Can a Woman Change Clothes and Take Off Her Hijab Whilst in the State of Ihram to Wash?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


Inshallah, I will be performing hajj this year and want to confirm some details about Ihram for women in the Hanafi school of thought. Can a woman change her clothes once she is in the state of Ihram? Can she take off her hijab to make wudu or to cool down in her tent?

Additionally, can a woman wear perfumed deodorant and itr before making the intention of ihram and the ihram state still be valid?

Very conflicting answers from family and various hajj group chats.

Apologies for my ignorance.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Removing One’s Clothing During Ihram

It is permissible for the pilgrim to remove their garments when needed. The Ihram (or Pilgrim’s garb) is more than just the clothes, it is a sacred state the pilgrim enters.
So it is permissible for the clothing to be removed for purification or other permissible reasons. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

Applying Fragrances Prior to Ihram

As for scented deodorants and perfumes, they are permissible to apply prior to entering the state of Ihram. In fact, applying fragrance before entering the state of Ihram is a recommended act and considered to be from the etiquettes of Ihram. [Ibid.]

What is not permitted is applying any fragrance to the body or clothing after one has entered the state of Ihram. Doing so would necessitate an expiatory charity or slaughter, depending on the extent and length of time of the fragrance’s application. [Ibid.]

The Prophetic Advice

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Do not wear shirts, turbans, pants, hooded cloaks, or socks. If one of you does not have except leather shoes, let them wear their socks and cut what is above the ankles. Do not wear any clothing that has touched saffron or the wars plant dye.” [Bukhari]

Note the prohibitions of clothing apply only to men, but the prohibition of clothing touched by certain plants is because such plants contain a fragrance, and therefore the prohibition applies to both men and women who are in the state of Ihram. [Ali Qari; Mirqat al-Mafatih]

The Purpose of Ihram

In summary, the Ihram is a Sacred state which the pilgrim enters. The underlying purpose of the Ihram, both its inward and outward realities, is to bring the pilgrim into a state of presence with Allah Most High.

Mulla ‘Ali Qari quotes Imam Nawawi in this regard, saying, “The wisdom of the prohibition of perfume and marital intercourse is to distance one from physical pleasures and worldly adornments and comforts. This is because the pilgrim should be disheveled and dusty, and their focus should be honed in on the Next Worldly objectives…” [Ibid.]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom Seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.

He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.

In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.