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Chapter 4: The Pilgrimage of Islam

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By: Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

Chapter 4
The Pilgrimage Today


The Pilgrimage is the most complex devotional, social, political, and cultural act in Islam. It contains many elements that occur in a difficult environment, for when millions of people gather together in a limited space and time, and attempt to perform the same rites, a large number of extraordinary situations occur that need clarification.  The five schools of Islamic law have all made rulings on how each rite of the Pilgrimage should be performed and have commented extensively upon situations outside the norm.


In the following narrative, we have provided a summary of the rites of the Lesser and Greater Pilgrimages according to the Five Schools in five sections which will provide extended comparative treatises.  Before embarking on this journey through the pathways of the Islamic legal system, we must remind those who are familiar with Islamic law (and inform those who are not) that the purpose of Islam is none other than the perfection of the human creature in inward knowledge and outward action.  Islamic law provides the framework for a very defined course of action, and the purpose of this detailed structure is to avoid gaps open for assumption and uncertainty.


The outward structure of the law, when combined with faith, love and the search for inward meaning, transforms and elevates the ordinary human creature.  He discovers a state of  ‘original nature’, which indicates the self that acts consciously and submissively as a focus for the manifestation of divine attributes.  The outward, restrictive structure of the law is transmuted to its opposite: unbounded, ecstatic inner freedom.  This is the state of the true slave of God.



A.      General Conditions and Other Issues


The Pilgrimage of Islam is based upon certain conditions which must be established before its performance is considered obligatory for a Muslim.  These conditions include maturity, sanity and capability, as well as some other important factors which we will discuss under the headings of: Immediacy; Women and the Pilgrimage; Grants; Marriage, Tax and Alms.




The Pilgrimage is not obligatory for a minor, whether he has a discerning intellect or not.  If a youngster does perform the Pilgrimage, it is valid only as a sign of devotion, and he must perform it again after attaining puberty and is capable of performing it.  All five Schools of Islamic law the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i, Hanbali and Ja‘fari agree upon this point, provided that the minor does not attain maturity before reaching ‘Arafat.


The parent or guardian who  accompanies  the  youngster  should dress him in the necessary  two pieces of seamless cloth and inform him what the pilgrim is required to say, if the child is capable of doing it properly; otherwise, the parent or guardian may do it on his behalf.  The parent or guardian should also instruct the child on what must be abstained from while on Pilgrimage, and should encourage him to do all those things which he can do by himself.  He should  perform on the child’s behalf only those things which the child cannot do himself.


The Ja‘faris (or Shi‘is), Hanbalis and Shafi‘is maintain that when a minor attains maturity (i.e. puberty) before reaching ‘Arafat, he is then considered to be performing the obligatory Pilgrimage of Islam.  The Ja‘faris and Malikis, however, hold that the pilgrim’s garment must be renewed at an appropriate place.  If this is not done, the Pilgrimage is not valid as the Pilgrimage of Islam.




An insane person is not subject to legal accountability, and if he performs the Pilgrimage in this state, it is not acceptable.  He  must perform the obligation of the Pilgrimage when he regains sanity.  If his periods of sanity and insanity alternate, and he maintains a state of sanity long enough to perform the Pilgrimage with all its requirements and conditions, its obligation is considered to be fulfilled.  If, however, the duration of his state of sanity is not sufficient for all the acts of the Pilgrimage to be performed, the obligations are not considered fulfilled.




God says in the Qur`an,

Whoever is capable, upon him the journey is obligatory. (3:97)

Capability refers to sustenance and conveyance.  The latter implies the cost of the journey (to and from Makkah), while the former denotes the money a person needs for the journey, that is, for eating, drinking, passport fees, rent for a place to stay and other expenses, according to one’s condition and status.  The funds needed to meet these expenses must be over and above one’s debts (if one has any), the sustenance of one’s family, and whatever one needs to continue his livelihood, such as seed for cultivation, tools for industry and capital for trade, without compromising the security of one’s safety, life, property and honor.  No one has differed from this view except the Malikis, who hold that the Pilgrimage is obligatory on whomever is able to walk; and a man need not leave sustenance for his wife and children, regarding it as obligatory for one to sell whatever is necessary, such as one’s land, cattle, instruments, even books and clothes, in order to make the journey.


There is a difference of opinion as to whether someone who performs the Pilgrimage without capability be relieved of the obligation of the Pilgrimage.  Malikis and Hanafis say that if such a person later becomes capable, he is not obliged to repeat the Pilgrimage.  The Ja‘faris, however, hold that the Pilgrimage is still obligatory for him because he did not fulfil the condition which preceded it.


Capability through Proximity to Makkah


A person who travels to a place near Makkah for business or some other purpose and remains there until the time of the Pilgrimage becomes capable if it is possible for him to go.  If he returns home without having performed the Pilgrimage, it remains an obligation upon him, whether he has the capability or not, according to all the Schools of Law.




The Ja‘faris, Malikis and Hanbalis maintain that the Pilgrimage becomes obligatory immediately its conditions are fulfilled, and delay is not permissible after the first moment of capability.  If one delays, one has committed a wrong action, although the Pilgrimage would still be valid and fulfilled if it were performed after it was due.


Immediacy implies that one should be prompt in performing the Pilgrimage during the first year of capability, otherwise it should be done during the following year to delay is disobedient.  The Shafi‘is, however, say that the Pilgrimage is obligatory according to convenience, not according to the immediacy of capability, and thus it is permissible to postpone it to any time one desires.


Women and the Pilgrimage


All the Schools of Law agree that a husband’s permission is not a condition for a woman to perform the Pilgrimage, nor is it permissible for him to prevent her from doing so.  However, they differ in regard to a woman who has neither a husband nor a lawful companion to accompany her.  The Ja‘faris, Malikis and Shafi‘is maintain that a lawful companion or husband is not a condition, whether the woman be  young or old, married or unmarried, because a lawful companion is a means of protection not required for the Pilgrimage itself.  In the past, when the journey was long and dangerous, there was a need for such a companion; today, however, travelling is safe and well organized and people’s lives and property are protected.


The Hanbalis and Hanafis hold that it is a condition for the woman whether young or old to be accompanied by a lawful companion and it is not permissible for her to perform the Pilgrimage without him.  In fact, the Hanafis also impose the condition that there be a distance of three days’ journey between Makkah and the place the woman lives.  This condition rarely applies in our time, however, because of the advanced technology of travel.




