Despite the hot-streak of weather during summer, the month of Ramadan is right at the heels of Shaban, and many pilgrims will take this chance to visit Makkah and Madinah: Umrah is the preferred ritual to amass blessings in this month.

People from all around the world would come to the Holy cities to perform Umrah, but it’s important that the pilgrims are mindful of the rituals that precede and follow Umrah.

Two such rituals are al-Halq and al-Tsqsir; these are compulsory acts that need to be performed in Hajj and Umrah. Many people are unaware of their significance in the completion of the Holy Rituals of Hajj and Umrah; and whilst their details can be a bit sketchy across various sites and blog-posts, their importance in the completion of the over-arching rituals is unshakeable.

Halq and Taqsir’s Definitions

Halq, an Arabic word, refers to “cutting (or shaving)” of hair. Only two words in Quran are derived from this root, and both of them concern Hajj. Taqsir, on the other hand, is derived from “al-Qasr” that means “to shorten”.

Thus, Halq means to shave the entire head with razor, and Taqsir means to trim the hair. Men should do either Halq or Taqsir.

The Appropriate Methodology for Men

Whilst Halq is uncomplicated in nature, Taqsir can prove to be troublesome as most people are unaware as to how much of the hairs need to be cut to abide by the teachings. Taqsir, in Islamic tradition, implies cutting the hair of a quarter of the head equal to a finger digit in length.

To err on the side of caution, it’s for the best that the male pilgrims cut a bit more than this prescribed length to make sure that the shorter hairs present at the centre of the head are also cut equal to a finger digit in length.

Some people believe that if they just cut a couple of strands of hair with a pair of scissors, their ritual is complete. This is wrong for Hanafis, and doing so won’t remove the restrictions of Ihram from the Muhrim; so it’s important to be careful here or else the Muhrim will have to pay expiations that are bound to put extra burden upon his limited budget.

The Appropriate Methodology for Women

It’s Haram for women to shave off their heads in Islam; so, for women, Taqsir is the appropriate choice. The ritual’s parameters are far more flexible for women: they can simply cut the hair from the end of the plait of hair a little more than the length of a finger digit; female Muhrims have to be mindful as at least the hair of one quarter of the head must be cut.

Expiations

As with any Hajj and Umrah ritual, failure to perform the tasks in the prescribed manner does result in penalties or expiations; hence, men aren’t allowed to shave or trim the bread less than a fist-length. Dam is Wajib if the hair of a quarter of head, beard, more than that is cut; Sadaqah becomes compulsory if hair of less than a quarter are cut.

A Woman has to pay Dam if she crops the hair of a quarter of her head or that of her whole head equal to a finger digit in length. She’ll have to pay Sadaqah if the length is less than a finger digit.

So, in order to avoid such mishaps, make sure to read and go prepared even for the smallest ritual that’s important for the completion of Umrah and coming out of the state of Ihram.

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