All Muslim pilgrims assuming ihram to perform Hajj should observe certain high moral values that make them up to the supplication of their Lord, the Creator, Exalted and Glorified be He, and lead them to higher degrees towards spiritual and moral perfection apparent in their relation with their Lord, with themselves, and with others.
Almighty Allah says:
[The pilgrimage is (in) the well-known months, and whoever is minded to perform the pilgrimage therein (let him remember that) there is (to be) no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation on the pilgrimage. And whatsoever good ye do Allah knoweth it. So make provision for yourselves (hereafter); for the best provision is to ward off evil. Therefore keep your duty unto Me, O men of understanding.] (Al-Baqarah 2:197)
This glorious Qur’anic verse points out three main aspects related to Hajj:
1- The prohibition of lewdness (rafath) during Hajj
The Arabic word rafath (which is translated as "lewdness" in the aforementioned verse) refers to sexual intercourse and whatever is related to it, such as foreplay and kissing. That is to say, a pilgrim is prohibited to have sexual intercourse or the like with his or her spouse during the performance of Hajj. The word rafath also refers to sexual intercourse in the Qur’anic verse in which Almighty Allah says [It is made lawful for you to go in unto your wives on the night of the fast] (Al-Baqarah 2:187) [where rafath is translated as "to go in unto your wives"]. In addition, Ibn Jarir narrated that `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Rafath, in regard to men, refers to having sexual intercourse or narrating it to others. As for women, it refers to even mentioning or speaking of sexual intercourse."
2- The prohibition of abuse (fusuq) during Hajj
The Arabic word fusuq (which is translated as "abuse" in the above-mentioned verse, Al-Baqarah 2:197) refers to disobedience to Almighty Allah, Exalted and Glorified be He, whether such disobedience is related to the state of ihram or to whatever is prohibited by Allah in general. There are certain acts prohibited while being in the state of ihram, such as killing game animals, wearing sewn clothing, trimming fingernails, wearing perfume, etc. That is, fusuq involves every act of disobedience to Almighty Allah. So, a pilgrim who has left home and family behind to perform Hajj would better proceed on the way to purification and avoid both major and minor sins. Accordingly, a pilgrim should avoid vying with others during the performance of Hajj, cheating or being unjust while buying or selling, undervaluing the things owned by others, and wronging others. Though avoiding sins and acts of disobedience is always required, it is more binding during Hajj. This is why just having an ill intention while performing Hajj is regarded as a grave sin with painful punishment in the Hereafter, for Almighty Allah says: [whosoever seeketh wrongful partiality therein, him We shall cause to taste a painful doom] (Al-Hajj 22:25).
3- The prohibition of angry conversation (jidal) during Hajj
This prohibition has two meanings. The first is that there must be no argument (jidal) regarding the legality, obligation, ruling, and rituals of Hajj, for they are firmly stated through direct, authentic, and indisputable religious texts. Unfortunately, there are some lies and falsehoods propagated by those weird supporters of destructive trends regarding the rituals of Hajj, claiming that they are among the remains of the Pre-Islamic Jahiliyyah. They thus disregard the fact that the rituals of Hajj were introduced to humanity by Divine Messages before Islam, that the Sacred House (the Ka`bah) at Makkah was built by Ibrahim and his son Isma`il (peace be upon them), and that the prayer of Ibrahim is still being granted by Almighty Allah, bearing its good, blessed fruits, and it will so remain till the Day of Judgment.
Almighty Allah says:
[And proclaim unto mankind the pilgrimage. They will come unto thee on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine. That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the name of Allah on appointed days over the beast of cattle that He hath bestowed upon them. Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor unfortunate. Then let them make an end of their unkemptness and pay their vows and go around the ancient House.] (Al-Hajj 22:27–29)
Therefore, the legality, the obligation, the integral parts, the rituals and the great effects of Hajj are by all means unquestionable.
The second interpretation of such Qur’anic prohibition is that there must be neither disagreement nor dispute (jidal) during Hajj. A Muslim should rather be eager to honor everything related to Hajj—the time, the place, fellow pilgrims, and all kinds of creatures. The time is the month of Dhul-Hijjah, one of the sacred months. The place is the Sacred House at Makkah, which provides safety to whoever enters it. In addition, game animals are prohibited to be hunted during the Hajj. That is to say, Hajj is an occasion of peace, safety, brotherliness, sincerity to and honesty with Almighty Allah, then oneself and then others.
* Professor of Islamic creed and philosophy at Al-Azhar University