Things forbidden in ihram
There are twenty-five things which are forbidden in the state of ihram. These are:
1. Hunting the land animal. 2. Sexual intercourse. 3. Kissing the woman. 4. Touching the woman. 5. Looking at the woman and indulging in fore-play. 6. Masturbation. 7. Marriage. 8. Using perfume. 9. For men only: wearing the sewn clothes. 10. Applying kohl on the eyes. 11. Looking in a mirror. 12. For men only: wearing shoes or socks. 13. Cursing other people. 14. Quarreling with others. 15. Killing the insects on one’s body. 16. Using cosmetics. 17. Applying oil on the body. 18. Getting rid of the bodily hair. 19. For men only: covering the head. (Even submerging the head in a body of water is not allowed, for both men as well as women.) 20. For women: covering the face. 21. For men: shading themselves from sun or rain. 22. Causing blood to come out of one’s body. 23. Clipping the nail. 24. Pulling out the teeth. 25. Carrying arms.
I shall discuss the details of those things which are common from the above list:
1. Sexual Acts: It is not permissible for the pilgrim –male or female– to indulge in sexual intercourse, just as it is not permissible to indulge in foreplay, kissing, touching, hugging or looking at one another with lust. Anyone who indulges in these acts will have to pay a penalty which could be sacrificing a camel, a cow or a sheep depending on the kind of offence. In some cases, it might even be necessary to redo the pilgrimage.
2. Perfume: It is not permissible to use the perfume in any shape or form: applying it on the body, wearing it, smelling it, eating (something that has good smell) or wearing a cloth which has scent of a perfume on it. “Perfume” means whatever is used to apply scent on the body, the clothes, or the food, etc., such as musk, saffron, and other perfumes of our time. The only exception is the “khulūqu ’l-Ka‘bah” (a perfume extracted from saffron, etc.) which is used on the Ka‘bah.
3. Soaps & Shampoos: It is permissible for the pilgrim in ihram to use soaps and shampoos that are unscented. Based on obligatory precaution, one should refrain from smoking the scented cigars.
4. Fruits & Vegetables: It is permissible for the pilgrim in ihram to eat fruits and vegetables that has good smell such as apples, coriander leaves, etc. However, based on obligatory precaution, one should refrain from smelling them while eating.
5. Similarly, condiments and seasonings placed over the food are not permissible for one who is in ihram. However, eating the dish made with such a seasoning is permissible.
6. If a pilgrim in ihram knowingly eats a scented item or dons on a cloth that has perfume on it, then, based on obligatory precaution, he has to pay a penalty in form of sacrificing a sheep. The penalty will be repeated as many times as the offence is repeated. However, if this was done unintentionally (e.g., out of ignorance or forgetfulness), then there is no penalty on him.
7. Male Pilgrim’s Dress: It is forbidden for a male pilgrim in ihram to knowingly wear a dress which has a button or something similar to it. It also forbidden for him to wear trousers or something similar to it. Based on precaution, he must also refrain from wearing the normal clothes like a shirt, a pullover or the long Arabian robe no matter whether it has any buttons or not. And if he knowingly dons on something which is forbidden, then he has to pay the penalty in form of sacrificing a sheep. If the offence is repeated, the penalty has to be repeated also.
8. Safety pins & Clips for Men: A male pilgrim in ihram may use a safety pin or a clip, etc., to tie the two sides of his upper part of the ihram so that it does not fall from the shoulders. Likewise, he may use a money belt or an ordinary belt, even the stitched one, on the waist.
9. Covering the Body & the Feet: It is permissible for the pilgrim to cover his body, except the head, with the blanket or quilt even if it was sewn.
10. The pilgrim is allowed to wear an ihram even if it is stitched at the borders.
11. It is forbidden for a male pilgrim in the state of ihram to knowingly wear something (e.g., socks, etc.) that will fully cover the top of his feet except in case of emergency. However, wearing something that will only partially cover the feet is okay. Similarly, a male pilgrim in the state of ihram is allowed to cover the feet without wearing anything rather by covering it in other ways, for example, by placing the hemming line of the ihram on the feet while sitting or lying down. If a male pilgrim in the state of ihram knowingly wears socks or something similar, then he has to pay a penalty, based on obligatory precaution, by sacrificing a sheep.
12. It is permissible for the pilgrim in ihram to put on the ring as long as it is not done for adornment.
13. Lotions & Creams: It is permissible for the pilgrim in ihram to use unscented lotions for medical purpose. Similarly, he is allowed to use even the scented lotions out of necessity. However, in this latter case, he has to pay a penalty by sacrificing a sheep based on obligatory precaution.
