Assalamualaikum Ustaz. For ihram cloth and clothes worn for prayers washed with softener; are they permitted to be worn during ihram, or is it necessary to wash it again? I am aware that if I wear the ihram cloth without setting the intention for ihram yet, then the restrictions of ihram are not yet applicable to me. However, after I am in the state of ihram, then my ihram cloth becomes dirty and I want to change it with another new cloth which was washed by using softener (scented), then, is it permissible or prohibited?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Restricted Acts While in the State of Ihram
After setting the intention of ihram, one is under its restrictions. This is already set by Syarak, and if one goes against it, he is to pay for the dam according to types of restricted acts he committed.
Syaikh Hasan bin Ahmad al-Kaf stated in his writing:
“Among the restrictions of ihram are the prohibition of covering the head and wearing sewed clothes for men, the prohibition of covering the face and wearing gloves for women, the prohibition of wearing perfumes, having sexual intercourse, applying hair and moustache cream, hunting and destroying or yanking the trees in the holy land”. (Refer: al-Takrirat al-Sadidah, page 502)
Applying Fragrances (التطيب)
Applying fragrances holds a specific restriction during ihram due to the syarak. According to Shafi’ite scholars, what is meant by fragrances are anything that has a sweet and good scent.
Its prohibition is absolute. Whether it is used on the ihram cloth, sleep place or even in shoes. If there are any fragrances in his shoes, it is obligatory (wajib) for him to cleanse it. (Refer: al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 2/161)
Imam Ramli suggested that: “What is meant by prohibited acts regarding applying fragrances is its usage for the purpose of perfume only”. (Refer: Hasyiah Qalyubi wa U’mairah, 2/168)
However, if it is for the purpose of purifying one’s body with scented soap, it is not under the prohibition of ihram. Dr Wahbah al-Zuhaili stated in his book:
“And it is not prohibited according to Shafi’ite scholars for a person to cleanse his body and head using soap without any riddance of hairs. And it is still prioritized to not do it”. (Refer: al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 3/2297)
Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta’ stated in its fatwa:
“After setting the intention of ihram, it is permissible to take a bath, get changed with the new ihram cloth, applying soap in the purpose of cleansing even if it is scented. This is because soap is not listed under fragrances. However, the usage of non-scented soaps is prioritized”. (Refer: Dar Ifta’ Misriyyah, No 3308)
However, if it is done before being in the state of ihram, then it is sunnah to do so. This is the opinion of the majority of the jurists (fuqaha’), as stated in hadith narrated by A’isha RA:
كُنْتُ أُطَيِّبُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لإِحْرَامِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُحْرِمَ وَلِحِلِّهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَطُوفَ بِالْبَيْتِ
I used to apply perfume to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) before his entering upon the state of Ihram and at the conclusion of it, before circumambulating the House (for Tawaf Ifada)
Sahih Muslim (1189)
Regarding applying fragrances upon ihram cloth before being in the state of ihram, it is prohibited by the majority of the scholars. And according to the mu’tamad (final) opinion in madhab Shafi’e, it is permissible. And there is no harm if the scent stays after being in the state of ihram itself. (Refer: al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 2/172)
Reviewing the above question and fuqaha’ opinions in regards to this, it is concluded that using scented ihram cloth (being washed by using softener) after setting the intention for ihram is prohibited and the person should pay for the dam (takhyir and taqdir). This is because the usage of softener here is in the purpose of fragrance.
As mentioned in Fiqh Ibadat Haji, Umrah dan Ziarah published by Tabung Haji Agency:
“Usage of scented wet tissues and softener is in the purpose of fragrance, and it is prohibited to do during ihram”. (Refer: Fiqh Ibadat Haji, Umrah dan Ziarah, page 214)
Hence, it is prioritized to wash the cloth first to remove the fragrance before wearing it.
May we are given with true understanding in performing acts of worship to Allah SWT.