Al-Baqarah · Juz 2 · Qur'an Tafseer

Prohibitions during Hajj


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 197 (Part 1)

In the previous ayah we learned about the command to complete the ‘Umrah and Hajj after one has entered into the state of ihraam. We also learned some of the ways in which one can offer a fidyah [ransom] in case one is prevented from completing the ritual.

Ayah 197 stresses upon the etiquette of Hajj and makes it necessary for everyone in the state of Ihraam to strictly abstain from three things: rafath, fusooq and jidaal.


Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala begins the address by saying, “Hajj is (during) well-known months.” This ayah indicates that ihraam for Hajj only occurs during the months of Hajj. This indicates that Hajj is not allowed before that, just as the prayer has a fixed time (before which one’s prayer is not accepted).

[Praying before Athaan]

Ash-Shafi’i recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “No person should assume ihram for Hajj before the months of the Hajj, for Allah said: “Hajj is (during) well-known months.”

In a hadeeth Jabir narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

لَا يَنْبَغِي لِأَحَدٍ أَنْ يُحْرِمَ بِالْحَجِّ إِلَّا فِي أَشْهُرِ الْحَج

“No one should assume ihram for Hajj, except in the months of Hajj.”

What are the days of Hajj?

Al-Bukhari said that Ibn ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that these are Shawwal, Thul-Qa’dah and the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah.

Prohibitions during Hajj

So whosoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein (by entering the state of ihraam),” the scholars explain that the word farada [فَرَضَ] or intends indicates that Hajj is a requirement and an obligation. Intention, here, also means assuming ihraam for Hajj, for he who assumes ihraam must perform Hajj. Then must stay away from certain things, “…there is (to be for him) no sexual relations, and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj.”

The word rafatha [رَفَثَ] encompasses everything that might lead to sexual intercourse, such as embracing, kissing and talking to women about similar subjects. Ibn Jarir reported that Nafi’ narrated that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “Rafatha means sexual intercourse or mentioning this subject with the tongue, by either men or women.”

“…no disobedience…” the word fusooq [فُسُوق] is from the root fa-seen-qaf and it means transgression or going beyond the limits. Ibn ‘Abbas said that it means disobedience. Ibn ‘Umar said, “Fusooq or sin mentioned in the ayah refers to committing what Allah has forbidden in the Sacred Area.”

Several others said that fusooq means cursing others. They based this on the authentic hadeeth:

سِبَابُ الْمُسْلِمِ فُسُوقٌ وَقِتَالُهُ كُفْر

“Cursing the Muslim is fusooq, while fighting him is Kufr.”

[A Muslim does not Harm Other Muslims]

Some others said that it means slaughtering animals for the idols while others said that it means insulting one another with bad nicknames. Ibn Katheer writes those who said that fusooq means all types of disobedience are correct. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has prohibited committing injustice during the months of Hajj specifically, although injustice is prohibited throughout the year.

It is recorded in the Two Saheehs that Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

مَنْ حَجَّ هَذَا الْبَيْتَ، فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ خَرَجَ مِنْ ذُنُوبِهِ كَيَوْمَ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّه

“Whoever performed Hajj to this (Sacred) House and did not commit rafath or fusooq, will return sinless, just as the day his mother gave birth to him.”

[Dos and Don’ts of Hajj]

Things which are not sins in themselves but do become impermissible because of the ihram are six in number:

(1) Marital intercourse, its preliminaries, including love-talk

(2) Hunting land game, either hunting personally or guiding a hunter

(3) Cutting hair or nail

(4) Using perfume

These four things are equally impermissible for men and women both when in a state of ihram. The remaining two basically concern men:

(5) Wearing stitched clothes

(6) Covering the head and the face. According to Imam Abu Haneefah and Imam Malik, it is also not permissible for women to cover their face while in a state of ihram, therefore, this too is included in the common Ihram prohibitions.