The Hanbalis assert that if a person grants money to another person, the latter would not necessarily attain capability to make the Pilgrimage, because it is not obligatory for him to accept the grant.  The Shafi‘is hold that if a person’s son gives him a grant which is enough for the Pilgrimage, then the Pilgrimage becomes obligatory for him, because no obligation is attached to the grant.


The Ja‘faris say that if someone grants money to another as a gift without stipulating that he must use the money to perform the Pilgrimage, its performance does not become obligatory, no matter who makes the grant.  If, however, the person makes the grant to another on the condition that he perform the Pilgrimage, then it becomes obligatory for him to accept the grant: he must not refuse it even though the person making the grant be a stranger to him.  In this case, he becomes capable of performing the Pilgrimage.




The Hanafis hold that if a person has only enough money for either the performance of the Pilgrimage or for marriage, he should give the Pilgrimage precedence.  The Shafi‘is, Hanbalis and Ja‘faris say that marriage takes precedence where there would be distress and hardship in delaying it.


Payment of Tax and Alms


Both take precedence over the Pilgrimage, and therefore capability is determined only after these obligations are completely fulfilled, like any other debts.



B.      Performance by Proxy (niyabah)


On the basis of a person being physically or financially capable, the devotional acts of Islam are divided into three classes:


  1. Purely physical acts of worship which have nothing to do with property, such as fasting and prayer.  The Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis maintain that this class does not allow any proxy performance, either on behalf of the dead or the living; while the Ja‘faris hold that it is acceptable on behalf of the dead only.

  2. Purely financial acts of worship that have nothing to do with the body, such as tax and alms.  Proxy performance is acceptable by all the Schools of Law for this category. Thus, it is possible for someone to appoint an agent to pay the alms on his property and to make any other charitable payments.

  3. Both physical and financial acts of worship, such as the Pilgrimage, which involves physical capability as well as financial means for the expenses of the journey and its requirements.  All  Schools of Law agree that one who is able to perform the Pilgrimage, with the preliminary conditions fulfilled, must do so immediately, and it is not permissible for him to appoint a proxy.  In this case, if a person appoints a proxy, it does not absolve him of his own obligation.  According to the Shafi‘is, Hanbalis and Ja‘faris, he is not absolved of the obligation even by death, in which event it is obligatory that someone be hired to make the Pilgrimage on his behalf.  In the case where no will is made, payment should be taken for this purpose from the principal property left by him.  The Hanafis and Malikis, however, say that he is absolved of the physical aspect of the Pilgrimage.  If he has mentioned it in his will, the expenses may be taken from the principal property from which other bequests are taken.  If he made no mention of it, then proxy performance is not obligatory.


The Capable but Disabled


A person who satisfies all the material conditions for the Pilgrimage but is unable to perform it himself because of some disability or sickness from which he does not expect to recover, is exempted from performing it personally.  All the Schools of Law agree upon this, for Allah says:

He has not imposed hardship on you in religion. (22:78)

He must, however, hire someone to act on his behalf, according to all the Schools except the Malikis.  They say that the Pilgrimage is not obligatory for anyone who is incapable of personally making the journey.


If the disabled or sick person recovers after deputing someone to perform the Pilgrimage for him, the Hanbalis hold that another Pilgrimage is not obligatory for him.  The Ja‘faris, Shafi‘is and Hanafis, however, say that it is obligatory because only the financial obligation was fulfilled, whereas the physical obligation is still outstanding.


Non-Obligatory Pilgrimage Performed by Proxy


According to the Hanafis and Ja‘faris a person who has performed the obligatory pilgrimage, and then desires to hire or depute a proxy for another Pilgrimage (to win God’s good pleasure) may do so even though he be able to make the journey himself. The Shafi‘is say this is not permissible, while the Hanbalis have two versions, one in favour of it and one against it.


The Malikis hold that it is permissible (but not desirable) for a sick person who has no hope of recovery, and who has performed the obligatory Pilgrimage, to hire someone else to undertake a voluntary Pilgrimage.  Such a Pilgrimage would not be to the credit of the hirer, but would be a commendable act for the person hired.  The one who hires receives the reward for giving assistance to the one hired, as well as the blessing of his worship.



Conditions for a Proxy


The conditions for being a proxy are maturity, sanity, belief in Islam and the ability to perform the Pilgrimage properly.  The Shafi‘is and Hanbalis say that if a person who has not performed the Pilgrimage does it on behalf of someone else, it is credited to his own account, while the Malikis, Hanafis and Ja‘faris hold that it is credited according to his intention.  A man may act as a proxy for a woman, or a woman for a man.


According to the Hanafis and Malikis, the proxy should undertake the Pilgrimage by starting out from the town where the dead person resided, if the person whom he represents did not specify where he should start; otherwise, he should abide by what was specified.  The Shafi‘is hold that the focus lies on those places outside the Sacred Precinct which are designated as starting-points (miqat).  If a particular point has been specified, it must be adhered to; otherwise, the person hired may adopt any point he likes.  According to the Hanbalis, it is obligatory for the substitute to begin from the place in which the deceased person would be obliged to start if he had performed the Pilgrimage himself, not from the place where he died.  Thus, if the deceased attained capability for the Pilgrimage in a foreign country, and afterwards returned to his own town and died there, the Pilgrimage should be performed on his behalf from that foreign country rather than from his homeland, except when the distance between the foreign country and his homeland is less than that which is necessary for shortening the prayer.


According to the Ja‘faris, the Pilgrimage may start at either the place of abode of the deceased person or the designated points outside Makkah.  If the person on whose behalf the Pilgrimage is being performed specified a particular point, then it should be done as specified.  If he did not, then the nearest designated point suffices.



Delay in Proxy Performance


When a person has been hired to perform the Pilgrimage, it is obligatory for him to do so as soon as possible: it is not permissible for him to postpone the Pilgrimage to another year, nor may he appoint another proxy for himself.  If it be not known for certain whether the proxy has made the Pilgrimage and performed the rites, the Pilgrimage is presumed not to have been performed until proven otherwise.  If the proxy be known to have made the Pilgrimage and performed the rites, but there is doubt as to whether he did them correctly, or he is thought to have left out some of the obligatory acts, his performance is still presumed correct unless and until proven otherwise.





According to the Hanafis and the Ja‘faris, when the person appointing a proxy specifies a particular kind of Pilgrimage, it is not permissible to deviate from it.  If, however, he specifies that the Pilgrimage begin from a particular town, and the substitute commences it from another town, the Pilgrimage is still considered to have been performed, because the adoption of a way is not the goal itself.  The real goal is the Pilgrimage proper, which in this case has been fulfilled.




