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Actions That Nullify Ihraam by Muhammad Al-'Uthaymeen O people! Fear Allaah and honor His symbols as this is an indication of the amount of piety in your hearts. Whoever honors the sacred ordinances of his Lord, then that is better for him in the sight of his Lord – He will expiate from him his sins, raise his rank and save him from all kinds of sufferings. Indeed, from Allaah’s rites are the rituals of Hajj and ‘Umrah; you should therefore honor and respect them, and strive to avoid the acts that nullify these rituals so that you may prosper. O people! You should know that the deeds which nullify the Ihraam (the state of a pilgrim in which he performs Hajj and ‘Umrah, and during which he is prohibited from certain acts that are lawful otherwise) include: Shaving or cutting the hair of the head, or removing it by any other method: A person in the state of Ihraam, man or woman, is not permitted to remove any amount of the hair from his/her head. He/she may scratch his/her head lightly and if some hair falls out unintentionally, he/she will not be held accountable for that. However, if a Muhrim (a person in the state of Ihraam) has some hairs that are irritating his eyes, he/she may take them out with tweezers. Cutting or trimming fingernails: It is permitted, however, to cut a part of the fingernail that is already broken and is causing irritation. Applying perfume: A Muhrim should not apply perfume to his garments or body, nor should he eat or drink aromatic foods (i.e., that which contain strong herbs) and drinks. Yet, applying perfume before entering into the state of Ihraam is a Prophetic tradition to be followed by men and women alike; there is no harm if its smell remains even after donning the Ihraam. Sexual intercourse and whatever leads to it: This includes lustful touching or eye contact, passionate kissing, etc. – a Muhrim is not permitted to do any of these things. Conducting a contract of marriage for one’s self or on behalf of others. Wearing gloves. The kinds of dresses forbidden for men during Ihraam are sewn clothing, cloaks, flannels, vests, socks, Kanaadir (Western-style shoes), Ghutrahs (kinds of head coverings) or caps. Covering the head for men with something that fits on it, such as Ghutrahs and caps, etc. As for umbrellas, tents, roofs of cars, as well as all other things that hang over the head without touching it, there is nothing wrong with them. A man may also wrap his head if it is likely that he may catch a cold were he to leave it uncovered. In this case, however, he would be required to offer an expiation for it in either of the three forms: slaughtering a sheep and distributing the meat among the needy (in Makkah), fasting for three days or feeding six poor persons, each with a quarter of a Saa’ (one Saa’ is approximately three kilograms) of wheat or half a Saa’ of any other kind of grain. It is permissible for a Muhrim to wear a watch and glasses and to fix his garments with pins and he is not required to offer expiation for that, especially when there is a need to do so. Covering the face for women: Muhrim women are not permitted to cover their faces except when non-Mahram men (those who are not related to them and whom they can get married to) pass near them. In this case, a woman may cover her face even if the covering touches her skin. A Muhrim woman may wear whatever kind of garment she wishes (that meets Islaamic criterion), without exposing parts of her body if she is in the presence of men who are not allowed to look at her uncovered. Here are a few issues that I would like to shed some light on: It is permissible for men or women to replace the garments of Ihraam with other garments of a similar nature. For instance, a man may take off his upper or lower garment and replace it with a new one; and the same applies to women. A pilgrim may uproot green and non-green trees or plants, except when he is within the boundaries of the Sacred House, where he is not permitted to dig up trees, grass or any other types of plants. Thus, it is permissible to uproot trees in ‘Arafah, but not in Mina or Muzdalifah, since the former lies outside the boundaries of the Sacred House, while the latter two lie within them. A Muhrim woman is permitted to wear socks and Kanaadir (Western-style shoes) even if she was barefoot when intending to enter into the state of Ihraam. Muhrim men are not permitted to wear Kanaadir or socks but they may wear ordinary shoes, although they may have been barefooted when they intended to assume Ihraam. A woman may make the intention to enter Ihraam during her menstrual period, then bathe herself and apply perfume before actually assuming Ihraam, as is customarily done by people intending Ihraam for ‘Umrah. In the case of Hajj, if she reaches Makkah before sunrise, while being free from the impurity of menstruation, she may do the ‘Umrah then come out ofIhraam and then enter into the state of Ihraam once more for Hajj with everyone else. Conversely, if she becomes pure from menstruation only after sunrise, she should make intention forHajj and in this case she will perform Hajj Qiraan (combining both Hajj and ‘Umrah). A Hajj and ‘Umrah will be counted for her, for when she does Tawaaf and Sa’i, she should intend them for both Hajj and ‘Umrah. Allaah says that which means: “Hajj is (during) well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein (by entering the state of Ihraam), there is (to be for him) no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allaah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allaah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.” (Al Baqarah: 197) Summary The merit of fearing Allaah and glorifying His rituals. Hajj and ‘Umrah are of the rites of Allaah and must be glorified. Prohibitions of Ihraam (state of pilgrim while performing Hajj or ‘Umrah): i. Shaving or cutting hair (and its rulings). ii. Trimming the nails. iii. Wearing perfume. iv. Sexual intercourse (and related issues). v. Marriage. vi. Wearing gloves. vii. Wearing trousers or other tailored clothes for men. viii. Covering the head for men. Women must cover their faces in front of strange, non-related men. Issues related to Ihraam.