[How can Niqab Observing Women Maintain their Niqab during Pilgrimage – Some Ideas]

The first of the above six things, that is, intercourse and its correlatives, though included under fusooq, has yet been separated from it, and has been introduced separately through the word rafath, stressing thereby the importance of abstaining from it when in a state of ihram. This is because amends can be made for the contravention of other ihram prohibitions through kaffarah [expiation]. But, should one fall into the misfortune of indulging in intercourse before the Wuqoof Al- ‘Arafat [stay in ‘Arafat], Hajj itself becomes null and void and a fine in the form of a sacrifice of a cow or camel becomes obligatory and the Hajj will have to be performed all over again. Because this aspect was important, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions is explicitly.

No Disputing during Hajj

“…no disputing during Hajj…” the word jidaal [جِدَالَ] is from the root jeem-lam-dal and it means ‘any dispute or argument or fighting to overpower another party’.

Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani explains the word jidaal means an effort to upturn the adversary, therefore, a rough altercation or quarrel is known as jidaal. This word being general, some commentators have taken it in the usual general sense, while others, keeping in view the place of Hajj and the importance of ihram, have particularized the sense of jidaal here with a specific quarrel.

In the age of ignorance, people differed about the prescribed place of wuqoof [staying]. Some thought staying in ‘Arafat was necessary, while others insisted that Muzdalifah was the prescribed place to stay and, therefore, did not consider going to ‘Arafat as necessary.

Similarly, they differed in the timings of the Hajj as well. Some would do their Hajj in Thul-Hijjah while some others would do it earlier in Thul-Qa’dah and then, they would all quarrel among themselves around the subject and charge each other of having gone astray. The Qur’an  said, “ لَا جِدَالَ  [no dispute]”, and put an end to all quarrels.

What was proclaimed was the truth – the obligatory stay has to be made in ‘Arafat, then, the necessary stay in Muzdalifah, and Hajj has to be performed in no other days but those of Dhul-Hijjah. Once the divine command is there, quarreling is forbidden.

[Let there be No Lewdness, Abuse or Quarreling during Hajj]

According to this interpretation, the prohibition given in the ayah is restricted to those acts only which are normally permissible, yet, they have been forbidden because of the ihram. It is similar to the prohibition of eating and drinking when one is fasting or praying.

But some commentators have taken fusooq and jidaal in the general sense. According to them even though the fisq and jidaal are sins, and deplorable at all places and under all conditions, the sin becomes severe in the state of Ihram. If one could think about the blessed days and the sacred land of Harum where everyone comes to perform ‘ibadah [worship] with fervent chants of Labbayk, telling their Lord: ‘Here we are at Your call’, with the garment of ihram reminding them all the time that the pilgrim is devoted to his act of ‘ibadah in the Sight of Allah, how could one stoop to do what is prohibited by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Under such condition, any act of sin or any act of entanglement with dispute turns into sinfulness at its worst.

[Realizing the Essence and Purpose of Hajj]

Taking this general sense into account, one can see the wisdom behind the prohibition of obscenity, sin and quarrel as the place and time of Hajj have their peculiar conditions in which one might fall a victim to these three. There are times when one has to stay away from his family and children for a long time in a state of ihraam. Then, men and women perform Hajj rites at Mataaf [the place around the Ka’abah where Tawaf is made] and place between Safa and Marwah (where Sa’ee is made) and at ‘Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina with hundreds and thousands of people coming in contact with each other.

In such an enormous gathering of men and women, it is not so easy to control one’s inner desires, therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has first taken up the prohibition of obscenity. Then, since so many people are around at a given time, all deeply devoted to performing their prescribed rites, there are also occasions where sins such as theft creep in, therefore, came the instruction: La fusooq [no disobedience]. Similarly, during the entire Hajj trip, there are many incidents where people could get into disputes because they are cramped for space or for some other reason. The injunction: La jidaal [no disputes] is to eliminate such possibilities.

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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