Common mistakes that WOMEN make during Hajj or Umrah
By Asma bint Shameem

Mistake # 1:Thinking that their Ihraam is the 'cap' they wear over their head:

Some of my sisters get confused about what Ihraam means and they think it's the cap that they put on over their hair and they don't take it off no matter what, thinking they will "break their Ihraam".
My dear sisters, Ihraam is not a set of clothes rather it's a state that you enter into. Putting on any item of clothing when you enter into the state of Ihraam does not mean that you cannot take it off later. And taking it off does NOT mean that you ended your Ihraam. That's why the Ulama say we can change our Ihraam (meaning our clothes), and even wash it if it gets dirty.
"It is permissible for the pilgrim in ihraam for Hajj or 'Umrah to change his ihraam clothes and put on another set of ihraam clothes, and that does not affect his ihraam for Hajj or 'Umrah." (Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, Fataawa al-Lajnah, 11/185)

Mistake #2. Excessive fear of breaking their hair.

Some sisters have excessive fear of breaking their hair. So much so that they don't take off their scarf/dupatta/hijaab,even when they're by themselves or among just women. They are so worried about their hair breaking, that they don't even take off their headpiece for making wudhu.
Dear sisters, realize that this is a trick of the Shaytaan. Think about it. If you don't do wudhu properly, would your prayer be valid? Would your tawaaf be valid?
Do you really think Allaah would hold you accountable if you did something that was not in your control? No of course not. He is The Most Merciful. He is the Most Forgiving. Then, why would He would nullify your ihraam just because a few hair fell out on their own, something that was out of your control! The prohibition is for the hair to be cut, plucked, shaved, etc. ON PURPOSE. Not INvoluntarily.

Mistake # 3: Thinking Nothing can touch your face

Some sisters have this wrong notion that it is not allowed for anything to touch their face while in ihraam. So they don't wipe their faces with a towel, after doing wudhu and they don't let anything else touch their faces, either. And some of my niqaabi sisters put a cap on heir head and then drape a piece of cloth over the cap in such a way that the cloth does not touch their face. This has no basis in Islaam. Remember, there is nothing wrong with anything touching the face of the woman in ihraam.
Shaikh Ibn Baaz said: "Many women wear a headband under the veil to keep it away from the face. This action has no basis." (Fataawa bin Baaz)
Some sisters might be doing this action, based on the hadeeth of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) when he said: "Women should not wear niqaab or gloves." (al-Bukhaari)
Although this hadeeth is authentic, it does NOT mean that nothing can touch the face. It only means that the women should not wear 'niqab' (or veil) itself, the way it is stitched to be worn over the face. That's all.
In fact, the niqaabi sisters should definitely try and cover their faces with something else other than the niqaab, when they fear that there will be men around. And when the men are gone, they can uncover their faces.
This is how our Mother Aaishah Radhi Allaahu anha covered herself when she was in ihraam.
She said: "The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) in ihraam. When they came alongside us we would lower our jilbaabs from our heads over our faces, and when they had passed by we would uncover them." ( Abu Dawood--saheeh by al-Albaani)
Shaikh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: "It is not narrated that the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) forbade the woman in ihraam to cover her face; rather he forbade the niqaab only because it is worn on the face. He differentiated between the niqaab and covering the face. Based on this, if a woman in ihraam covers her face, we say there is nothing wrong with that, but it is better for her to uncover it so long as there are no non-mahram men around her, in which case she should cover her face from them." (Al-Sharh al-Mumti', 7/153)

Mistake # 4: Getting their hair cut ONLY by someone who has exited ihram

This is also a very common misconception. The sisters think that ONLY the one who is NOT in ihraam, can cut their hair, once they've finished with their rituals. And they refuse to cut their own hair to exit ihraam nor do they allow another sister who has not yet exited ihraam to cut it for them, thinking that she is not allowed to do that for them. This is a wrong notion.
Actually, if you think about it, you are supposed to cut your hair when you finish with all the rituals. The way to get out of ihraam IS to cut your hair once you're done with your Sa'i, right? So you're not doing anything wrong if you cut your own hair, or ask some other sister, who is still in ihraam, to cut it for you.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) commanded his companions,during the Farewell Pilgrimage:
"Let him cut his (meaning, his own) hair then exit ihraam." (al-Bukhaari, Muslim)

