The Ihram’s compulsory for various types of Hajj and Umrah. It’s also regarded as the rukn (pillar) of Islam. All schools of thoughts agree that Ihram’s adorned at the predetermined sacred boundaries (Miqaat), depending upon from which direction the pilgrims approach Makkah.

As it’s considered an obligation upon the pilgrims, it requires them to observe certain restrictions, as well. Here are the prominent restrictions imposed upon the wearer of Ihram (muhrim):

Marriage

Different schools of thoughts have different views on marriage: Imamiyyah, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools don’t permit the muhrim to enter into the contract of marriage for himself or on behalf of another. He also can’t act as an agent to conclude the contract. Imamiyyah forbid the muhrim to act as a witness to such a contract, as well. Abu Hanifah, however, permits the marriage contract and the concluded contract’s considered valid.

In the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Imamiyyah schools, the muhrim can revoke the divorce of his former wife during the period of ‘iddah. Hanbali doesn’t consider it permissible.

According to the Imamiyyah school of thought, if a muhrim enters the marriage contract despite being aware of its prohibition, the woman becomes haram for him for life upon the act of concluding the contract (albeit the marriage hasn’t been consummated).

Intercourse

All schools of thoughts are in agreement that the muhrim’s not permitted to engage in any sexual activity with his wife. If he shares sexual intimacy with his wife before tahlil (relief from the state of Ihram), his Hajj becomes void; he must perform it again next year, without his wife. The ‘seclusion’ is an obligation according to Imamiyyah, Maliki, and Hanbali schools, and voluntary in the Shafi’i and Hanafi. (Furthermore, according to the Imamiyyah, Shafi’i, and Maliki schools, the muhrim must sacrifice a camel in atonement, and in Hanafi school, a sheep.)

All schools of thoughts agree that if the intercourse’s committed after the first tahlil, his Hajj isn’t void; however, he must offer a sacrifice (in accordance with the rules) as an expiation.

If the wife initiates the intercourse, her Hajj, too, becomes void and the sacrifice becomes an obligation upon her; she must also repeat the Hajj next year (if she wasn’t in the state of ihram, then nothing’s required from her); however, if the husband initiated the act, then she isn’t obliged to offer the sacrifice—instead the husband’s required to offer to sacrifices: one on his behalf, and the other on hers.

All schools are in agreement that if the husband kisses his wife, his Hajj isn’t void if ejaculation doesn’t occur. The four Sunni schools, however, state that he’s required to offer a sacrifice. If the ejaculation occurs, then the Hajj becomes void according to the Maliki school, but remains valid according to others; he, however, has to offer sacrifice in expiation.

Use of Perfume

The schools unanimously agree that the muhrim can’t make use of any perfume for smelling, using on the body, or scenting edibles. It also isn’t permitted to wash the body of the muhrim or perform hunut, which is the application of camphor. If the perfume’s used in forgetfulness, then he doesn’t need to make any offerings in the Imamiyyah and Shafi’i schools; however, in Hanafi and Maliki schools, he’s obliged to make a sacrificial offering (fidyah).

If a muhrim uses the perfume intentionally, then according to Imamiyyah school, he must offer a sheep (regardless of its use on the body or as an edible substance). The use of perfume or perfumed substance is allowed if it’s a part of a medicine or medicinal substance.

Use of Kohl

Kohl’s permissibility is covered in the following two traditions:

Al Tadhkirah states: “There is consensus among the Imamiyyah legists on the point that darkening the eyelids with kohl or applying a kohl containing perfume is not permissible for the muhrim, man or woman. Apart from that (i.e. ihram) it is permissible.”

According to the author of al Mughni, “Kohl containing antimony is makruh, and does not require any fidyah. I haven’t come across any different opinion on this topic. However, there is no karahah in use of kohl without antimony, as long as it does not contain any perfume.”

Shortening of Nails and Hair and Cutting of Trees

All five schools of thoughts agree that the muhrim isn’t permitted to shorten the nails and shave or shorten the hairs on the head or body. In case of negligence, a fidyah’s required. It’s also not permissible to cut or uproot anything that grows naturally within the Haram.

Al Shafi’i’ states that there’s no difference between the two in regards to the prohibition, and fidyah is required for both: “cutting of a big tree requires fidyah of a cow, and of other plants, a sheep.” Malik states that the cutting of a tree is a sin; however, nothing is required of the offender, regardless of the fact that it was grown with or without “human mediation”.

Imamiyyah, Hanafi, and Hanbali schools state that cutting anything planted by human hands is allowed and doesn’t require a fidyah; but that that’s grown by Nature, requires one. All schools agree that it’s permissible to cut down a dead or dry tree or to root out dry grass.

Looking into a Mirror

Whilst the muhrim isn’t allowed to look into a mirror, all schools agree that no expiation or fidyah’s required for doing that. It’s permitted to look into the water.

Use of Henna

The muhrim, man or woman, is allowed to dye any part of his body with henna, except the head. Shafi’i school permits it with the exception of hands and feet. Hanafi school forbids it completely. Imamiyyah consider the practice makruh, not haram.

Use of Shade; Covering the Head

A muhrim man isn’t allowed to cover his head. Maliki and Imamiyyah schools state that he isn’t allowed to submerge his head completely underwater; however, all schools except the Shafi’i agree that he can wash his head or pour water over it. No fidyah’s required of him according to the Imamiyyah and Shafi’i schools; but it’s required of him in the Hanafi school.

Save for the Shafi’i school, the muhrim isn’t allowed to shade himself whilst moving. He isn’t permitted to ride an automobile or a plane or anything that’s covered by a roof; however, there isn’t any restriction upon him to pass under a shadow.

Stitched Clothing and Ring

Stitched clothing, one which encircles the body parts, is forbidden. Women are permitted to wear them except for gloves and clothes that are scented with perfume. Imamiyyah school states that if the muhrim wears them in ignorance, he isn’t required to make a sacrifice; however, if he wears them to protect himself from heat or cold, he’s required to make one.

It isn’t permissible for a muhrim, man or woman, to wear jewelry for the sake of adornment.

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