Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Dhu'l Qadah 1424 H
January 2004
Volume 17-01 No : 205
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Hadith


The Prophet's (Pbuh) Instructions about Ihraam

The Prophet's (Pbuh) Instructions about Ihraam

Al-Bukhari relates on the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar that a man asked the Prophet: “Messenger of God, what clothes a man in the state of ihraam may wear?” The Prophet answered: “He must not wear shirts, turbans, trousers, burnus (which is a type of cloak with a hood) or shoes. If he cannot find slippers to wear, he may wear shoes but he should cut them underneath his ankles

Commentary By : Adil Salahi

It is well known that when a pilgrim starts his journey, and at the point of meeqat, i.e. the place where he must begin his pilgrimage, he changes his ordinary clothes into the garments of ihraam. At that point, he is recommended to have a bath, put on these garments, and verbally declare his intention to do the pilgrimage by repeating such phrases as, “Labbaik Allahumma bi hajj,” or, “My Lord, I resolve to do the pilgrimage, so make it easy for me, accept it from me, and help me to complete it with ease and comfort.” He then repeats phrases of talbiyah, the best known of which is “Labbaik Allahumma labbaik. Labbaika la shareeka laka labbaik. Inna-lhamda wal-nimata laka wal-mulk. La shareeka lak.” This was the one form the Prophet (Pbuh) repeated all the time on his pilgrimage. It means: “I respond to Your call, my Lord. I respond to You. There is no deity other than You. All praise is due to You and all grace comes from You and all dominion is Yours. There is no God other than You.”

What is well known is that during ihraam, men must not wear any “stitched” garments. Nowadays, it is easy to obtain two specially made pieces of cloth to wear during ihraam. It is important, nevertheless, to know what clothes or garments may be worn during ihraam and what violates the rules of consecration.

Al-Bukhari relates on the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar that a man asked the Prophet: “Messenger of God, what clothes a man in the state of ihraam may wear?” The Prophet answered: “He must not wear shirts, turbans, trousers, burnus (which is a type of cloak with a hood) or shoes. If he cannot find slippers to wear, he may wear shoes but he should cut them underneath his ankles. Do not wear any garments, which have been in contact with saffron or wars

The first thing to note here is the fact that the person, who remained unnamed, asked about what clothes may be worn during ihraam. The Prophet, nevertheless, specified in his answer what must not be worn. This is due to the fact that it is much easier to provide a more precise answer this way. All clothes are allowed to wear in normal circumstances. In the special case of consecration, special rules apply which restrict the types of clothes and garments, which pilgrims can wear. Hence, the answer clarified those restrictions.

We also note that the Prophet named certain clothes, which were examples, of what must not be worn. This way, he made his answer absolutely clear to everyone. He said that a man in the state of consecration, or ihraam, couldn’t wear shirts or trousers, which was a reference to all tailored garments. He also mentioned turbans and burnus, or headed garments. This shows that a man must not cover his head by anything, whether tailored or not, throughout the period when he is in the state of ihraam. Again, the upper part of the foot must not be covered, which is indicated in the Prophet’s answer by the prohibition of wearing shoes. All schools of Islamic law and all Muslim scholars unanimously agree upon these restrictions. Apart from that, a man in ihraam may wear something to wrap around his waist and cover him from the waist down to the middle part of his lower leg, well below his knees. He should also wear a garment, which he simply throws over his shoulders. Any pair of slippers, which do not cover the top part of his feet, may also be worn.

We know that the Prophet always gave the most precise of answers in the shortest and easiest way to understand. In his answer to this question, he indicated that nothing tailored could be worn, whether it covers the whole body as old Arabian shirts used to do, or part of it as trousers. We have to make clear here that what is forbidden to wear is such tailored garments in their usual fashion. If they are not worn in that way, they are permissible. In other words, if one uses a shirt, or a mishlah, to wrap himself with in order to cover himself from the waistline downwards, this is perfectly permissible. We can thus state that it is not the “stitching” of a certain garment, which makes it forbidden to wear during ihraam, but the tailoring. We are supposed to go about in simple garments, which cannot be a source of pride and cannot be used to show off. Obviously a shirt or a long robe wrapped under someone’s waist falls in this category, since its shape or fashion cannot be seen. In prohibiting head covers, the Prophet indicated the normal head cover, which is a turban, and the unusual one, which is part of a cloak. In effect, the prohibition includes any head cover, which is used for that purpose, even when it is something with which people do not normally cover their heads. If someone puts on his head a saucepan, for example, in order to cover his head, that is prohibited. On the other hand, if he carries something on his head, there is nothing wrong with that. The Prophet’s instruction on footwear is very precise. Slippers are the normal thing to wear in the state of ihraam. If one cannot find slippers, or does not have the money to buy them, then he may wear his shoes after cutting them from the back in order to keep his ankles uncovered. He may, alternatively, bend the back of his shoes in order to keep his ankles bare. This is a concession which applies only to those who cannot find slippers or cannot obtain them, either because they do not have the money or because slippers are sold at exorbitant prices. In other words, a person who can obtain slippers easily should not wear his shoes in the fashion indicated.

All this applies to men doing the pilgrimage. Women, on the other hand, wear their ordinary clothes. There is no restriction on them in that, except that they must keep their faces and hands, up to their wrists, uncovered. It goes without saying that the usual requirements of women’s Islamic dress code apply during ihraam. A woman must cover all her body with the exception of her face and hands.

We also note in the Prophet’s answer to his questioner the change of the mode of expression. He first answered in the negative, indicating what may not be worn. He follows that with an order not to wear anything which has come in contact with perfumes, two examples of which are given in the Hadith, namely saffron and wars. What is clearly evident in the Arabic text is that the Prophet used first the negative, singular mode, saying, “He must not wear...” He then changed that to the imperative, saying: “Do not wear any garments which have come in contact with saffron or wars.” Here, he used the plural form. Scholars agree that this change in the mode of expression indicates that this restriction applies to all people, men and women alike. It also applies to specially made ihraam garments. The prohibition here relates to the use of saffron, wars, or any other type of perfume on clothes. Again, the use of words here is very precise. It is a type of perfume plant which is used for dyeing. Hence, clothes dyed with that type must not be worn during ihraam.

This, however, does not apply to every type of dye. It is authentically reported that Aishah, the Prophet’s wife, wore during her ihraam, clothes which were dyed with saffron. Jabir, a companion of the Prophet, states very clearly that he did not consider saffron a perfume. Aishah speaks of the restriction of ihraam for women by saying: “(A woman) may not put on any mask to cover her mouth or her face. She may not wear a garment perfumed with saffron.” She thought that it was perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear some of her jewellery, a black garment, a dyed dress or shoes.

It is also perfectly acceptable for a man in the state of ihraam to change his ihraam garments, in order to have clean ones. In the past, when people travelled quite a long distance on camels or on foot before arriving in Makkah, pilgrims used to have a bath at a well called Maymoon, a short distance from Makkah, before wearing their garments of ihraam, so as to be ready to enter the blessed city.

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