C.      The Pilgrim’s Garb (ihram)


The pilgrim’s garb, called ihram in Arabic, is an obligatory part of both the Lesser and Greater Pilgrimages, constituting in either case the first obligatory act.  There is a consensus of opinion between all the Schools of Islamic law on these points. The act of donning the pilgrimage garb, however, is more than the mere assumption of specified clothing: ihram refers to a state of consecration. Derived linguistically from the root word: haruma, meaning to be forbidden (hence also haram), it also  denotes sanctity and inviolability (hence haram meaning sacred, masjid al-haram meaning the Sacred or Holy Mosque, and harim meaning an inviolable place, such as a sanctuary, as well as a collective term for the womenfolk of family).  Ihram must therefore be understood in this light: that while in this state of ritual consecration one has ‘forbidden’ oneself the usual worldly concerns, pursuits and pleasures in order to be purely available for the sacred. A variety of attendant circumstances accompanies the act of donning the pilgrim’s garment, as well as a number of prohibitions, as explained below.



Places for Assuming the Pilgrim’s Garment


There is a specific point at which the pilgrim’s garment must be donned, depending upon the direction from which one approaches Makkah.  For instance, if the pilgrim travels from Madinah, he dons the garment at Dhu ’l-Hulayfah.  If one comes from Yemen, one dons the garment at Yalamlam.  In addition to these two points, there are ten other well-known places.  Any one whose route does not pass by one of these points must don his garment at any point lying on a straight line between two of the known ones.


For a person whose residence lies within these boundaries, the place to don the garment is his own home; for a person who lives in Makkah, the place is Makkah itself as mentioned above. According to the Ja‘faris, the places for putting on the garment for the separate Lesser Pilgrimage are the same as those for the Greater Pilgrimage.



Assuming the Pilgrim’s Garb before Reaching the Designated Places


The Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis agree that it is lawful to don the garment before reaching one of the designated places.  They differ, however, as to which is better.  The Malikis and Hanbalis maintain that putting on the garment at the designated place is better; the Hanafis say that it is best to dons the garment in one's own town; while the Shafi‘is are divided between these two opinions.  The Ja‘faris maintain that wearing the garment is not permissible before the designated place is reached, except in the case of someone who intends to perform the Lesser Pilgrimage in the month of Rajab, and fears that if he delays putting on the garment until he reaches the designated place, that month would have passed.



Donning the Pilgrim's Garb after the Designated Places


All Schools of Law agree that crossing the boundary of the designated places without having put on the pilgrim’s garment is not permissible.  The Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali schools maintain that if one does so and not return, his Pilgrimage would still be valid, but it would be necessary for him to make a compensatory sacrifice.  If there were no excuse for not returning, he has committed a wrong action.  If there be some excuse, such as shortage of time, he is not accountable for a wrong action committed.  According to the Ja‘faris, if a person does not intentionally adopt the pilgrim’s garment at a designated place when he intends to perform the Lesser or Greater Pilgrimage, and he fails to return to a designated place in order to do so, then both his donning the garment and his Pilgrimage are invalid, whether he has an excuse or not.



Assuming the Garment before the Months of Pilgrimage


The Ja‘faris and the Shafi‘is maintain that if a person adopts the pilgrim’s garment for the Greater Pilgrimage before the months of the Greater Pilgrimage, the action is invalid.  The Hanafis, Malikis and Hanbalis assert that it is valid, although not a correct action.



The Pilgrim's Garment Necessary for Entry to Makkah


According to the Ja‘faris, if a person intends to enter Makkah it is not lawful for him to proceed beyond the designated points for assuming the pilgrim’s garment, nor to enter its sacred area, without adopting the pilgrim’s garment.  This is the case even though he has already performed the Lesser and Greater Pilgrimages several times.  The only exception to this is if he has entered Makkah in the pilgrim’s garb, then leaves and enters a second time before thirty days have elapsed.  The pilgrim’s garb bears the same relationship to entering Makkah as the ritual ablution does to touching the Holy Qur`an.


The Hanafis say that a person who is outside the designated boundaries of the sacred sanctuary must adopt the pilgrim’s garment before approaching the Ka‘bah, while someone who is within the boundaries may enter the Sacred Mosque without the garment.  The Malikis do not hold this view, and the Shafi‘is have two views on the matter, one in accordance and the other in opposition.



Commendable Acts


All the schools of law  concur in  that  for  a  person  who  intends  to adopt the pilgrim’s garment, it is commendable to have a clean body, to trim one’s nails and moustache, to remove the hair from one’s lower abdomen and armpits and to perform the ritual bath.  This is true even for a woman who is in a state of menstruation or postpartum bleeding.


The Hanafis and Malikis say that if water be not available and one be in the state of major ritual impurity, the ritual bath as a prerequisite may be omitted.  Purification with earth is not done, because it is not lawful as a substitute.  The Hanbalis and Shafi‘is, however, hold that purification with earth is a substitute.  The Ja‘faris have different views among themselves, some of them allowing it as a substitute while others do not.  In either case, purification from major ritual impurity is not a pre-condition for assuming the pilgrim’s garment.


The Shafi‘is, Hanafis and Hanbalis maintain that shaving the head before putting on the pilgrim’s garment is commendable.  The Ja‘faris say that one should allow the hair of the head to grow from the beginning of the month of Dhu ’l-Qa‘dah.


The Hanafis maintain that it is commendable for a person, who has the intention of adopting the pilgrim’s garment to perfume the body and clothes with scent, whose smell may remain even though the substance does not.  According to the Shafi‘is, perfuming the body after the ritual bath is commendable, except for someone who is fasting, as is perfuming the clothes.  The Hanbalis, however, maintain that one may perfume the body, but perfuming the clothes is improper.  It is important to note that perfuming the body and clothes for these four schools relates to the commendability of the action with regard to putting on the pilgrim’s garment.  As we shall note later, the use of perfume while wearing the pilgrim’s garment is prohibited by all the schools.


The Hanafis, Malikis and Shafi‘is maintain that it is commendable for the pilgrim to pray two cycles before putting on the pilgrim’s garment.  The Ja‘faris, however, maintain that it is preferable to don it after the afternoon prayer or some other obligatory prayer, following which one should pray at least two cycles of prayer, if not four or six.




D.      Obligatory Acts of Pilgrimage


There are three obligatory acts of pilgrimage: intention (niyyah) of pilgrimage, the call to God’s service (talbiyyah), and donning the pilgrim’s garment (ihram).  There are some differences among the Schools of Law in regard to these actions.



