Praise be to Allah.
Hajj: The jihad of Muslim women
Congratulations on your decision to go to Makkah to perform the obligatory duty of Hajj, this obligation which many Muslim women do not pay enough attention to.
Some women are ignorant of the fact that Hajj is obligatory for them; some know that but they procrastinate until death takes them unaware and they have failed to go for Hajj. Some of them do not understand any of the rituals so they do things that are haram and may even invalidate their Hajj without realizing. Allah is the One Whose help we seek.
Hajj is a duty that Allah has enjoined upon His slaves, it is the fifth pillar of Islam and it is the jihad of women, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her): “Your jihad is Hajj.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
Hajj rules for women
There follows some advice and the rulings that apply specifically to women who want to do Hajj. These are things that will help to make your Hajj acceptable, and an accepted Hajj, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “brings no less a reward than Paradise.” (Agreed upon)
- Sincerity towards Allah is a condition of any act of worship, including Hajj, being valid and acceptable. So be sincere towards Allah in your Hajj and beware of showing off, for showing off invalidates good deeds and brings punishment.
- Following the Sunnah and doing actions in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the second condition of actions being valid and acceptable, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours, will have it rejected.” Narrated by Muslim. This means that you should learn the rulings of Hajj according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), with the help of useful books which are based on sahih evidence from the Quran and Sunnah.
- Beware of major and minor shirk (association of others with Allah), and of sin in all its forms. Major shirk means that a person goes beyond the pale of Islam, his good deeds are rendered invalid and he is exposed to punishment. Minor shirk means that a person’s good deeds are rendered invalid and he is exposed to punishment. Sin means that he is exposed to punishment.
- It is not permissible for a woman to travel for Hajj or for any other purpose without a mahram, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No woman should travel without a mahram.” Agreed upon. The mahram is the husband or any man whom a woman is forever forbidden to marry because of blood ties or rada'ah (ties that result from breastfeeding) or ties through marriage. This is one of the conditions of Hajj being obligatory for women. If a woman does not have a mahram to travel with her, then she does not have to do Hajj.
- A woman may enter ihram in whatever clothes she likes, black or any other colour, so long as she avoids wanton display (tabarruj) or clothes of fame and vanity such as tight, see-through, short, thin or decorated clothes. Women must also be careful to avoid clothes that resemble the clothes of men or the kuffar. Hence we know that there is no evidence for the practice of some of the common folk of choosing a specific colour for women to wear in ihram, such as green or white; rather this is a kind of bid’ah (innovation).
- After forming the intention for ihram, it is haram for the muhrimah (woman in ihram) to put on any kind of perfume , whether on the body or clothes.
- It is haram for the muhrimah to remove any hair from her head or body by any means, and to clip the nails.
- It is haram for the muhrimah to wear the burqa’ or niqab (kinds of face-veils), and to wear gloves, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Women (during Hajj) should not wear niqab or gloves.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari.
- The muhrimah should not uncover her face or hands in front of non-mahram men using the excuse that the niqab and gloves are among the things that are forbidden in ihram, because they can cover their faces and hands with anything such as their clothes, scarves, etc. Umm al-Muminin ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in ihram. When they came alongside us we would lower our jilbabs from our heads over our faces, and when they had passed by we would uncover them.” Narrated by Abu Dawud and classed as sahih by al-Albani in Hijab al-Mar-ah al-Muslimah.
- Some women, when they enter ihram, put something like a turban or clips on their heads, so that no part of the khimar or jilbab will cover their faces. This is going to trouble for which there is no need, because there is nothing wrong with the cover touching the face of the muhrimah.
- It is permissible for the muhrimah to wear a shirt, pants, socks on the feet, gold bangles and rings, watches, etc, but she should cover her adornments in front of non-mahram men during Hajj and at other times.
- Some women, if they pass the miqat with the intention of doing Hajj or ‘Umrah and happen to be menstruating, do not enter ihram, thinking that it is a condition of ihram to be free of menstruation. So they pass the miqat without entering ihram. This is an obvious mistake, because menstruation does not mean that a woman cannot enter ihram. So a menstruating woman should enter ihram and do everything that other pilgrims do, apart from tawaf around the Ka’bah. She should delay tawaf until she becomes pure (i.e., until her period ends). If she delays ihram and passes the miqat without entering ihram, then she has to go back and enter ihram from the miqat; if she does not go back then she has to offer a sacrifice because she failed to do something that was obligatory upon her.
- If a woman fears that she may not be able to complete the rituals of Hajj, she may stipulate a condition when entering ihram by saying, “If I am prevented (from completing Hajj), then I will exit ihram at the point at which I am prevented.” Then if something happens to prevent her from completing Hajj, she will exit ihram and there will be no blame on her.
- Remember the actions of Hajj:
- When the day of al-Tarwiyah comes, which is the eighth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, do ghusl and enter ihram, and recite the Talbiyah, saying, “Labbayka Allahumma labbayk , labbayka la sharika laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wa’l-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, la sharika lak (Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner).”
- Go out to Mina , and pray there Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Isha and Fajr, shortening the four-rak’ah prayers to two rak’ahs without joining them.
- When the sun rises on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, go to ‘Arafah , and pray Zuhr and ‘Asr there, shortened and joined at the time of Zuhr. Stay in ‘Arafah making du’a, remembering Allah, beseeching Allah and repenting, until sunset.
