copyright February 2006 (Muharram 1427)
(updated December 2013 - Safar 1435)
Many ladies go for Hajj/Umrah with poor guidance whatsoever, especially on the religious side. Life and society in the Haramain is totally different from the lifestyle in one’s home country. There will be a need to adapt rather than to impose, (or practice), one’s ways. On reaching the Haramain, it becomes a big burden to pray Tahajjud or even Fajr if one had not been performing her religious duties regularly at home. The same holds true for recitation of the Holy Qur’aan and giving charity. Thus it is very necessary to get into a regular habit of Salaat, Tilaawat, Zikr, etc. from home.
Well before departure, read about the virtues and various other aspects of Hajj. Attend Hajj classes/presentations; ask the learned Aalemaas if one cannot comprehend any aspect of this Mubaarak journey. Do not waste time/money on lavish invitations or having designer Ihraam dresses made.
Ensure that one has all the necessary medications and toiletries.
Carry some traveller's cheques in your name together with some cash.
A lady has to be accompanied by her Mahram. If she does not have a Mahram for life then Hajj is not Fardh on her. Some jurists are of the opinion that such ladies could have their Fardh Hajj performed on their behalf by someone appointed by them (=Hajj-e-Badl). There are yet others who have given permission for such ladies to travel with a group of elderly ladies.
In general, the Saudi Arabian authorities will not issue Hajj visas to women without a Mahram. However, women over the age of 45 who have no Mahram may obtain a visa if they are travelling with an organized Hajj group.
Ihraam, Clothing & Personal Appearance
A lady’s Ihraam is the normal every-day clothing, unlike for the males. Generally, black Abaayaas with a matching head cover are very commonly seen on ladies in the Haram. Avoid colourful clothing as this attracts a lot of undue attention among a “sea” of white or black. The Ihraam should be as plain as possible in order to remind oneself of the Kafan, (burial shroud).
Covering of the face in Ihraam appears controversial among jurists. Generally, if one covers her face then it is acceptable to do so while in Ihraam, as long as a Niqaab is not used. There is no need to wear a baseball/golf cap to prevent the scarf from touching the face.
Wearing of gloves is also prohibited.
One should cover her feet with socks, especially during Salaat.
It is permissible to change ones clothes or socks whilst in Ihraam. This does not “break” the Ihraam.
One can have a shower using non-perfumed soap whilst in Ihraam to cool off but be very careful of hair falling off. Do not open ones plaits or comb ones hair.
If one happens to have a wet dream in Ihraam then Ghusl is Fardh.
One is allowed to wear jewellery and stitched clothes in Ihraam. Ensure that the jewellery is non-ostentatious.
No attractive, body-hugging or see-through clothing should be worn. However the whole body should be covered with loose-fitting clothes. Ensure that the Burkha goes beyond the rear, well past knee length, in order to avoid exposing the body from behind while in Sajda.
If a quarter or more of the arm, neck or head is exposed then that Tawaaf/Salaat is not valid.
Perfume or make-up should not be worn while going to the Haram or whilst in Ihraam.
Brushing the hair or scratching the head lightly is permissible.
If a woman touches, caresses, or kisses her spouse with lust resulting in her discharging fluid from her private part then slaughter of a cow or camel is Waajeeb. If no discharge was experienced then the slaughter of a goat or sheep becomes Waajeeb.
A lady should not raise her voice when saying the Talbiyyah or the various Du’as. However, she has to say the Talbiyah audibly so much so that she can hear it herself only. Her speech should generally be in soft tones. She should speak to non-Mahrams only when necessary. She should not her give personal details to hotel staff without consulting her Mahram first.
A lady should not be harsh with beggars/urchins or insult them before finally giving them some money. Be humble and courteous towards all.