Intention (niyyah)


No wilful action is possible without intention, so intention is necessary here.  The point under discussion is whether a person who performs the Pilgrimage can enter the state of ihram by mere intention, or must add something else as well.  If a person adopted the pilgrim’s garment in a distracted or absent-minded state, without prior intention, his ihram would be invalid.


According to the Hanafis a person does not lawfully enter into the state of ihram by intention alone, but must also repeat the appropriate call to service for his ihram to be valid.  The Shafi‘is, Ja‘faris and Hanbalis maintain that the ihram comes about merely by intention.


The Ja‘faris maintain that it is obligatory for the intention to be close to the commencement of entering the state of ihram; it is not enough to perform the intention anytime during its process.  Also, one must clearly specify whether the ihram is for the Lesser Pilgrimage or a certain kind of Greater Pilgrimage, whether the Lesser or Greater Pilgrimage to be performed be obligatory or voluntary, and whether it be for himself or on behalf of  another.  If one make the intention without specifying these points, and then delays specifying them until a later stage, the intention is null and void.


According to the Hanbalis it is commendable for one to specify for what purpose one is adopting the ihram; the Malikis say the same.  The Shafi‘is hold that if one put on the garment out of devotion, without any particular specification, the intention is still valid.  After this, one may specify any act of devotion one chooses.



The Call to God's Service (talbiyyah)


All the schools agree that this is a proper  action  at  the  time  of assuming the pilgrim’s garment, but they differ as to whether it be obligatory or commendable, and at what specific time it should be done.


According to the Shafi‘is and Hanbalis, it is Prophetic practice, and it is commendable but not obligatory to join it to the ihram.  Therefore, if one make the intention for the ihram but not the call, the action nevertheless remains still valid.  The Ja‘faris, Hanafis and Malikis maintain that the call is obligatory, but they differ over details: the Hanafis maintain that bringing the victim of sacrifice may take its place, while the Malikis maintain that there may be a long gap between the call and assuming the state of ihram, and that it may even be left out entirely, but whoever omits it must offer a sacrifice.  The Ja‘faris maintain that without the call, the pilgrim’s ihram is not valid for either the Lesser or Greater Pilgrimages, except the Greater Pilgrimage in which the pilgrim brings the victim of sacrifice.  This type of Pilgrimage is, however, seldom performed nowadays.



The Formulation of the Call


The English translation of the call is as follows:


            At your service, O Lord, at Your service.  There is no associate with You.  The Praise and blessing are Yours, as well as the sovereignty - with You there is no associate.

ll the Schools agree that ritual purity is not a precondition for the call.  It is commendable to continue repeating the call until the last pillar is lapidated at Mina; and it is commendable for men to say it in a loud voice, except in the mosques where Friday prayer is held, particularly in the Mosque of ‘Arafat.  Women should make the call more quietly.

According to the Ja‘faris it is commendable for one to declare it as soon as sighting the houses of Makkah.  As for women, they should say it to themselves only so loud as someone close to them would hear.  It is also commendable at the same time to invoke blessings on the Prophet and his family.



The Pilgrim’s Garment


According to the Hanafis, the pilgrim’s garment is merely commendable.  It consists of a waist-wrapper and mantle: the waistwrapper is a cloth that covers the wearer from the navel to the knee, while the mantle is that which remains on the back, chest and shoulders.  According to the Malikis, it is commendable for one to wear a waist-wrapper, mantle and sandals.  There is no harm in the pilgrim wearing something other than the mantle and waist-wrapper, so long as it is seamless and does not wrap completely around the limbs.  The Hanbalis maintain that it is commendable for one to wear a new, neat, white waist-wrapper and mantle, as well as sandals.  The Shafi‘is hold that one should wear a waist-wrapper and mantle, both white and new, or at least washed.

According to the Ja‘faris, the waist-wrapper and mantle are not just commendable but obligatory, and it is commendable for them to be of white cotton.  It is lawful for a person in the pilgrim's garment to wear more than two pieces of cloth, provided all are seamless.  Similarly, it is lawful for one to change the cloth, but according to the Ja‘faris it is preferable for him to perform the circumambulation with the same two pieces of cloth he adopted in the beginning.  All the conditions governing dress for prayer apply equally to the pilgrim.  For example, it must be free of impurities, and should not be made of silk in the case of men, nor of the skin of an animal whose flesh is not halal.  A group of Ja‘fari scholars say that it is not lawful for the garment to be made of any skin.

The difference of opinion amongst the five schools in regard to the pilgrim’s garment is very slight; thus it is safe to say that whatever is permissible according to the Ja‘faris is also permissible according to the other four schools of law.



Acts Forbidden during Ihram


Stitched Clothes, Shoes and Finger-rings


All the schools of law agree that it is not lawful for a man in the state of ihram to put on either stitched cloth, cloth that requires buttoning, or a shirt or trousers.  According to the Shafi‘is and Hanbalis, it is lawful for a man to cover his face.  It is not lawful for him to wear shoes except when sandals are not available, in which case he may put on shoes after they have been cut open around the heels. (A sandal is defined as that which has a sole but no ankles or sides, nor anything to cover the upper part of the feet, while a shoe is defined as that which covers the ankles and sides of the feet.) According to the Ja‘faris when a person wears stitched clothes inadvertently or because of ignorance nothing is incumbent on him; however, any one wearing them by intention in order to avoid heat or cold must offer a sheep as sacrifice.  They also maintain that wearing rings on the fingers as an adornment is not lawful, although if worn for other purposes it is so.  Similarly, it is not lawful for a woman to wear jewellery for the sake of adornment.



Covering the Head and Face


All the schools agree that a man should not cover his head, and all but the Hanafis and Shafi‘is concur that he should also refrain from covering his face.  A woman should cover her head and keep her face uncovered, unless there be a risk of men looking at her with interest.  It is not lawful for her to wear gloves or mittens, but she may wear silk, as well as shoes.  The Hanafis maintain that it is lawful for her to wear gloves.  The Malikis and the Ja‘faris also maintain that it is not lawful for one to immerse oneself in water so that one’s head is completely submerged.  It is lawful to wash the head or pour water over it according to all except the Malikis, who say that it is not lawful for a person in the pilgrim’s garment to wash off dirt save from the hands.  The Ja‘faris and the Shafi‘is say that should one covers one’s head inadvertently, no atonement is necessary, while the Hanafis maintain that a recompense is due from him.





