COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia: Wearing mask for Umrah doesn’t need expiation, says Grand Mufti

201008 Umrah
Pilgrims practice social distancing while praying around the Kaaba.
Image Credit: Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah.

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Al Sheikh, sayswearing a mask does not require Fidyah (expiation) to atone for it.

Answering a question about the ruling on wearing a mask during the ihram to perform the rituals of Umrah, the Grand Mufti said, “A mask that does not cover the entire face but rather cover part of it, if the muhrim (pilgrim) needs to wear it, does not required Fidya (expiation) for wearing it.’

In Islam, ihram is a sacred state which a Muslim must enter to perform the major pilgrimage (Haj) or the minor pilgrimage (Umrah). A pilgrim must enter into this state before crossing the pilgrimage boundary, by performing the cleansing rituals and wearing the prescribed attire.

When a mistake is made during Haj or Umrah, Fidya is required to atone for the mistake. By offering Fidya, pilgrims are making amends for shortcomings during Haj or Umrah.

Fidya will be obligatory when pigrims have:

1) Violated one of the prohibitions of Ihram, such as applying perfume or cutting the hair.
2) Failed to perform a Wajib (obligatory) act of Haj, i.e. didn’t do Rami (pelting) of the Jamarat, or did not enter into Ihram from the Miqat.
3)Transgressed the sanctity of the Haram such as hunting an animal or cutting a tree within its boundaries.

There are three categories of penalty, depending on the nature of the transgression:

1) Badanah: Offering a large sacrificial animal such as a camel or a cow (the size of which normally constitutes seven parts).
2) Damm: Offering a small sacrificial animal such as a sheep or a goat (or the cost of one-seventh of a large animal if sharing).
3) Sadaqah: Offering charity to the poor, normally in the form of food such as flour, wheat, barley, dates or raisins. Depending on the violation, the amount of Sadaqah falls into three categories:

Complete Sadaqah Al Fitr: This is equivalent to about three kilograms of wheat, six kilograms of barley or six kilograms of dates or raisins or its value in money.

Less than Sadaqah Al Fitr: This can be a handful of wheat or an equivalent.

Sadaqah equivalent to the value: For example, cutting trees or grass in the boundaries of the Haram will necessitate Sadaqah equivalent to the value of those mistakes. The amount due will be judged by two Muslim men who are local and upstanding in their character.

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