RULES REGARDING THE HAIRCUT DURING HAJJ/UMRAH?
May Allah make your trip and blessed one and accept your prayers and worship, Ameen. Men have two options when they complete the Hajj or Umrah; either they can shave the head (which is called Halq) or they can trim the head (which is called Qasr). The Prophet prayed for those who shave their head and those who trim it, so both are permissible (Sunan Tirmidhi, Book of Hajj, Hadith no. 837). In your case, it is better to perform Qasr each and every time, and then shave it the last time you perform the Umrah. Do not symbolically snip a few hairs from each side as Qasr. This is wrong and forbidden in Shariah. It in fact resembles the Jews who deliberately have uneven amount of hairs on their head. Instead, perform the Qasr at a barber and ensure he does cut an equal amount all over the head.
WHAT ARE THE RULES REGARDING IHRAM (PORTS OF MIQAAT)?
When a person performs Hajj or Umra, then there are certain ports outside Makka from where the person must ensure he/she is in a state of Ihram. These ports are called Miqaat. These are the names and locations of the Mawaaqits; Zul-Hulaifah; this is for those coming from the direction of Madina Sharif. Yalamlam; this is for those coming from the direction of Yemen, India and Pakistan. Juhfah; this is for those coming from the direction of Egypt, North Africa and Europe. Qaran ul-Manazil; this is for those coming from the direction of Najd. Zaat Irq; this is for those coming from the direction of Iraq. As you rightly pointed out, the people already in Makka go to the outskirts of Makka to Masjid Aisha where they wear the Ihram.
IS PERSON APPOINTING SOMEONE ELSE TO DO QURBANI ALLOWED TO CUT HAIR/NAILS?
When a person is performing the Hajj, then there are certain restrictions placed on what the person in the state of Ihram can and cannot do. During this state, the person cannot cut nails and cannot trim his hair. The Haji is released from the state of Ihram when the Qurbani is done, either by himself or by the appointed representative. Note that this is particular to those performing Hajj. Such restrictions are not placed on those performing the Qurbani as part of the requirement of Eid al-Adha.
PRAYING 2 RAKAATS FOR IHRAM ?
The two Rak’ats for the Ihram are Sunna; Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that he saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) perform two Rak’ats at Zul-Hulaifa when he wore the Ihram. We are told it is better to recite Surah Kafirun in the first Rak’at and Surah Ikhlas in the second.
WHO CAN BE A MEHRAM?
It is difficult to answer this question as you have not clarified what type of cousin it is. Hence, I will list the ties which a person cannot marry, as clarified by Imam al-Quduri, the classicial Hanafi scholar; A Muslim man cannot marry the following: Son (son’s son, daughter’s son, husband’s son by another woman) Father (Father’s father, mother’s father) Brother real or step (in having same father or mother) Brother’s son Sister’s son Father’s brother Mother’s brother Foster son (through breast-feeding only) Foster brother (through breast-feeding only) Son-in-law Stepfather Husband Father-in-law.
IS IT PERMISSIBLE TO TRAVEL WITH MY ADOPTED SISTERS FOR UMRAH AS THEIR MEHRAM?
If the sister in question has been formally adopted, then she is a Mehram, and thus she is suitable as a partner for Umrah. Please note that it will be worthwhile taking official documents to Saudi Arabia to prove she is your adopted sister in case of any problems.
CAN A PERSON USE A SLEEPING BAG AS THIS WILL COVER HIS FEET?
In the state of Ihram, the man should leave his feet uncovered so that the bones on the upper part of the feet are left exposed. He should not wear sandals that cover the upper part. Using a sleeping bag is merely a means of keeping oneself warm; it is not a part of clothing as such. Therefore he can use it in extreme weather. The head and face of a man should be left exposed at all times during the Ihram state.
IS STEP BROTHER A MEHRAM?
Once the parents are married legally, then the step-children will have the same rulings as conventional children. In other words, they will be considered as normal brothers and sisters in Shariah. Therefore, they are classified as Mehrams.
DRINKING ZAM ZAM WATER WHILE STANDING?
In a Hadith recorded by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih (Book of Hajj, Chapter, what has been mentioned about Zamzam, Hadith no. 1529), it is mentioned that the Prophet was offered Zam Zam water, and he drank it standing up. In accordance to this practice, we too stand when we drink Zam Zam water. Ordinary water and drinks should be consumed whilst sitting. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade from drinking whilst standing (Sahih Muslim, Book of Drinks, Chapter; the disliked nature of drinking whilst standing, Hadith no. 3772).
CAN A WOMAN GO TO HAJJ WITH A GROUP OF WOMEN, WITHOUT HER OWN MEHRAM?
Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) has a very strong opinion on the issue of women travelling without Mahram. Therefore in Hanafi Mazhab a woman should not travel alone or with a group of women or with a person who is not Mahram. However according to Imam Shafeyee, women are allowed to travel in groups for the sake of importance of Hajj. Perhaps many Hajj organisers are following the opinion of Imam Shafeyee nowadays. This is not a matter of Hajj, but a Shariah ruling on the matter of travel by women. The Hajj of a woman who travels without a Mahram will still be valid if performed correctly. However it is highly preferable, that for the purposes of Hajj, a highly auspicious event and one of the five pillars of Islam, care is taken to follow Shariah rulings in the best possible way.
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We have provided some instruction on the process of Hajj and Umrah