Why there is a gender mixing during Hajj and Umrah – Pilgrimage in Mecca?

Why there is a gender mixing during Hajj and Umrah – Pilgrimage in Mecca?



Mohamad Mostafa Nassar

Twitter:@NassarMohamadMR

Question

I always had this thing in mind that from the start Islam has always given importance to the fact there should not be intermingling between mehrams and non mehrams then why is it that in Mecca at the time of Umrah and Hajj there is no partition for males & females have noticed and personally experienced that men take advantage of the situation and try to push and touch and just blame that its crowded?

In the name of Allah, most Gracious and most Merciful

All praise and thanks are due to Allah Exalted He, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him.

Dear questioner,

First, we implore Allah Exalted He to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Some Terminology

Permissible=Halal

Impermissible= Haram

Pilgrimage= Hajj, which is one the five mandatory pillars of Islam that has a specific time every year, a Muslim must visit Mecca once provided certain criteria is met such as good health, financial ability, and other requirements.

Umrah is a voluntary visit of Mecca whenever a Muslim can usually at any time.

Mehram: is a person who is permanently prohibited from marrying someone from the opposite gender due to a permanent prohibition, such as a father can not marry his daughter, or a son cannot marry him mum or sister or aunt.

Non-Mehram: is a person who is permanently prohibited from marrying someone from the opposite gender.

Short Answer:

Women crowding with men is one of the greatest causes of fitnah, hence Islam closes the door to that temptation and protects all acts of worship, including pilgrimage=Hajj and ‘Umrah, from everything that could cancel them out and threaten women’s protection.

Hence, it is mustahabb (recommended) for women to refrain from getting too close to the Ka’bah while performing tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba or choose times when the Haram is not crowded, lest they mix with men.

Prophet Muhammed’s wife A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her, used to perform Tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba separately and never mixed with men and other wives of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him used to come out in night, in disguise and used to perform Tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba with men.

But whenever they intended to enter the Ka`bah, they would stay outside till the men had gone out.

Considering the ever-increasing number of Hajj & Umrah pilgrims, it is practically almost impossible to segregate the two genders because to ensure that both males and females have enough yet distinct space in all areas and at all times during the pilgrimage in general and tawaf in particular would likely bring the entire pilgrimage to a standstill.

Hence, what is actually important is to obviate the prohibited sinful intermixing. Allah Exalted he and His Prophet peace be upon him did not prohibit it because it did not involve any sins or (evil) in those days.

Even today, it is wrong to compare the mingling in the precincts of Makkah with a mingling outside this area because generally the people who travel to Makkah are expected to be engrossed in themselves or engage in performing the rituals.

There might be very few unfortunate people who would pay attention to filthy matters. In fact, the presence in the mount of Arafat in Makkah has been likened to the Day of Resurrection, when men and the women, barefooted and naked, will be gathered but the matter and atmosphere will be too serious for them to look at one another.

Long Answer:  

The rulings of Islam recognizes the nature of women and how the Shaytan=Satan exploits women’s charms, so the sahih texts of Islam enjoin women to stay in their houses and not to make a wanton display of themselves, and not to crowd with men.

Indeed, the Islamic texts do not enjoin upon women what they enjoin upon men, such as attending Jumu’ah prayers and prayers in congregation.

Women crowding with men is one of the greatest causes of fitnah, hence Islam closes the door to that temptation and protects acts of worship from everything that could cancel them out.

In the case of Eid prayer, Prophet Muhammed pace be upon him commanded the women to go out to the prayer but said that they should be in their own prayer place, far away from the men.

Regarding Hajj and ‘Umrah, Islam also forbids mixing between men and women, so that women will be protected from crowding with men.

This is clear from the following:

Allah Exalted He has not enjoined Hajj or ‘Umrah upon a woman unless she has a mahram with her.

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas may Allah be pleased with him said:

Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him said: “No woman should travel except with a mahram, and no man should enter upon her unless she has a mahram with her.”

