applying makeup. Adorning oneself with cosmetics or fragrances contradicts the spirit of simplicity and purity that Ihram embodies.
  • Covering the hands and face during prayer: While in regular circumstances, women are encouraged to cover their hands and face during prayer, during Ihram, they should refrain from doing so. This is to maintain consistency with the principle of modesty without unnecessary embellishments.

By abstaining from these prohibited acts and embracing the simplicity and spirituality of Ihram, pilgrims can fully immerse themselves in the profound experience of Hajj or Umrah. It is through these restrictions and observances that the true essence of the pilgrimage journey is realized, leading to spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Obligations of Ihram for Men and Women
Obligations of ihram for men and women are actions that pilgrims must perform, and not performing them does not invalidate their ihram, but whoever neglects any of them or commits a prohibited act must offer compensation. Here are some of the obligations of ihram:

  • Entering ihram from the designated miqat: Pilgrims must enter ihram from the designated miqat according to their geographical location. If a pilgrim passes the miqat and then returns to enter ihram, he is not required to offer expiation, but he must refrain from entering ihram after passing the miqat. If he enters ihram before the miqat, he commits a disliked act and must offer a sacrifice.
  • Talbiyah: Pilgrims must recite the Talbiyah, which is saying "Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk, Labbayka Laa Shareeka Laka Labbayk, Innal-Hamda Wan-Ni'mata Laka Wal-Mulk, Laa Shareeka Lak." This is the Talbiyah of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, as narrated by Imam Malik from Nafi' from Ibn 'Umar. It is recommended for men to raise their voices while reciting the Talbiyah, but not for women.

Pre-Ihram Tips

Ihram garments are essential items for ihram, as wearing these garments marks the beginning of the ihram period, whether one intends to perform Hajj or Umrah. Therefore, it is necessary to refrain from the prohibitions of ihram for both men and women alike. Some important tips for individuals preparing to perform Hajj or Umrah include:

  • Shaving the head: It is recommended to shave the head and enter ihram with appropriate hair length to avoid the necessity of shaving or shortening the hair during the ihram period.
  • Trimming nails: It is recommended to trim the nails before ihram to avoid the need to trim them during the ihram period, as trimming nails is considered a prohibition of ihram for both men and women.
  • Performing ablution: It is recommended that the pilgrim perform ablution before wearing ihram garments to maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Wearing ihram garments.
  • Preparing a small bag with necessary medications.
  • Using a sunshade, especially when performing Hajj, to avoid heatstroke.
  • Paying attention to personal hygiene and taking care of food and drink cleanliness.
  • Avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun and staying away from crowded places as much as possible.
  • Taking sufficient rest and sleep, as some rituals require physical effort.
  • Wearing loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothes.
  • Increasing fluid intake on hot days, especially on the Day of Arafah.
  • Consulting a doctor if experiencing any health symptoms.

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