According to the Ja‘faris, Shafi‘is,  Malikis  and  Hanbalis  it  is not permissible for a person in a state of ihram to enter into a contract of marriage for himself, act as an agent for anyone else, or assign anyone else as his agent in such an affair; and if he does so the contract will not be binding.  The Ja‘faris maintain in addition that it is not permissible for one to serve as a witness to a marriage.  The Hanafis, however, maintain that a contract for marriage is permissible and valid.


The Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Ja‘faris maintain that it is permissible for a person in ihram to renew a marriage with his divorced wife during her legally prescribed period of waiting.  The Hanbalis hold that it is not permissible.


According to the Ja‘faris, if a person in ihram enters into a contract for marriage while aware of the prohibition, the woman or man they are marrying becomes unlawful to that person forever as soon as the contract is complete, even though the marriage be not consummated.  If, however, the person were ignorant of the prohibition, this would not apply, even though the marriage had been consummated.



Sexual Activity


All the schools of law agree that it is not permissible for a person in a state of ihram to engage in any kind of sexual activity.  If a pilgrim had intercourse with his wife before lawfully leaving the state of ihram his Pilgrimage would be rendered void.  He must continue with the Pilgrimage until its completion and then perform the Pilgrimage afresh the next year.  During this new Pilgrimage the couple must remain apart from each other.  This condition is obligatory according to the Ja‘faris, Malikis and Hanbalis, and commendable according to the Shafi‘is and Hanafis.


The Ja‘faris hold that this separation refers to the house in which the event occurred during the previous Pilgrimage, and means that the couple should not be left alone.  When they are together there should be a third person present, so that any repetition of the same mistake may be prevented.  In addition to the new Pilgrimage, the Ja‘faris, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis maintain that it is obligatory for one to sacrifice a camel for having spoilt one’s Pilgrimage.  Hanafis say that a sheep is sufficient.


If the wife took part willingly in the sexual act, her Pilgrimage would likewise be  void, and she must offer a camel or a cow as a compensatory sacrifice besides performing a fresh Pilgrimage the following year.  If the action were against her consent, nothing is incumbent on her and her husband would have to sacrifice two camels, one for himself and the other for her.  If she were out of ihram while her husband was in it, no recompense would be expected of her.


All schools agree that if one has intercourse after the sacrifice but before the final circumambulation, one’s Pilgrimage is not voided, nor is a new Pilgrimage necessary;  however, according to the Ja‘faris, Hanafis and Shafi‘is (in one of two versions) a camel must be sacrificed.  The Malikis maintain that a goat or sheep suffices as an expiation.


If a pilgrim kissed his wife while in ihram but did not discharge semen, his Pilgrimage would not be void, according to all the schools of law;  however, the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is, and Hanbalis maintain that he should offer a sacrifice of at least one goat or sheep.  The Ja‘faris say that if he kissed her while sexually aroused it should be a camel; if not, a sheep.  If he discharge semen, the Malikis hold that his Pilgrimage is void.  The remaining schools of law hold that his Pilgrimage remains valid, but that an atonement is necessary.  According to the Hanbalis and the Ja‘faris a camel should be sacrificed; according to the Shafi‘is and Hanafis a sheep.


Should a person look at a woman he does not know and discharge semen, his Pilgrimage is not void; but according to the Ja‘faris, Shafi‘is, Hanafis and Hanbalis the sacrifice of a camel is incumbent on him.  According to the Ja‘faris the sacrifice of a camel is incumbent on him if he be rich, if he be well-off, a cow, and if poor, a sheep.  The Malikis maintain that if he continue to look until emission occurs, his Pilgrimage is be void and a new Pilgrimage is incumbent on him. 





The five schools of law agree that all perfumed substances are prohibited, whether they are for smelling, applying or ingesting.  If a person in ihram dies it is not permissible for him to be given the ritual bath for the dead, nor to apply camphor or any other perfume to his clothes or body.  If a person in pilgrim’s garb uses perfume inadvertently or through ignorance, according to the Ja‘faris and Shafi‘is no atonement is due for him, whereas the Hanafis and Malikis maintain that a compensation is due.  The Hanbalis add that when a person must use a perfumed substance because of illness, it is lawful for him and no sacrifice is due.  The Ja‘faris maintain that if one uses perfume intentionally, the sacrifice of a sheep is due no matter what the perfume was used for.



Applying Antimony


Ja‘fari scholars say that it is not lawful for a person in pilgrim’s garb to use antimony, with or without perfume, on the eyes.  The Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis say that doing so is not proper, but no sacrifice is due.



Nails, Hair and Plants


All the schools agree that cutting the nails and hair, as well as shaving the hair on the head or body, is not lawful for one in the state of ihram (except of course, when these acts become due in their proper course).  Should one do so, an act of expiation is due.  The Ja‘faris maintain that if one clip the nails of the hands and feet, a sacrifice of one sheep is due from him when it is done at one time.  If he does it at different times, then two sheep are due.


As for cutting or pulling out plants or vegetation (even thornbushes) growing within the area designated as the Sacred Precinct, all the schools agree that this is unlawful, except for what is grown by man, and a species called the odoriferous brush.  The Shafi‘is contend that even this is not permitted.  They say that the redemption for cutting or plucking a large bush is a cow, and for smaller bushes a sheep.  The schools differ with regard to what grows by man’s effort.  According to the Malikis, by cutting or pulling out a plant a person commits a wrong action, but nothing is due from him whether the plant be natural vegetation or grown through man’s effort.


The Ja‘faris, Hanafis, and Hanbalis maintain that it is lawful to cut what man grows, but an atonement is required for cutting or pulling out natural vegetation.  According to the Ja‘faris the atonement for cutting a big plant is a cow and for a small one a sheep.  The Hanafis maintain that the cost of the animal is what should be considered.  All Schools agree that there is no atonement is involved for cutting any dry, non-living thing, whether it be a plant or a grass.



Looking at a Woman


It is not permissible for a man in ihram to look at women who are not permissible to him, but if he does so, no sacrifice is due from him according to the unanimous agreement of all the schools.





The Hanbalis maintain that it is permissible for any person in pilgrim's garment, man or woman, to dye any part of the body with henna, except the head; the Shafi'is maintain that it is permissible to dye any part except the hands and feet, while the Hanafis maintain that dyeing is not permissible at all.  Among the Ja‘faris, most scholars assert that dyeing is not considered proper but is not prohibited, while some declare that it is.