Mistake # 5: Not going to the Jamaraat or Muzdalifah

Some of my sisters delegate someone else to go throw the pebbles on their behalf for no valid reason. They just get scared of the crowd or sometimes, they get plain old lazy, not understanding the importance of doing it themselves,even if they are able.
I say to my sisters; Masha Allaah, Allaah has blessed us with health. Alhamdulillaah, we are young, energetic, confident, and capable. We are able to do anything and everything when we are back home and yet, when it comes to Hajj and the Jamaraat, all of a sudden we become "frail, little, weaklings who cannot go throw the pebbles".
Don't be lazy about the rituals of Hajj. Realize the significance of doing everything yourself if you have the ability. There's no need to be scared at all. Yes, many years ago, we heard horror stories of stampedes, and people suffocating or hurting themselves. But now, no more. Alhamdulillaah, the Saudi government has renovated the whole Jamaraat complex a few years ago and it is the easiest thing in the world. I have seen old people in wheelchairs, people on crutches, and kids as little as 3 and 4 years old, throwing the pebbles themselves. So don't get scared and do it yourself.

Think of all the reward you will get and all the sins that will be forgiven for you.Yes, indeed, if there is a lot of crowd or your safety is an issue, we as women, are allowed to go later than the rest of the crowd and we can delay the stoning until the evening or the night.
"It is permissible to delay their (meaning women) stoning of the Jamrah until the crowding is less or has stopped, and there is nothing wrong with them doing that." (Fatawa shaikh Uthaymeen)
Similarly, for staying in Muzdalifah, it is better for you, if you are able, to stay the whole night in Muzdalfah. Yes, it is allowed for women to leave after half the night has passed, if there is an excuse such as sickness, weakness, or just because we are women. BUT, it is better if you do stay the whole night following the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam). So don't chicken out.

Mistake # 6: Crowding with the men

In trying to touch the Black Stone, I see some of my sisters, being pushed and shoved (unintentionally) by men all around, totally squished in between them, their hijaab half way or even totally off of their heads, sweating profusely, red in the face and having difficulty breathing, some falling or even collapsing because of the pressure of the crowds. Trying to get in that Hajj crowd is next to impossible for a woman without experiencing all of the above.
Think about it sisters. Touching the Black Stone is a beautiful Sunnah. But it is a Sunnah. And protecting yourself and your hayaa from coming in contact with all the strange men is a FARDH.
So beware, my sisters, of crowding with men in all the rituals of Hajj, especially during tawaaf and at the Black Stone, during Sa'i and when stoning the Jamaraat. Choose times when there is less crowding. Umm al-Mu'mineen Aaishah used to do tawaaf in an area away from the men, and she did not touch the Black Stone or the Yemeni Corner if there was crowding. It was narrated that 'Ata' said: "Aaishah used to do tawaaf far away from the men, not mixing with them." A woman said: "O Mother of the Believers, let us go and touch the Black Stone!" She said: "Go yourself," and she refused to go."
In my opinion, the best place for us women to do tawaaf is up on the roof of the Masjid. Now it may seem like a big distance from far, but I promise you, all it takes is an hour and 10 minutes,to be precise, to complete a tawaaf, walking at an average pace.
Now the Shaytaan may play with your mind and make it seem like a lot. But then ask yourself this...don't you easily, easily, walk an hour ten minutes in the mall? Well then.....? And you know what? It takes the same amount of time to do tawaaf downstairs as well! How's ask?
Because of the large amount of people, you are moving at a much slower pace downstairs (actually, barely moving) and it just takes longer because of that. As compared to that, it's much easier on the roof; you are moving at a faster pace, it is cooler up there and you will have more khushoo' because you will not be worried about bumping into or coming in contact with other strange men.

