Some Hajj Rituals
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr Khalid Zaheer

This is regarding verse 196 of Sūrah Baqarah. I’ve shaved my head because of dandruff (an ailment). In the verse, it says that due to shaving of the head we must either fast or feed the poor or give a sacrifice. Are we supposed to do one of these things every time we shave our head due to an ailment or not? Also, could you give an explanation of the rest of the verse.


The mention of shaving of head in the relevant verse is meant to be applicable in the case of those doing Hajj alone. It has nothing to do with shaving of head in the normal routine. The verse is telling the pilgrims that on the 10th of Dhu’l-Hajj they should first get their animals sacrificed and then get their heads shaved. In case a pilgrim wants to get his head shaved before the animal sacrifice, he should either fast for three days or pay Sadaqah or do animal sacrifice in expiation for changing the desired sequence. If you read the relevant portion of the verse along with the part that has been omitted because it was obvious from the context, the full expression would appear somewhat like this (the omitted part is in parentheses):

And whosoever of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp [necessitating shaving and he therefore shaves it before his animal is sacrificed] he must pay ransom or either fast ... (2:196)

There are two other things mentioned in the verse. The one mentioned before the issue of shaving of head states that ordinarily a person who intends to do Hajj and ‘Umrah should complete both. However, if he is prevented from doing it and the intending pilgrim had taken animals along for sacrifice, he should sacrifice them. In other words since Hajj couldn’t be done, animal sacrifice should be made wherever it is possible.

The later part of the verse is requiring those pilgrims who avail the privilege of doing Hajj and ‘Umrah together to make an animal sacrifice; but if they can’t afford to do so, they should keep fasts for ten days, three of them during the Hajj period and the other seven, when they return home. However, the residents of Makkah would fast all ten in Makkah because that is their place of residence.

I hope the verses are slightly more clear than before. May the Almighty enable you and me to do Hajj and experience for ourselves what the practical significance of the contents of this verse are. Amen.

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