Being under Shade


All the schools of law except the Shafi‘is agree that it is not permissible for a person wearing pilgrim’s garment to be in the shade while travelling: thus it is not lawful for one to board a car or like vehicle with a roof.  If, however, the pilgrim be on foot, it is lawful for him to pass through the shade of trees without stopping.  If one be forced to seek shade while travelling because of illness, heat, or cold, it is lawful, but according to the Ja‘faris an atonement is due.


All of the five schools concur in agree that when a person in the state of ihram is staying somewhere and is not travelling, shade may be sought under a roof, wall, tree, tent or other structure.  The Ja‘faris maintain that it is lawful for a woman to be in shade while travelling.



Creating Disorder and Quarrelling


Creating disorder such as lying, abusing and committing wrong actions,  is prohibited for pilgrims as well as non-pilgrims.  Those on the Pilgrimage, however, are more emphatically prohibited than others. The Ja‘faris relate on the authority of Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq that swearing by Allah is the basest form of quarrelling.


The Ja‘faris say that if a man lies once, he must sacrifice one goat; if he lies twice he must sacrifice a cow, and three times requires a camel.  If one swears an oath truthfully, nothing is due from him, but should he repeat the oath three times, a sheep is due.





All the schools of law agree that cupping is permissible when necessary.  The Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis allow it even when there is no necessity, as long as the removal of hair is not required.  The Ja‘faris are divided on this matter, some allowing it while others not.





According to the Ja‘faris killing small insects such as lice or ticks while in pilgrim’s garb is not permissible, but it is permissible to remove them.  If one kills a bug in order to remove it from one’s body it is lawful.


The Hanbalis say that a person in a state of ihram is prohibited from removing lice, but should he disobey and kill one, no compensation is due.  The Hanafis hold that one should give food to someone, and the Malikis say that a handful of food suffices.





All the schools of law agree that it is prohibited for a person in the state of ihram to hunt or trap land animals for killing or slaughter, or to guide or point towards game, eggs or nests of game.  Hunting sea creatures is lawful, for God says:

Lawful for you is the game of the sea and its use for food for the benefit of yourself and those who travel; but forbidden is the pursuit of land game, as long as you are in the pilgrim’s garb.(5:96)

The prohibition on hunting in the Sacred Precinct applies equally to those in ihram and those who are not.  As for the area outside, it is only lawful for the person not in ihram.  If a person in pilgrim’s garb were  to kill wild game, its use as food would be prohibited for everyone.


All the schools of law agree that a person in a state of ihram may kill kites, crows, mice and scorpions.  Some add to these savage dogs and other harmful animals.


According to the Shafi‘is and the Ja‘faris if a person in pilgrim’s garb slaughters land game whose like exists among domesticated animals in shape and features, then he has the following choice: (1) to slaughter a domestic animal which resembles the one killed, and distribute it as charity; (2) to estimate its price and buy food with its monetary equivalent, then distribute the food among the destitute to the amount of 1.6 kilos per person; or (3) to fast one day for every 1.6 kilos that would have been distributed.  The Malikis maintain the same viewpoint, except that they say the monetary equivalent should be calculated according to the value of the wild animal that was slaughtered, not its domestic substitute.  According to the Hanafis, one must determine the price of the game animal and then apply the following choices: (1) purchase livestock with the monetary equivalent and give its meat away in charity; (2) take an animal worth the same amount from one’s own livestock and give its meat in charity; (3) purchase the equivalent amount of food and distribute it, or (4) fast one day for each 1.6 kilos to be given away.


            All the schools base their position on the following Qur`anic verse:

O you who believe, do not kill game while you are in the pilgrim’s garb.  But if any of you do kill intentionally, the compensation is an animal like the one killed as adjudged by two just men among you, brought to the Ka‘bah; or by way of atonement, feeding the indigent, or its equivalent fasting.  Thus may one experience a penalty for his deed. (5:95)

The meaning of God's words ‘as adjudged by two just men’ is that the two just men should testify that the domestic animal is like the wild one which was killed, and ‘brought to the Ka‘bah’ means that when the pilgrim comes to the Ka‘bah, he should slaughter the domestic animal and distribute it charitably.


The Ja‘faris and the Shafi‘is agree that no atonement is required from some one who kills an animal through ignorance or forgetfulness, except in the case of hunting, for which an atonement is obligatory even though the act were done by mistake.



The Limits of the Two Sacred Areas


The prohibition on hunting and cutting plants applies to both the sacred areas of Makkah and Madinah.  The limits of the sacred area of Makkah are indicated by signs fixed on five sides: they are raised stones about a metre high, on either side of every approach.  The northern limit is a place called al-Tan‘im, which is 6 km. from Makkah; the southern limit is Idah, 12 km. from Makkah.  Al-Ja’ranah, 16 km. from Makkah, is the eastern limit, and al-Shumaysi, 15 km. from Makkah, is the western limit.


The limits of the sacred area of Madinah extend from Ir to Thawr for a distance of 12 km. (Ir is a hill near the designated point for putting on the ihram, and Thawr is a hill near Uhud.).



Summary of the Prohibitions


The Ja‘faris summarise the prohibitions that accompany the wearing of the pilgrim’s garb as follows.  Other schools differ slightly as discussed above.


  1. Covering the face is forbidden for women;

  2. Covering the head is forbidden for men;

  3. Travelling in the shade is forbidden for men;

  4. Preventing oneself from smelling unpleasant odours;

  5. Hunting and eating hunted meat;

  6. Sexual intercourse and kissing, looking at and touching one’s spouse with desire;

  7. Masturbation;

  8. Getting married, or witnessing another’s marriage;

  9. Wearing stitched clothes is forbidden for men, although stitched money-belts may be worn around the waist or slung around the shoulder.  Hernia belts may also be worn.

  10. Sniffing pleasant odours;

  11. Applying antimony to the eyes as an adornment;

  12. Looking in a mirror;

  13. Wearing footwear that covers the ankles or upper parts of  the feet;

  14. Arguing;

  15. Telling lies, abusing others and allowing oneself to be envious or proud;

  16. Killing any creature other than poisonous insects and snakes, rats, domestic fowl, goats, sheep, camels and other domestic animals used for food;

  17. Wearing rings as an adornment;

  18. Wearing any adornment or ornament, even for one’s husband, is forbidden for women;

  19. Oiling the body;

  20. Removing hair from the body, except an eyelash which is bothersome;

  21. Cutting the nails and extracting teeth;

  22. Carrying weapons unless absolutely necessary;

  23. Unearthing trees, plants or grass growing in the Sacred Precinct;

  24. Causing the discharge of blood from the body, even by scratching.




E.      Circumambulation


Another obligatory act of the Lesser and Greater Pilgrimage is circumambulation (tawaf). In the Lesser Pilgrimage it is the second act after assuming the ihram, while in the Greater Pilgrimage it is among the final acts of devotion.


