Travelling to Saudi Arabia without iḥrām due to Covid-19 regulations
The Saudi authorities have today (27 October) announced that people should not wear iḥrām on their arrival to Jeddah, because they have to undergo a three-day quarantine on their arrival to Makkah. At the end of this, the respective ʿUmrah companies will transport them to the nearest mīqāt to enter into iḥrām. The announcement further states that the Saudi authorities may limit the number of pilgrims at any point if there is a spike in infections.
In light of this, if a person is travelling from abroad to Makkah via Jeddah, does he have to enter the state of iḥrām when crossing mīqāt? There is no certainty that he will be allowed to proceed to Makkah al-Mukarramah especially if one is tested to have Covid-19 symptoms at Jeddah Airport or someone from the group develops symptoms. Likewise, there is no certainty that ʿUmrah will be able to be performed, in the event of developing Covid-19 symptoms during quarantine or a local spike occurring.
If it is necessary to enter into iḥrām, and it is not possible to wear the iḥrām clothes at mīqāt due to the Government’s regulations, should one make intention of entering the state of iḥrām at mīqāt?
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
According to the ḥanafī school of thought, entering the state of iḥrām is necessary when two conditions are fulfilled: first, crossing mīqāt and second, intending to travel to ḥaram (Makkah al-Mukarramah) primarily, whether intending to perform ʿUmrah/Hajj or otherwise.
In light of this and the current scenario in question, if a person is travelling from abroad and arriving into Jeddah, they should make Jeddah their primary intention and thereby avoid entering the state of iḥrām when crossing mīqāt. The reason for making Jeddah the primary intention is because it is possible that one is prevented from entering the country or from visiting the blessed city of Makkah, or required to quarantine in Jeddah for a few days. Even if permitted to travel to Makkah, one may decide to travel to Madīnah al-Munawwarah in light of new developments or advice from the Saudi authorities, in which case iḥrām is not required. Therefore, one should make Jeddah the primary intention and thereby avoid the requirement of entering the state of iḥrām at mīqāt.
Upon arrival in Jeddah, if one is permitted to travel to Makkah, they can proceed to Makkah without iḥrām. There is no penalty. This is because Jeddah is within ḥill (the area between ḥaram and mīqāt) and once in ḥill, it is permitted to enter Makkah without entering into iḥrām. Subsequently, if one wishes to perform ʿUmrah and has the necessary permission, they should exit ḥaram (for example by visiting Masjid Aishah) and enter into iḥrām. They can also travel to any mīqāt should they wish to do so and enter into iḥrām from here, this is the preferred option and should be considered if possible.
للمراجع راجع جوابنا الذي كتبناه في بداية هذا الفيروس۔
Allah knows best
12 Rabīʿ al-Awwal 1442 / 29 October 2020
Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir