Allah says: “The pilgrimage is (in) the well-known months, and whoever is minded to perform the pilgrimage therein, then let there be no lewdness nor abuse nor disputation during the pilgrimage. And whatsoever good you do Allah knows it. So make provision for yourselves (Hereafter); for the best provision is to ward off evil. Therefore keep your duty unto Me, O people of understanding.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 197]
The pilgrimage is an act of worship that has been beautified by its enjoining the best of good manners and etiquettes. This verse gives a general enumeration where it says: “there is to be no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation on the pilgrimage.”
The first mode of conduct that is forbidden by this verse is lewdness. This term refers to sexual intercourse. It also refers to all words and deeds that are wanton and licentious.
The second mode of conduct that is prohibited is abuse. This abuse comprehends all transgressions and all disobedience to Allah.
The third is disputation. What is meant here is arguing with falsehood or for false reasons. Every argument that brings no benefit is included in this prohibition. As for disputes and discussions that are conducted to bring about good consequences or to increase knowledge, they are not included in the prohibition.
The pilgrimage is a concerted effort for the pilgrim to remain aloof from the desires of the worldly life and its material concerns. The pilgrimage trains and conditions the character to be more independent of material things and to find contentment in less. Therefore, it is inappropriate for a pilgrim who is engaged in this act of worship to become distracted by talking or acting in an unlawful manner regarding the opposite sex.
A pilgrim enters into the state of ihrâm – a ritual state that a pilgrim must enter in to be able to conduct the rites of the pilgrimage. While in this state, one is prohibited from even lawful sexual relations with one’s spouse. All acts that lead up to of sexual intimacy, no matter how minor, are also prohibited. This is regarding sexual conduct between a husband and wife that is lawful at other times. As for lewd behavior that is prohibited to begin with, it is most abominable for someone to engage in it during the pilgrimage.
This must be born well in mind by the pilgrims, considering the severe crowding that takes place during the pilgrimage with no separation between men and women. Unfortunately, there are many instances of women wearing perfume and beautifying themselves, in spite of the fact that they are on pilgrimage. These are circumstances that can lead to a degree of wrongdoing that only Allah knows the extent of.
It is not enough for a Muslim to shun away from such bad conduct. It is also from the etiquettes of the pilgrimage to enjoin upon others what is right and forbid what is wrong. We can all see how keeping the physical grounds clean and removing garbage from where the pilgrimage takes place takes a cadre of tens of thousands of workers. A similar number of workers are needed to keep the roads well-managed. This is just to keep the pilgrimage clean of physical filth.
Should we as pilgrims not see the need to mobilize ourselves as an even greater number of workers to keep the pilgrimage clean of immoral and sinful behavior?
What I am talking about is something that is easy to do. It is not something that only national governments are able to carry out. It is something that individuals can do on their own. If only the students of Islamic knowledge and Islamic workers among the pilgrims prepared themselves to undertake this task of enjoining what is right and preventing open wrongdoing during the pilgrimage, that would be enough, and may Allah be praised.
Though sins are wrong all the time, they are most deplorable when they happen in the city of Mecca and when the perpetrator is in the state of ihram. There is a greater than usual need to prevent wrongdoing in such a situation. Allah says: “And any whose purpose therein is profanity or wrong-doing, We cause them to taste of a most grievous penalty.” [Sûrah al-Hajj: 25] Mujâhid relates that the eminent Companion `Abd Allah b. `Amr b. al-`As had a residence comprised of two tent dwellings, one tent happened to be situated within the sacred precincts and one outside of them. When he wished to pray, he would use the tent that was located within the sacred precincts. If he had to scold one of the members of his family, he would do so in the tent situated outside of the sacred precincts. [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (14096)]
We might hear some pilgrims utter wanton, rude, or hurtful speech. We might also hear pilgrims backbiting others. By speaking like that, have those pilgrims upheld their pilgrimage and honored their reason for being there?
Then there are those who get into arguments for trivial reasons or for no reason at all. Arguments erupt in the parking lots, at water stations. People get into fights over the slightest push or shove. Where dose such conduct stand with Allah’s words: “let there be no lewdness nor abuse nor disputation during the pilgrimage.”?
Proper manners manners, a good word, the giving of food to those who are in need – these are among the best expressions of our devotion to Allah by which we can bring ourselves nearer to Him. This is especially true when we are pilgrims carrying out the rites of pilgrimage.
We especially call upon students of Islamic knowledge, Islamic workers, and those who have ample means for carrying out good works. We implore them to realize that the contribution of any one of them to the general benefit – by providing assistance to the people or by teaching them – is far greater in reward for them than their engaging in their private devotions. They can postpone their private devotions in order to assist their fellow pilgrims during this time of need.
We have our proof for this in the good example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who during his farewell pilgrimage occupied himself with teaching the people, training them, and serving them in kindness.