Mistake # 7: Rushing through Ibaadah. Remember it's about quality, NOT quantity

Some sisters rush through their Ibaadaat, whether it is their Salah, dua, Tawaaf or any other Ibaadah, wanting to do it quickly, focusing on the quantity of their Ibaadah rather than the quality.
Remember, dear sisters, that Allaah will look at the quality of your worship, NOT your quantity. And that's why our deeds will be weighed on the Day of Judgment and not counted. If you do pray two rakah with khushoo', concentrating on what you are saying, beseeching Allaah with humility, wouldn't that be better and more acceptable to Allaah than even 50 or even a 100 rakah quickly pecking the ground, without knowing a word of what you are saying?
Every time you do any Ibaadah, check to see whether you have khushoo or not? Are you focused in what you are doing? Do you know the meaning of what you are saying or asking? Are you moving at a slow, measured pace or are you rushing through it?
Remember what the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said:
"The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer!" The Companions asked, "Oh Messenger of Allah! How does one steal from his prayers?" The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) responded, "He does not complete his bowing, nor his prostrations." Or he said "He does not straighten his backbone while bowing and prostrating." (Ahmed, al-Tabarani, others-- authentic)
And that's also why one Tawaaf upstairs with Khushoo' is better than 3 downstairs in which there is no khushoo'.

Mistake # 8 : Misbehaving in the Masjid of the Prophet

One of the worst mistakes that I see the sisters making is at the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam)'s Masjid. When the doors are opened in the morning and evening, for the sisters so that they can visit the Raudah of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam), they totally lose all sense of who they are, where they are and what they are doing. They run like a wild animal let loose, shouting and screaming in ignorance, pushing each other, trampling anyone and everyone that comes in their way, be it a small child or an old woman, their mother's age!
Subhaan Allaah sisters! Is this what the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) taught us?! Is this the way you behave in a Masjid, let alone the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam)'s Masjid?! Is this the respect he (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) deserves from you?!
Remember when visiting the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam)'s Masjid, to behave with honor and dignity, with the hayaa' that Allaah has adorned you with, as a believing Muslim woman would. Remember to keep your voice soft and your walk paced. Don't shove, push, harm or hurt your fellow Muslim sisters. Even if you didn't get a chance to pray in that area, if you let your sister pray there for the sake of Allaah just because she is your Muslim sister, Allaah will reward you, and He knows best, perhaps even more than He would have, had you yourself had a chance to pray there!

Mistake # 9: Wasting precious time in Mina


I see so many sisters wasting their time talking with each other, about nothing specific, mingling and socializing with the other Hajjis, while they are staying in Mina and even on the day of Arafah, which is the most important day of Hajj! They forget that these are the most blessed days in which Ibaadah is dearest to Allaah. Thy forget that Mina is not a place to socialize; rather it is a place for ibaadah and dhikr and istighfaar and dua. They forget that Day of Arafah is THE DAY for Hajj. That's what this whole journey is all about. Instead of remembering Allaah, they busy themselves with idle talk, laughing, joking, even gheebah and gossip.
Now, there's nothing wrong with talking for a little bit and to enquire about each other's well being, etc. In fact, it becomes an act of Ibaadah if you talk with that niyyah of being kind and polite to your fellow Muslim or for taking a little rest in between your ibadah to refresh yourself. But when this talking takes over one's time and this is what a person is doing the majority of the time in Mina, then it becomes an a serious issue of wasting precious time. And in the end, no one loses but you.
Sisters, don't you want to utilize this beautiful blessed time to make dua and maximize your chance of acceptance with Allaah? Don't you want to spend these blessed days in the dhikr of Allaah and asking Him to forgive you? After all, this is a chance that may never come back. You can always talk later, but these days in Mina once gone will be gone. So remember this and don't get pulled in when others are doing it and remind them gently. It will be written as good deeds for you, bi idhnillaah.

Mistake # 10 : Being uncovered in Muzdalifah.

Muzdalifah is an open ground and there are no tents, etc and the bathrooms are in an open field. When the sisters make wudhu there, they forget that they are in an open area and there are men everywhere who can see them. Yet, they take off their Hijaabs and dupattas right in front of them to make wudhu, thus exposing themselves. So don't spoil all the hard work and good deeds that you had been earning before and keep yourself covered at all times. So how does one make wudhu in such a situation?
There is an easy solution to all of this. Whenever you need to make wudhu, go with a few sisters as a group and take turns making wudhu while the other sisters can hold up a piece of cloth, hijaab, etc in such a way as to cover you and hide you completely. This way no one can see you insha Allaah.
May Allaah enable us to perform Hajj according to the Sunnah of the Prophet(Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam), in a manner that is most pleasing to Him. May Allaah accept this Hajj from all of us and make it Mabroor. Ameen.