Definition of Ihram
Ihram literal meaning:
Ihram in the context of Shari‘ah:
The intention to start the religious rites and at the same time perform any of the prescribed acts of worship of Hajj.
Entering into the state of Ihram is not realized except after making such a Niyya (intention); because from the moment he begins his journey from his country he has the intention of Hajj or ‘Umrah, and he does not enter into the state of Ihram just by discarding sewn clothes or making the Talbiyah without intending to start performing the rituals. The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Actions are but by intentions, and each person will have that which he intended.”
[ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
Recommended Acts During Ihram
On the authority of Kharijah ibn Zaid ibn Tha’bit, on the authority of his father who said he saw the Prophet ﷺ
“remove his clothes and take a bath before entering into ihram. ”
[ Source: At-Tirmidhi.]
2- Cleaning oneself
This is done by removing the armpit and pubic hair, and trimming the moustache and finger nails.
3- Using perfume
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said;
“I used to perfume the Messenger of Allah ﷺ for the purpose of Ihram at the time he intended it.”
[ Agreed upon.]
But the Ihram clothes are not to be perfumed due to the statement of the Messenger ﷺ:
“Do not put on clothes to which saffron or wars[ Al-Wars; a yellow plant with a pleasant smell, used for dyeing.] have been applied.”
[ Agreed upon.]
4- Removal of all fitted garments (al-makheet)[ Al-Makheet: Any tailored clothing used to cover any part of the body or the entire body, e.g. shirt, trousers etc.], for the males, before Ihram[ After assuming Ihram it is obligatory for a male pilgrim to remove any fitted clothing, because it is one of the forbidden acts of Ihram.], and wearing a white loincloth,
This is due to the statement of the Prophet ﷺ:
“Anyone of you who intends to perform Hajj or ‘Umrah should assume Ihram in a loin cloth and robe, and a pair of sandals. If he cannot find sandals, he should put on a pair of khuff (leather socks), but he must cut them to the ankles.”
[ Source: Ahmad.]
As for a woman, she can assume Ihram with whatever clothes she prefers. There is no prescribed colour for her Ihram, but she must avoid resembling men and wearing adornments; and she is also not to wear the veil or gloves[ Gloves: Worn by women to cover their hands.] during Ihram.
But when she is in the presence of men who are strangers (non-Mahram), she must cover her face by pulling some of her clothes on the top of her head over her face. This was proven by the hadeeth that was narrated by Aisha when she said:
“Riders would pass us while we were with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and we were in the state of Ihram, and when they came close enough to us, we would draw our outer cloak from (the top of) our heads over our faces. When they had passed by, we would uncover our faces again.”
[ Source: Abu Dawud.]
Forbidden Acts of Al-Ihram
1- Covering the head, for the males, with a close fitting object
This is in accordance with the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar t that a man said:
“O Messenger of Allah, what does a Muhrim wear?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ answered: “Do not wear shirts, Turbans, trousers[ It is also known as bantaal (meaning: trousers).] or hooded cloaks[ Burnus (hooded cloak): every piece of cloth that has a hood joined to it.].”
[ Agreed upon.]
And he ﷺ said concerning a Muhrim who had died:
“Do not cover his head[ Do not cover his head (meaning): Do not place a cover (i.e. head cover) over him.] because he will be raised on the day of Resurrection saying the Talbiyah.”
[ Source: Bukhari.]
However, if this covering were not to touch the head e.g. by using an umbrella (sun shade), tent, roof of a building or car, then there is no sin on him whatsoever.
2- Wearing of fitted garments by males
What is meant by fitted garments: Any material sewn to fit the figure of the whole body or part of it, e.g. thobe, trousers, shirt, khuffs (leather socks), woollen socks, gloves, etc. This is due to the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar mentioned above,
“Do not wear shirts, turbans, trousers, hooded cloaks or khuffs (leather socks).”
[ Agreed upon.]
If the person intending Ihram does not find a loin cloth, then he can put on trousers until he finds one[ Eg. If a person forgets his Ihram attires in his travelling bag in the plane or ship, and does not have a loincloth with him, he should remove his clothes and assume Ihram in his trousers, and wrap his shirt around his body in the manner of a robe; he continues like this until he reaches the port and so finds his Ihram attire, which he should then put on as prescribed. The person commits no sin if he does this.]. Furthermore, if he does not have a pair of sandals he can put on khuffs (leather socks). This is in accordance with the statement of the Prophet ﷺ: “And if he cannot find sandals, he should put on khuffs (leather socks), but he must cut them to (be below) the ankles.” [ Ibn Khuzaimah.]
3- Killing or hunting land game
This is due to the Words of Allah the Exalted:
“Kill not the game while you are in a state of Ihram for Hajj.”
( Al-Maidah: 95)
i.e. you are in a state of Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umrah. And also His statement:
“But forbidden is land game as long as you are in the state of Ihram.”
. What is meant by land game is every wild animal or bird that is permissible for consumption.
However, domestic animals are not regarded as game. Thus, it is permissible for the Muhrim to slaughter chickens, livestock etc. As for sea animals, they are permissible. This is due to the statement of Allah the Exalted:
“Lawful to you is water game and its use for food.”
As for animals that are forbidden to be eaten such as snakes, scorpions etc, their killing is permissible. It is permissible for the Muhrim to kill any animal that is harmful, if he cannot defend himself by other than killing it.
4- Shaving, trimming or plucking the hair
Allah the Most High said:
“And do not shave your heads until the Hady reaches the place of sacrifice.”
This ruling is applicable to any hair on the body, being deduced analogically from the rule relating to the hair on the head.
5-Clipping the nails
Both the fingers and toes nails.
6- Putting perfume on the body and clothes
It is forbidden for the Muhrim to perfume his body and clothes after assuming Ihram, or for him to deliberately smell it. This is due to the hadeeth by Ibn Umar t mentioned above: “... and do not put on any clothing touched with saffron and al-wars [ Al-Wars: A yellow, fragranced plant used in dyeing..]” [ Agreed upon.] and also due to the hadeeth about a Muhrim who had died and the Prophet ﷺ. said,
“And do not use fragrant oils[ Tahannatuu: Usage of fragrant oils; that which is used to scent the shroud of a dead body.] on him.”
[ Source: Bukhari.]
7- Marriage contract
This is as elicited from the hadeeth of ‘Uthman t where the Messenger of Allah said:
“A person in a state of Ihram must neither marry himself, nor arrange the marriage of another one, nor should he make the proposal of marriage.”
[ Source: Muslim.]
8- Sexual Intercourse
It is the physical act of intercourse through the private part. This is according to the statement by Allah the Most High:
“So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein by assuming Ihram, then he should not have ar-rafath (sexual relations).”
Ibn Abbas t said: It (ar-rafath) is sexual intercourse, and it is the gravest and it is the gravest of all prohibitions during Ihram.
9- Foreplay in areas other than the private parts
For example kissing and caressing; as they are means leading to sexual intercourse, which is forbidden.
Forbidden acts during Ihram for females A woman is like a man with regards to the forbidden acts during Ihram, but differs in the following; 1- She wears tailored or fitted garments 2- She covers her head 3- She does not put on face veils[ Veil: What a woman uses to cover her face.] and gloves[ Al-Qafaaz (glove): That which is worn on the hands.]; this is as said by the Prophet ﷺ; “A woman assuming Ihram must neither wear the veil nor gloves.” [ Source: Bukhari.] A woman covers her face while in the presence of strange men (non-mahram), not with the veil but by drawing the cloth from her head over it to cover it, and it is permissible for her to be adorned with gold.