Classes of Circumambulation according to the Five Schools


1.         The ‘circumambulation of arrival’ is performed by an outsider, i.e. one who is not a resident of the Sacred Precinct at the moment of entering Makkah.  It is like the two cycles of prayer which are performed upon entering a mosque, and thus it is also called the ‘circumambulation of salutation’ (tawaf al-taslim), like the salat ‘taslim al-masjid’.  The Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis agree that it is commendable and that no act of atonement is necessary for not performing it, except for the Malikis, who say that anyone who does not perform it must offer a sacrificial victim as compensation for his omission.


2.         The ‘circumambulation of visitation’ (tawaf al-ziyarah) is performed by the pilgrim after he has completed the rites of the Greater Pilgrimage at Mina on the tenth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah.  The pilgrim returns to Makkah on that day to perform this circumambulation.  It is called the ‘circumambulation of visitation’ because one has left Mina to visit the Ka‘bah; and the ‘circumambulation of issuing’ because the pilgrims issue from Mina to Makkah.  It is also called the ‘circumambulation of the Greater Pilgrimage’, because it is one of the obligatory acts of the Pilgrimage according to all of the schools.  According to the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis all those things from which the pilgrim had to abstain while in the state of ihram become lawful after this circumambulation.


3.         The ‘circumambulation of farewell’ (tawaf al-wida‘) is the last action to be performed by the pilgrim at the time of his farewell journey from Makkah.  According to the Hanafis and Hanbalis it is obligatory, and a sacrifice is incumbent upon whosoever omits it; the Malikis, however, maintain that it is commendable, and nothing is due from one who leaves it out. 



Types of circumambulation according to the Ja‘faris


The Ja‘faris agree with the other four schools that the three types of circumambulation mentioned are lawful. They maintain that the ‘circumambulation of arrival’ is commendable but permissible to omit; likewise the ‘circumambulation of visitation’ is one of the obligatory parts of the Greater Pilgrimage, the intentional omission of which invalidates the entire Pilgrimage.  As for the ‘circumambulation of farewell’, they agree with the Malikis that it is commendable, but its omission does not entail compensation.


            The Ja‘faris add to these three the ‘circumambulation of women’ (tawaf al-nisa’), which they maintain is obligatory for both men and women, and that it is unlawful to omit it, both in the separate Lesser Pilgrimage as well as in all classes of the Greater Pilgrimage.  For the Ja‘faris, going between Safa and Marwah is obligatory after the circumambulation of visitation, whereupon the circumambulation of women must be performed.  Upon completion of this circumambulation and its accompanying two cycles of prayer, marriage and conjugal relations with one’s wives become lawful again.


            The Ja‘faris further maintain that if the pilgrim, male or female, omit this circumambulation, the opposite sex remains unlawful to them until the circumambulation has been performed, either by the pilgrim himself or herself or by a proxy.  Should the pilgrim die before performing it or before appointing a proxy, his successor must do it after his death.  In fact, according to the Ja‘faris, if a boy of discernible age who has not yet reached physical maturity (i.e. puberty) performed the Greater Pilgrimage and failed to perform the circumambulation of women intentionally, women would not become lawful to him after he had attained maturity, and he would not be able to marry until he had performed the circumambulation or had it performed by a proxy.


            In sum, the Ja‘faris deem three circumambulations binding on everyone who performs the Lesser Pilgrimage before the Greater: one for the Lesser; another for the Greater; and a third, the circumambulation of women.  Circumambulation is as essential to the Pilgrimage as the first chapter of the Qur’an is to prayer.  The other schools concur with the Ja‘faris in all except the circumambulation of women, which they do not accept.  A pilgrim who performs the other two types of Greater Pilgrimage, to be discussed later, must perform two circumambulations according to the Ja‘faris, the circumambulation of visitation and the circumambulation of women.



Upon entering Makkah


All the schools agree that it is commendable for everyone who enters Makkah to take a ritual bath, to enter the city from the upper side and the Sacred Mosque through the Door of Peace, to raise one’s hands on sighting the Ka‘bah, to utter the words ‘God is great’ and ‘There is no god but God,’ and to recite some specific supplications or whatever is easy.  The Malikis say that one should not raise the hands in supplication, but should proceed immediately to the Black Stone and kiss it if possible, otherwise touch it, or, if this is not possible, one should indicate with his hand as if he were touching it and add a prayer of supplication.  The Ja‘faris maintain that it is commendable to enter barefoot, and to freshen one’s mouth so that one’s breath is sweet-smelling.



Conditions Governing Circumambulation


According to the Shafi‘is, Malikis and Hanbalis, ritual purity (taharah) is a precondition for circumambulation, as is ritual ablution (wudu’).  Therefore it is not valid if performed by a person who has not cleansed  himself of the pollution proceeding from sexual relations, nor by a woman in the state of menstruation or post-natal bleeding.  


            The Hanafis maintain that ritual purity is not a condition, but is obligatory and entails a sacrifice if omitted.  Should a person perform circumambulation without prior ablution, the circumambulation is valid, but he must offer a goat or sheep as a sacrifice.  If a person is impure in consequence of sexual intercourse or menstruation, the circumambulation is valid, but he or she should sacrifice a camel and repeat the circumambulation during the remainder of the stay in Makkah.


            According to the Ja‘faris, ritual purity and ritual ablution form a condition of any obligatory circumambulation.  The private parts must be covered with a cloth that is pure, not unlawfully acquired, and not made from any part of an animal whose flesh is not permissible to eat, nor from silk or gold; neither is it lawful for women to wear silk or gold.


            In addition the Ja‘faris also hold that the circumambulation of an uncircumcised male is not valid.  Furthermore, according to Ja‘fari law it is not permissible for anyone who is ritually impure (due to sexual intercourse or menstruation) to enter or pass through the Sacred Mosque or the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.



Mode of Circumambulation


According to the Ja‘faris and Hanbalis it is necessary to have a specific intention for circumambulation.  The Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanafis maintain that the intention of Pilgrimage in general is enough.