A man said: “O Messenger of Allah, I want to go out with the army of such and such and my wife wants to go for Hajj.” He said: “Go for Hajj with her.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah Exalted he has granted a concession to a man who has womenfolk with him, allowing him to leave Muzdalifah area at night.

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah, the freed slave of Asma’, that she stopped at night in Muzdalifah area and stood there and prayed for a while, then she said: “O my son, has the moon set?”

I said: “No.” She prayed for a while, then she said: “O my son, has the moon set?” I said: “Yes.” She said: “Then move on.” We went on and she stoned the jamarah, then she came back and prayed Fajr in Muzdalifah area in her tent.

I said to her:

“O you! I think we have come to Mina very early in the night.” She said: “O my son, the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him gave permission to the women to do that.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)

Imam al-Bukhari included this hadith in a chapter entitled “One who sends the weak members of his family ahead at night, so that they may stand in Muzdalifah area and make du’aa=prayer’ and move on when the moon sets.”

It is mustahabb (recommended) for women to keep far away from the Ka’bah when doing tawaaf= circumambulation of the kaaba, lest they mix with men, even if that keeping away means that they cannot touch the Black Stone.

Ibn Juraij said, “`Ata informed us that when Ibn Hisham forbade women to perform Tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba with men he said to him, ‘How do you forbid them while the wives of Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him used to perform Tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba with the men?’

I said, ‘Was this before decreeing of the use of the veil or after it? `Ata took an oath and said, ‘I saw it after the order of veil.’ I said, ‘How did they mix with the men?’ `

Ata said, ‘The women never mixed with the men, and `A’ishah used to perform Tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba separately and never mixed with men.

Once it happened that `A’ishah was performing the Tawaf and woman said to her, ‘O Mother of believers! Let us touch the Black stone.’ `A’ishah said to her, ‘Go yourself,’ and she herself refused to do so.

The wives of Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him used to come out in night, in disguise and used to perform Tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba with men.

But whenever they intended to enter the Ka`bah, they would stay outside till the men had gone out… (Reported by al-Bukhari)

Next, if a woman wants to go for ‘Umrah, she has to travel with a mahram who can look after her and protect her. She should choose times when the Haram is not crowded. As for times when there is crowding.

Such as Ramadan, it is better for her to avoid doing ‘Umrah at such times, because of the crowding with men that takes place, when she will not be able to avoid them.

[In answering a question…,] Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him), said that it is better for a woman nowadays, in view of the intense crowding, not to do Hajj repeatedly [multiple times after completing their obligatory Hajj], because that is better for her religious commitment.

(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

From a practical point of view, to segregate the two genders is almost impossible because to ensure that both males and females have enough yet distinct space in all areas and at all times during the pilgrimage in general and tawaf= circumambulation of the kaaba in particular would likely bring the entire pilgrimage to a standstill.

What is actually to be discussed here is sinful intermixing which is obviously prohibited.

Let’s not forget that mixing or intermingling of men and women in Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) and the surrounding areas has not been as heavy and dense as it is today.

Naturally, Allah Exalted He and His Prophet Muhammed peace be upon did not prohibit it in those days because it did not involve any sins or fasad (evil).

However, for the time being, if intermixing does involve any sins, the jurisprudents must decide to make amends to the current method of performing tawaf taking all aspects of their decision into consideration.

It should also be noted that it is wrong to compare the mingling in the precincts of Makkah with a mingling outside this area because generally the people who travel to Makkah are engrossed in themselves or engage in performing the Hajj rituals.

There might be very few unfortunate people who would pay attention to sex related issues.

That is why some of the Hajj rituals such as the pilgrims’ presence in Arafat has been likened to the scene of resurrection because on the Day of Judgment, people will be resurrected naked, but no one would look at others on that day.

‘Aishah may Allah be pleased with her reported:

I heard Messenger of Allah peace be upon him saying, “The people will be assembled on the Day of Resurrection barefooted, naked and uncircumcised”. I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Will the men and the women be together on that Day; looking at one another?”

Upon this Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said, “O Aishah, the matter will be too serious for them to look at one another”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

(The above is paraphrased from an online resource)

Allah Exalted He knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone.

May Allah forgive me, Ameen.

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