Dhul Hijjah · Hajj · Islamic Months

The Muslim Woman’s Hajj


Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent His Messenger, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to all mankind. The Islamic obligations, rewards and punishment apply to men and women alike. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (what means):

“Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” [An-Nahl 16:97]

The Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Women are the twin halves of men.” [Ahmad, Abu Daw’oud and At-Tirmidhi (Ibn Al-Qattaan: Saheeh)]

Despite the equality of men and women in Shari‘ah rulings, there are some rulings that are specified for women out of mercy towards them because their nature is different from that of men.

Consequently, scholars stated the following rule of Fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence]: “Every text that addresses men also addresses women unless an exception is made in the Shari’ah.” Some of these exceptions are as follows:

Going out of home for the divorced woman who is still in her ‘Iddah [waiting period]:

If the divorce is revocable, then, the rulings which apply to the wife apply to the woman in her waiting period. If her divorcee allows her to go out for Hajj, she may do so in the company of a Mahram [non-marriageable male]. If the waiting period is for the death of the husband, then, she is not allowed to go out because staying at home is one of the obligations of the waiting period for the widow. If the waiting period is for three pronouncements of divorce, then, it is permissible for the divorced woman to go out for Hajj as long as there is a Mahram to accompany her, since there is no evidence to forbid her from doing so.

A Mahram to accompany the woman:

The availability of a Mahram is a condition for the obligation of Hajj upon a woman. If there is no Mahram available, a woman is considered unable to perform Hajj. The Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “A woman should not travel except in the company of a Mahram.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] If a woman performs Hajj without the company of a Mahram, her Hajj would be valid, but she commits a sin for traveling without a Mahram. The men who are considered Mahrams for the woman are as follows:

1. Her husband

2. Those who are forbidden forever to marry her because of blood relations. They are seven: father, son, brother, paternal uncle, brother’s son, sister’s son and maternal uncle.

3. Those who are forbidden to marry her because of suckling relationship and they are the same seven as those who are forbidden to marry her due to blood relations

4. Those who are forbidden to marry her because of a marriage relationship: father-in-law, stepson, son-in-law, and step-father

As for the first three, it is forbidden for them to marry her once the marriage contract is concluded. As to the stepfather, it becomes forbidden for her stepfather to marry her only when he has consummated the marriage with her mother.

[Non-Mahrams: Precautions to Take]

The conditions that must be found in the Mahram are as follows: he must be Muslim, sane and having already reached puberty.

If the woman is able to perform Hajj and has a Mahram other than her husband, she should seek the permission of her husband. If he gives her the permission, this would be fine. Otherwise, there should be a consideration for the reason of not giving her the permission. If he does not give her the permission to travel for performing Hajj on the basis of inconsiderable reason, then, it is permissible for her to perform Hajj without his permission. If he does not give her the permission to travel for performing Hajj on the basis of a considerable reason, then, she should obey him and postpone her Hajj to the next year. Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah raheemullah said,

“It is not permissible for the husband to prevent his wife from performing the obligatory Hajj in the company of her Mahram. She should perform Hajj even if he does not give her permission. Many scholars or rather most of them even see that the financial maintenance of the wife is obligatory upon the husband during the period of performing Hajj.”

Ihraam [sacral state] of the woman is like that of the man with exception to clothes:

A woman should assume Ihraam like a man with the exception of Ihraam garments. She is permitted to wear whatever clothes she likes as long as they meet the conditions of Hijab. It is impermissible for her to wear Niqaab [face cover], Burqa’ or gloves. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “A woman in the state of Ihraam should not wear Niqaab or gloves.” [Al-Bukhari]

It is permissible for her to let the Khimaar down over her face and cover her hands with her clothes if there are non-Mahram (marriageable) men around her.

[How Women can cover their Faces on Hajj – Some Ideas]

Talbiyah for women:

Women should say Talbiyah in a low voice, unlike men. Therefore, scholars unanimously state that it is impermissible for a woman to raise her voice with Talbiyah in the presence of men.

Ramal and Idhtibaa’: 

Ramal is to speed up one’s pace with small steps. It takes place during Tawaaf around the Ka’abah. Idhtibaa’ is to reveal the right shoulder by putting the middle of the upper garment under the right armpit and tying its ends over the left shoulder.

These rulings do not apply to women, unlike men. A woman should not do Ramal, Idhtibaa’ or run during Sa‘y between As-Safa and Al-Marwa. ‘Aa’ishah radhiAllahu ‘anha  said, 

“O women, you do not have to do Ramal around the Ka’abah. You have a good example in us.” [Al-Bayhaqi]

Shortening hair:

A woman should shorten the length of a fingertip from her hair. Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “It is not obligatory upon women to shave their hair (after ending Ihraam), rather, it is obligatory upon them to shorten the hair.” [Abu Dawood (Al-Albaani: Saheeh)]

If the woman menstruates and fears missing Hajj:

When the woman assumes Ihraam having the intention to perform Tamattu’ Hajj and makes Talbiyah with ‘Umrah, then she menstruates before making Tawaaf and fears missing Hajj; she should change her intention of Ihraam to become Qiraan Hajj. She should stay at ‘Arafah and do all rituals but she should not make Tawaaf until she becomes purified. The evidence for this ruling is stated in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah radhiAllahu ‘anha that she assumed Ihraam to perform ‘Umrah and she menstruated before making Tawaaf. So, she did all the rituals after having assumed Ihraam to perform Hajj. On the day of leaving Mina after completing the rituals, the Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to her: “Your Tawaaf suffices for Hajj and Umrah.” [Muslim] This ruling applies to everyone who fears missing Hajj by those who intend to perform Tamattu’ Hajj. For example, if a man assumes his Ihraam to perform ‘Umrah first and then he suffers an illness that prevents him from making Tawaaf and he fears missing the staying at ‘Arafah, then he should change his intention to performing Qiraan Hajj. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars.

If a woman menstruates and does not become pure until she fears missing the company:

In principle the menstruating woman should not make Tawaaf until she becomes pure, for the Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to ‘Aa’ishah radhiAllahu ‘anha when she was menstruating:

“Do every ritual that the pilgrim does with exception to making Tawaaf around the House.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

However, if she has to make Tawaaf, for example, lest she should miss the company, some scholars including Ibn Taymiyyah are of the opinion that it is permissible for her to make Tawaaf because of necessity.

It is worthy to note that the Tawaaf here means Tawaaf Al-Ifaadhah. Other kinds of Tawaaf, such as Arrival Tawaaf and Farewell Tawaaf, there is no necessity to perform them and the menstruating woman has a concession not to perform them.

Slightly modified. Originally published at islamweb.net.

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