            The scholars among the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis agree that circumambulation, whether obligatory or not, should begin from and end at the Black Stone.  If one can, one should kiss it; failing which one should touch it with one’s hand and then kiss the hand.  The Ka‘bah should be kept on the left of the pilgrim, who should circumambulate it seven times.  The first three circuits should be at a quicker pace for men but not women, and the last four at a normal walk.



Obligatory Acts of Circumambulation


The following acts are regarded as obligatory:


  1. Specific intention, which has been mentioned above.

  2. Walking on foot: however, if one is unable to do so, then the use of a means of conveyance is acceptable.  Some Ja‘faris disregard this condition, as they say that the use of conveyance is optional.  They base this on the Prophet’s use of camel to perform his own pilgrimage.

  3. One should begin at the Black Stone in such a way that the front part of one’s body is opposite the Stone at the time of commencement.  When walking counter-clockwise around the Ka‘bah the Stone should be kept on the left while moving, and one should end the last circuit in the same way as the circumambulation began, with the front of the body facing the Black Stone.  It is obligatory to begin from the near side of the Stone.

  4. One should always keep the Ka‘bah on the left.

  5. One’s entire body should be outside the Ka‘bah.

  6. The circumambulation should be carried out between the Ka‘bah and the station of Abraham.

  7. One should complete the seven circuits without the addition or diminution of a single pace without undue distraction or interruption.


            All five schools concur that circumambulation begins from the Black Stone and ends at it; the Ka‘bah is kept on one’s left, so that one remains outside the House; the number of circuits is seven, and kissing the Black Stone and the Yemeni corner are commendable.


            According to the Malikis, Ja‘faris and Hanbalis the circuits of circumambulation must be successive, without interruption between each round.  The Shafi‘is and Hanafis hold that it is commendable to leave no gap in time, but if someone allows a gap without an excuse, the circumambulation would not be invalidated thereby.  The Hanafis maintain that a person who has completed four circuits but is still in Makkah must complete the circumambulation.  If he has left Makkah, he should atone for the incomplete circumambulation by a sacrifice.  The schools differ as to whether or not one must do tawaf on foot: the Hanafis, Hanbalis and Malikis consider it obligatory, while the Shafi‘is and a group of the Ja‘faris do not, holding that riding is optional.



Prayer at the Station of Abraham


After finishing the circumambulation it is obligatory for everyone to offer two cycles of prayer behind the Station of Abraham.  If there is a crowd, then one should pray as near to the place as possible within the Mosque.  It is not lawful to perform another circumambulation until after this prayer has been completed;  should one forget, one must come back later and offer it.  If it is not possible to return, the pilgrim should offer a new prayer wherever he happens to be.  This is in regard to an obligatory circumambulation: if it were voluntary, it is not necessary to return, and one may offer the two cycles of prayer wherever one wishes.


            The schools differ in regard to the obligatory nature of the two cycles of prayer at the station of Abraham after the circumambulation: according to the Malikis, Hanafis and Ja‘faris this prayer is obligatory just like the dawn prayer, while the Shafi‘is and Hanafis regard it as commendable.  According to the Ja‘faris it is obligatory to perform the prayer immediately after the circumambulation. The prayer should be made behind the Station of Abraham, and as close to it as possible.  If finding a position behind it is not possible, then one may pray on either side, but always as close as possible.  For the voluntary circumambulation, the two cycles of prayer can be performed anywhere in the Sacred Mosque.



Commendable Acts of Circumambulation


The commendable acts of circumambulation include kissing the Black Stone when beginning, uttering ‘There is no god but God,’ and, while raising the hands as is done at the beginning of the prayer, uttering the magnification, ‘God is great’. When the pilgrim reaches the Stone, he should touch it by placing both hands on it, then kiss it without a sound and place his cheek over it, or touch it with his hand again.


            The commendable acts of circumambulation mentioned by the Ja‘faris include standing near the Black Stone, supplicating while facing it with raised hands, reciting the chapter of the Qur’an entitled ‘The Night of Determination’ (al-Qadr), remembering God, walking with tranquillity, kissing the Stone as much as possible, touching the side of the Ka‘bah, directly opposite the door near the Yemeni corner, on the seventh circuit, and remaining close to the House.  It is reprehensible to utter any words during the circumambulation other than in remembrance of God and recitation of the Qur’an.





According to the Ja‘faris, if a woman discharges menstrual blood after four circuits, she should interrupt the circumambulation and go between Safa and Marwah seven times, completing the circumambulation after she is free from menstruation.  It is not obligatory for her to repeat Safa and Marwah.  If she menstruates before the completion of four circuits, she should wait until the day of ‘Arafat before completing circumambulation.  If her menstruation has ended, she may perform circumambulation, go between Safa and Marwah and then cut her hair or nails; otherwise, she must perform the Greater Pilgrimage without performing the Lesser before it; an explanation of this type of Pilgrimage will follow later.  We have previously mentioned that the Hanafis consider it lawful for a woman in the state of menstruation to perform circumambulation, and do not regard ritual purity as a necessary precondition.



Altering the Number of Circuits


The Hanafis maintain that if a person leaves out three circuits or less from the circumambulation of visitation, then he should offer a goat as a sacrifice.  If he leaves out four circuits, he should remain in the state of ihram until he performs the circumambulation again because he omitted the greater part. This means that he did not perform the act at all.


            According to the Ja‘faris if, after completing the circuits, a person doubts whether he has performed them correctly as required, without doing too few or too many, his doubt should be disregarded and his action taken as correct and complete.  If the doubt occurs before he has completed the circuits, he should carefully consider whether or not he has completed seven circuits.  If he is unsure whether he has completed seven or eight circuits, he should disregard his doubt and consider the circumambulation correct.  If the person lost count and is no longer certain that he completed seven rounds, then the circumambulation counts as invalid and must be repeated.  It is preferable for a person to complete the circumambulation and then perform another.


            All the above refers to the obligatory circumambulation.  As for the voluntary, one should always base the count on the lowest figure and then make up the deficiency if the count comes to less than seven, whether the doubt occurs before or after the last circuit.  The other schools base their calculation on the lowest number of circuits of which one is sure, as is the case when there is doubt about the number of cycles completed in prayer. [Continues to the Next Page]

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Preface: The Pilgrimage of Islam ] Introduction: The Pilgrimage of Islam ] Chapter 1: The Pilgrimage of Islam ] Chapter 2: The Pilgrimage of Islam ] Chapter 3: The Pilgrimage of Islam ] [ Chapter 4: The Pilgrimage of Islam ] Chapter 4: The Pilgrimage of Islam (Continues) ] Chapter 5: The Pilgrimage of Islam ]