Rules for Lady Pilgrims

Rules for Lady Pilgrims

Majority of rules of ‘umarh and hajj apply equally upon the male as well as the female pilgrims. However, there are certain rules that are specific to women and that is what I would like to address in this chapter so that their issues can become clear. Of course, the basic rules will also be summarized.


1. The five obligatory rituals of ‘umrah are: ihram, tawaf, salat of tawaf, sa‘i, and taqsir.

2. The rules for ihram at miqat or by nadhr for a lady pilgrim are same as that for the male.
However, the validity of her nadhr (for putting on the ihram at other than miqat) depends on her husband’s consent if that violates the conjugal rights of the husband.
A lady can use her normal clothes for ihram. And she should do the niyyat and the talbiyya in the same way as the men do.

3. Monthly cycle or post-natal bleeding prevents a female pilgrim from doing the tawaf and its salat but does not prevent her from doing most of the rituals of ‘umrah and hajj: she can put on the ihram from the miqat, do the sa‘i between Safa and Marwah, stay in ‘Arafat and Muzdalifa, and fulfill the rituals of Mina while she still is in her cycle.

4. Unlike the male pilgrim, a female pilgrim is allowed to wear stitched/sewn clothes except gloves. Therefore, she is allowed to wear her normal clothes as ihram provided it is not made of pure silk. This is based on precaution.

5. Unlike the male pilgrim, a lady in ihram is allowed to wear socks, etc. to over the upper part of her feet.

6. A lady in ihram is forbidden from wearing jewelry with cosmetic purpose except what she normally wears before putting on the ihram. Of course, if she does wear extra jewelry, then there is no penalty on her even though it is haram for her to do it.

7. It is forbidden for a lady pilgrim in ihram to cover her face by putting on some thing like burqa or niqab. Based on obligatory precaution, neither is she allowed to cover her face by any kind of covering nor to cover her face partially with a tissue paper or handkerchief.

By “face” it means that part of the face which is washed in wudhu. At the time of salat she may cover a part of her forehead as a preliminary step of covering her hair but after the salat, based on obligatory precaution, she must uncover the forehead. This is to be done if she cannot extend the front portion of her scarf which does not cover her face but sufficiently covers her forehead. She is also allowed to extend the front portion of her scarf in presence of a non-mahram person but she should then push it back to its normal position at other times. However, if a lady violates this rule by covering her face, then there is no penalty on her.

8. Based on obligatory precaution, a lady in ihram is not allowed to wear a maqna‘a (tight-fitting headgear) because it covers the face on the sides, including the upper chin which is part of the face.

9. Based on precaution, ladies in ihram are not allowed to put on masks to prevent dusts, etc. because they are not allowed to cover their faces even partially.

10. Using a tissue paper to blow the nose, for example in flu, does not constitute covering of the face. That is, it is permissible.

11. A lady in ihram is allowed, if she likes, to cover her face while sleeping, and there is no penalty on her for doing that.

12. Unlike the men, ladies in ihram are allowed to travel in covered vehicles in all circumstances.

13. If a lady gets her cycle in ‘umrah at-tamattu‘ (before or after or at time of putting the ihram) and reaches Mecca while she has enough time before starting the hajj, then she should wait until she becomes pure. Once she has purified herself, then she can fulfill the ‘umrah rituals of tawaf, salat of tawaf, sa‘i, and taqsir. Then she can put on the ihram for hajj at-tamattu‘.

14. If a lady gets her cycle in ‘umrah at-tamattu‘ (before or after or at time of putting the ihram) and reaches Mecca while she does not have enough time before starting the hajj, then her hajj at-tamattu‘ changes into hajj al-ifrad. She will do the rituals of hajj and thereafter she will do the ‘umrah mufradah if that is possible.

15. If a lady gets her cycle after putting on the ihram, then she is allowed to continue her ‘umrah by doing the rituals other than tawaf and salat of tawaf. Therefore, she should do sa‘i between Safa and Marwah and do taqsir; then she should put on the ihram for hajj and do the rituals of ‘Arafat, Muzdalifa, and Mina. After her return to Mecca, she should then do the qaza of tawaf of ‘umrah and its salat – this she should do before doing the tawaf of hajj and its salat.

16. If a lady is sure that her cycle will continue and that she will not be able to do tawaf even after returning from Mina, then she should appoint someone to do the tawaf and salat of tawaf on her behalf. Once the tawaf and its salat is done on her behalf, then she can do the sa‘i by herself.

17. If a lady fears that her cycle will start at a time when she will not be able to do the tawaf of hajj and its salat as well as the tawafun nisa’ and its salat after returning from Mina – then she is allowed to do both the tawafs and their salats as well as the sa‘i after putting on the ihram for hajj before going to ‘Arafat.

18. After the ihram, the second obligatory ritual is tawaf. Just like the male pilgrim, she also has to do the niyyat with sincerity as explained in the earlier part of the book. One of the conditions of tawaf is maintaining the ritual purity which means being free from the major impurity like menses as well as the minor impurity like urine, and also keeping the clothes and body pure from najasat.

19. The third obligation in ‘umrah at-tamattu‘ is tawaf and its salat.

20. Based on obligatory precaution, a lady in istihazah qalilah or mutawassitah has to do separate wudhu for tawaf and salat of tawaf.

And a lady in istihazah kathirah whose bleeding does not fully cover the napkin can do the tawaf and its salat with one ghusl only. However, if the bleeding fully covers the napkin, then based on obligatory precaution, she has to do a second ghusl before doing the salat of tawaf. Of course, if at the end of the tawaf the bleeding does not cover the napkin, then she can say the salat of tawaf without doing another ghusl. (“Istihazah” means irregular bleeding. “Istihazah qalilah” means slight bleeding; “istihazah mutawassitah” means medium bleeding; “istihazah kathirah” means profuse bleeding.)

21. A slight gap between the tawaf and the salat of tawaf because of doing wudhu or ghusl in case of a lady with istihazah does not harm the continuity of these two rituals. However, if going to do wudhu or ghusl will create a considerable gap between the tawaf and its salat, then she should do tayammum (instead of the wudhu or the ghusl) inside the Mosque itself or near it.

22. A lady is allowed to take pills to prevent her monthly cycle during the time of pilgrimage.

23. If a lady who takes pills to prevent her cycle sees bleed, then that bleeding will be considered istihazah (irregular bleeding) and not the regular cycle.

24. The next obligatory ritual is sa‘i. The niyyat would be same as mentioned in earlier part of this book.

25. The recommending of walking briskly between the pillars is only for men and not for women.

26. The next obligatory ritual is taqsir. The niyyat would be same as mentioned in earlier part of this book.

27. A lady pilgrim should do taqsir by cutting a little of her hair. She is not allowed to shave her head.

28. After completing ‘umrah at-tamattu‘, it is time for hajj which consists of thirteen rituals as follows:

1. ihram in Mecca;

2. staying in ‘Arafat;

3. staying at Muzdalifa;

4. stoning the ‘Uqbah Pillar in Mina;

5. sacrificing an animal in Mina;

6. halq or taqsir;

7. tawaf of hajj;

8. salat of tawaf;

9. sa‘i;

10. tawafun nisa’;

11. salat of tawafun nisa’;

12. mabit in Mina;

13. stoning the pillars in Mina. This has already been mentioned in the earlier part of the book.

29. As far as a female pilgrim is concerned, just a nominal stay at Muzdalifa is sufficient for her even if she has the ability to stay for the entire night. She is also allowed to stone the ‘Uqbah Pillar on the eve of ‘Idd even though it is possible for her to do that on the day of ‘Idd.