- When the sun sets on the ninth day, go from ‘Arafah to Muzdalifah, and pray there Maghrib and ‘Isha’, shortened and joined. Stay there until Fajr prayer, and strive hard after Fajr in dhikr, du’a and conversing with Allah, until it has become very light.
- Set out from Muzdalifah to Mina before the sun rises on the day of ‘Eid. When you reach Mina, do the following:
- Stone Jamrat al-‘Aqabah with seven pebbles, and say Takbir (“Allahu akbar”) with each throw.
- Slaughter the hadiy (sacrifice) after the sun has risen.
- Cut a fingertip’s length from each side of your hair (approximately two centimeters).
- Go back to Makkah and do tawaf al-ifadah , and do the sa’i of Hajj between al-Safa and al-Marwah, if you are doing tamattu’, or if you are doing ifrad or qiran but you did not do sa’i after the tawaf of arrival.
- Stone the Jamarat on the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, after the sun has passed its zenith, if you want to delay departure; or on the 11th and 12th only if you want to leave sooner. You must also stay in Mina on those nights.
- If you want to go back to your country, then do the farewell tawaf; this will conclude the actions of Hajj.
- Women should not recite the Talbiyah out loud, rather they should say it quietly so that only they and the women next to them can hear it and so that non-mahram men cannot hear it, lest that cause fitnah (temptation) and attract attention. The time for reciting the Talbiyah starts from after entering ihram for Hajj and lasts until one stones the Jamrat al-‘Aqabah on the Day of Sacrifice.
- If a woman’s period begins after she has done tawaf and before she does sa’i, she should complete the rest of the rituals and do sa’i even if she is menstruating, because taharah (purity) is not essential for sa’i.
- It is permissible for a woman to use pills to delay menstruation to enable her to perform the rituals of Hajj, subject to the condition that this will not cause her harm.
- Beware of crowding with men in all the rituals of Hajj, especially during tawaf and at the Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner, during sa’i and when stoning the Jamarat. Choose times when there is less crowding. Umm al-Muminin ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to do tawaf in an area away from the men, and she did not touch the Black Stone or the Yemeni Corner if there was crowding.
- Women do not have to walk quickly (raml) during tawaf or jog (rakd) during sa’i. Raml means walking quickly in the first three circuits of tawaf, and rakd means jogging between the two green markers in every circuit of sa’i. These actions are Sunnah for men only.
- Beware of this small book which contains innovated du’as, such as a specific du’a for each circuit of tawaf and sa’i for which there is no evidence from the Quran and Sunnah. It is prescribed to recite dua' during tawaf and sa’i however one wishes, for the best in this world and in the Hereafter. If the du’a is one that is narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), that is even better.
- A woman who is menstruating can read books of du'a' and dhikr that are prescribed in shari’ah, even if they contain verses of Quran. It is also permissible for her to recite Quran without touching the Mus-haf.
- Beware of uncovering any part of your body, especially in places where men could see you, such as public wudu areas. Some women do not care about men being close to such areas and they uncover during wudu things that it is not permissible to uncover, such as the face, forearms and calves. They may even take off their headcovers, thus uncovering their heads and necks. All of that is haram and is not permissible, because it causes a great deal of fitnah (temptation) to them and to men.
- It is permissible for women to leave Muzdalifah before dawn , because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) allowed some women, especially those who were weak, to leave Muzdalifah after the moon had set at the end of the night. That was so that they could stone Jamarat al-‘Aqabah before it became crowded. In al-Sahihayn it is narrated from ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that Sawdah (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on the night of Muzdalifah for permission to leave before it became too crowded, because she was a heavy woman, and he gave her permission.
- It is permissible to delay stoning the Jamrah until the night, if the woman’s guardian thinks that the crowding is too great around Jamrat al-‘Aqabah and that this may pose a danger to the women who are with him. So it is permissible to delay their stoning of the Jamrah until the crowding is less or has stopped, and there is nothing wrong with them doing that.
- Beware of the following point: it is not permissible for a woman to allow her husband to have intercourse with her or to be intimate with her so long as she has not yet exited ihram completely. This exiting ihram is achieved when three things take place:
- Stoning Jamarat al-‘Aqabah with seven pebbles.
- Cutting the length of a fingertip from all ends of the hair, which is approximately 2 centimeters.
- Doing the tawaf of Hajj (tawaf al-ifadah).
Once a woman has done these three things it is permissible to do all the things that were forbidden to her during ihram, including intercourse. If she has only done two of them then it is permissible for her to do anything apart from intercourse.
- It is not permissible for a woman to show her hair to non-mahram men whilst she is cutting the ends of her hair, as many women do at the Mas’a (place of sa’i), because the hair is ‘awrah and it is not permissible to show it to any non-mahram men.
- Beware of sleeping in front of men. This is what we see many women doing who do Hajj with their families without a tent or anything to conceal them from the eyes of men, so they sleep in the streets or on the sidewalks, and under elevated bridges, and in Masjid al-Khif, amongst men or close to men. This is one of the greatest evils which a stop must be put to.
- Women who are menstruating or bleeding following childbirth do not have to do the farewell tawaf. This is one of the allowances that shari’ah makes to women. Women who are menstruating can go back to their families even if they have not done the farewell tawaf, so give thanks to Allah for this allowance and blessing.
And Allah knows best.