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Last Updated: 2010/09/10
Summary of question
Are a woman and her husband in Ihram strangers to each other while performing hajj?
Is it true that when a woman and her husband are on a hajj journey, they become strangers to each other? Please explain.
Concise answer

A man and his wife are strangers to each other during hajj while they are in Ihram. Sexual union is forbidden for them and they cannot derive sexual pleasures from each other. To further explain this, there are certain prohibitions in hajj rituals. These prohibitions (apart from hunting wild animals, plucking grass and uprooting trees which are restricted to Mecca and the boundaries of Haram[1]) have nothing to do with one’s presence in Mecca. In fact, it is forbidden for a person in Ihram to commit sexual intercourse irrespective of whether he is inside or outside of Mecca.

One of the prohibitions of Ihram is sexual intercourse. It is therefore forbidden for a man and his wife to have sexual intercourse with each other. Likewise, kissing, touching and looking with passion and seeking any kinds of pleasures are forbidden for them.  In case a person is in Ihram and he commits this act (sexual intercourse), he will be liable to a penalty[2] of a camel, as an obligatory precaution.[3]

The prohibitions continue insofar as a person performs Tawaf al-Nisa and offers its prayers. It is only after performing these two acts that a man and his wife become lawful for each other.[4] May Allah grant you success.

[1] - Khomeini, Rohullah, Hajj Rituals (with annotations), p.198, Issue No.478, Mash’ar Publications, 4th edition, Tehran, Iran, 1416 A.H.; Majlisi, Muhammad Taqi, Lawamei’ of Sahibqurani better known as Sharh al-Faqih, vol.8, p.316, Ismailiyan Institute, 2nd edition, qom 1414 A.H.

[2] - Khomeini, Rohullah, Hajj Rituals (with annotations), p.154 and 155.

[3] - Khomeini, Rohullah, Hajj Rituals (with annotations), p.156

[4] - Khomeini, Rohullah, Hajj Rituals (with annotations), p.98, Issue No.180

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