A Woman's Guide to Hajj Part I

All praise is due to Allaah. We praise Him, seek His help, and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evil of our souls, and the adverse consequences of our deeds. Whoever Allaah guides, there is none that can misguide him. And whoever He misguides, then none can guide him aright.

I bear witness that there is no deity that is worthy of worship except for Allaah; He is alone, having no partners. And I bear witness and testify that Muhammad - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - is His perfect worshipper and messenger.

The goal of this term paper was to give the Muslim woman a chance to see those Fiqh rulings that are specific to her in Hajj - since many a time her rulings are lost in the general discussion of how to perform Hajj. In the end one should have a general idea of those things that a woman differs in Hajj from men. They should be able to recognize differences in ritual worship between the women and men. And they - in sha' Allah ta'ala - should get a clear understanding of issues that are commonly differed upon.

After having been given the opportunity - alhamdullilah - to attend Hajj for a few years, the subject that came to mind to write about for this course of Fiqh Al-Kitaab was Sunnah was that of women in Hajj. Because of the lack of experience people, not specifically from North America, have with the rites of Hajj, I wanted to give the Muslim woman a chance to look specifically at those things which she needs to focus on and understand.
With the intention of writing a term paper that would elucidate the Fiqh rulings specific to women in Hajj, I went about organizing the topics under three chapters, the first dealing with Ihraam, and the second with ritual differences between the men and women.

In conclusion, all praise is due to Allah, subhaanahu wa ta'ala. All goodness is from Him - Jalla wa a'ala - and no matter how much we praise Allah it would not equal the blessings that He - subhaanahu wa ta'ala - bestowed upon us.

I thank the American Open University, with their diligent work in helping to carry the message of Islam to homes all across the United States and abroad, for giving me the chance to study this topic and benefit from it's contents.

And with special mention, I must thank my instructor Dr. Houcine Chouat who responded favorably to the idea of this essay being written in English, instead of the standard Arabic. May Allaah ta'ala reward him, and the entire administration at the American Open University, with the best of reward and may they find safety on a Day when no wealth or children will avail, only those that came with a sound heart.
And our final prayer is that to Allaah belongs all praise.

Muhammad Alshareef
Shawwaal, 1422

Chapter One: Ihraam

Should a woman shower upon entering the Meeqaat

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

Imam Muslim relates in his Saheeh that from Aisha - radi Allahu `anha - that she said, "Asmaa' bint `Umays had nifaas after giving birth to Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr. This happened at Ash-Shajarah (a place near the Meeqat outside of Madinah). So Allah's Messenger - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - directed that she should bathe and begin the tahleel."

In this regard of showering before Ihraam, the menstruating woman is in the same ruling as one who finds herself in Nifaas. Rasul Allah - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - said, "If the Menstruating woman and the one in Nifaas enter the time they should bathe and enter into Ihraam and complete all the rituals (like others) except Tawaf of the (Ka'bah)."


Abu Dawood and others narrated that Ibn Abbas - radi Allahu `anhu - asked Abu Ayyoob Al-Ansaari, "While he was in a state of Ihraam, how did Rasul Allah - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - wash his head?" Abu Ayyoob (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 - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - wash."
This narration is used by the scholars as proof that it is permissible for a male or female in Ihraam 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 (Janaabah), 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-Shaafi'ee said - after narrating this incident about Abu Ayyoob Al-Ansaari, "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 Ihraam and busy with the actions of Hajj. In fact, to bathe during Ihraam is simply an issue of permissibility, but there is no one that says that it is recommended (Mustahab). To some scholars, it is more recommended to remain dusty and disheveled.

Imam An-Nawawee said, "It is more desirable that the pilgrim remain dusty and disheveled. The proof of this is the statement of Allah ta'ala [Then let them end their untidiness...] (22/29) and the statement of Rasul Allah - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam: [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 Ihraam

It is Makrooh for a woman (or man) in Ihraam 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 Ihraam.

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-Nawawee said, "As for a Muhrim (someone in the state of Ihraam), 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 hijaab instead.

Shaykh Salah As-Saawee, 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 Ihraam 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 Ihraam can wear shirts, vests, baggy trousers, khimaars, 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 Ihraam

It is permissible for women to wear jewelry while she is in a state of Ihraam. It was narrated in Al-Bukhaari, that Umm Al-Mu'mineen Aisha - radi Allahu 'anha - used to not consider anything wrong with a Muhrimah wearing jewelry.

In Al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, he says, "I heard from Ahmad, who heard from Naafi' that the women (from the household) of Ibn Umar used to wear jewelry while they were in a state of Ihraam. 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 Ihraam to wear jewelry.

This permissibility of wearing jewelry is also the opinion of the Hanafiyyah and Maalikiyyah. 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 Rasul Allah - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, "The Muhrimah (a female in Ihraam) 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'mineen Aisha - radi Allahu 'anha - said, "The riders would pass by us while we were with Rasul Allah - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - in a state of Ihraam. When one of them would ride next to us, we would take our Jilbaab 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 hadeeth to show that if a woman is in need of covering her face then it is permissible for her to do so.

However, the Shaafi'iyyah set a condition to this covering saying that the Niqaab should not touch the women's face. This was also the opinion of Al-Qaadee from the Hanaabilah.

In actuality, this condition does not have overall agreement from the scholars. Ibn Qudaamah 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 - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - would have explained it."

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

And Allah knows best.