14. Hair & Head: The pilgrim in ihram is not allowed to get rid of his bodily hair or from the body of someone else. If he does so, then he has to pay the penalty as explained in the detailed manuals of hajj.
15. A pilgrim in ihram is allowed to scratch his head as long as a hair is not pulled or broken. If he combs his head or beard with his fingers without any necessity and a hair breaks loose, then he has to feed a handful of grain for the poor. However, if this happens while doing the wudhu, then there is no penalty on him.
16. One should refrain from using a comb unless he is sure that its use will not cause a hair to be pulled out. This is based on obligatory precaution.
17. A male pilgrim in the state of ihram is not allowed to cover his head, not even a part of it, by a cloth or something similar like a kerchief or a napkin. If he covers his head, then, based on precaution, he has to pay a penalty in form of sacrificing a sheep. This penalty is once only even if he covers his head multiple times. He is, of course, allowed to cover it by his limbs, like his hand. And there will be no penalty if he covers his head out of necessity.
18. Covering the Head for Male Pilgrim: Covering the head from the sun and, based on obligatory precaution, even from the rain. This covering can be of two types:
(a) The shade is from the moving entities like an umbrella while one is walking, or a moving vehicle or a flying airplane. A male pilgrim in ihram is not allowed to shade his head under these items while in motion. What if the shade is sideways? Based on precaution, it is necessary to refrain from that kind of shade also except when the sun rays still come over the head and the chest. The prohibition is applicable while traveling to Mecca as well as to the plains around Mecca or even when traveling within the city itself.
(b) The shade is from the stationary entities like a wall, a tunnel, and a tree. A pilgrim is allowed to sit or stay under the shade of such items. Based on what has been mentioned above, a male pilgrim in the ihram is allowed to travel in a covered vehicle from the miqat to Mecca, and from Mecca to ‘Arafat, etc, at nighttime when it is not raining. If it starts raining while he is traveling at night, then he should ask the driver to stop the vehicle until the rain stops. (He does not need to get out of the vehicle.) But if the driver of the rental car or bus does not accede to the pilgrim’s request, then there is no penalty on the pilgrim.
19. A male pilgrim in the state of ihram is allowed to use the elevators in the buildings.
20. Ladies and children are allowed to travel in covered vehicle and shade themselves from the sun and the rain. This also applies to the men out of necessity, e.g., medical reason; however, such men have to pay the penalty as mentioned below.
21. If a male pilgrim in the state of ihram shades himself, by choice or force, from the sun or the rain, then he has to pay the penalty in form of sacrificing a sheep. However, if he does so out of ignorance of prohibition, then there is no penalty on him; similarly, if he was forced to shade himself.
22. Looking in the Mirror: The pilgrim is not allowed to look in the mirror for adorning himself. However, if it is done for other reason (such as the driver who needs to look into the rearview or side mirrors), then that would be permissible.
23. The pilgrim is allowed to use the cameras even if it involves looking into the lenses or the side screen, etc.
24. Please make a note that the coloured contact-lenses are considered as cosmetic items and therefore a pilgrim in ihram should refrain from using them.
25. Using prescribed glass is permissible.
26. The male pilgrim in ihram is allowed to travel in a covered vehicle at nighttime as well as between dawn and sunrise. This is also permissible when there are heavy clouds on the sky in such a way that then prevent the sun rays provided there is no rain.
27. The pilgrim is allowed to scratch his body or peel the dry skin from his lips provided it does not cause bleeding normally.
28. There is no penalty on those who are in ihram if they see in the mirrors placed at the washing sink, bathroom or elevators as long as it is not done for cosmetic reason.
29. Whenever the pilgrim is required to pay the penalty of sacrificing an animal for a violation done in the state of ihram for ‘umrah tamattu‘ or hajj tamattu‘, then the sacrifice should be done in Mina, based on obligatory precaution. However, if he could not do so in Mina, then he is permitted to do that in his hometown.
30. The penalty of sacrifice done by the pilgrim must be distributed among the poor and the needy. If the pilgrim cannot find a poor or a needy person in Mina, then he can contact (e.g., by phone) a deserving person in another city to seek his permission to reasonably dispose the sacrifice on his behalf and then pay him its value later on. If that is not possible, then he is allowed to delay the sacrifice until he return back to his city.
Note that there are some rules pertaining to the female pilgrims which will come later on.