Ibrahim An-Nakh’i said: “Whenever our companions approached the well of Maimun, they would take a bath and then put on their best clothes.”
It is said that Ibn ‘Abbas entered a public bath at Al-Johfah (to take a bath), while he was in the state of ihram. He was asked: “How do you do so while in the state of ihram?” He replied: “Allah does not need any of our dirt and filth!”
Jabir said: “A person in the state of ihram may take a bath and wash his garb.” Abdullah ibn Hunain reported: “Ibn ‘Abbas and Al-Musawir ibn Makhramah were at Al-Abwa when they disagreed on whether a person in the state of ihram can wash his head. Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘A person in the state of ihram is permitted to wash his head.’ Al-Musawir differed and said that a muhrim is not allowed to wash his head. At this Ibn ‘Abbas sent me to Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. I found him bathing between the two wooden posts (of the well) and was screened with a sheet of cloth.
“I greeted him and he asked who I was. I replied, ‘I am Abdullah ibn Hunain and I have been sent to you by Ibn ‘Abbas to ask you how Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to bathe while in the state of ihram. At this Abu Ayub Al-Ansari caught hold of the sheet of cloth and lowered it till his head appeared before me, and then told somebody to pour water on his head. He poured water on his head, and he (Abu Ayub Al-Ansari) rubbed his head with his hands by bringing them from back to front and from front to back and said, ‘I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) doing this.”‘ This is reported by the Group except Tirmizhi. Bukhari added: “Then I came back and told them. And Al-Musawir said to Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘I will never again argue with you.”‘
Ash-Shawkani said: “This hadith shows that a muhrim is permitted to take a bath while in the state of ihram and may even cover his head with his hand while doing so.”
Ibn al-Munzhir said: “There is consensus that a muhrim may take a bath when in a state of janabah (major impurity). There is disagreement, however, concerning bathing in other cases.”
Malik reported from Nafi’ that Ibn ‘Umar did not wash his head while in the state of ihram except when he had a wet dream.”‘ It is reported that Malik disliked that one should immerse one’s head in water while in the state of ihram.
Using soap or any other cleaning agent is permissible. Ash-Shafi’i and Hanbali schools hold one may use perfumed soap for bathing, and similarly women are permitted to undo their hair and comb it, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered ‘Aishah, saying: “Undo your hair, and comb it.” (Muslim)
An-Nawawi said: “It is permitted to undo the hair and comb it while in the state of ihram provided that no hair is pulled out. Combing, however, is disliked unless there is some genuine reason for it. One may also carry one’s belongings on one’s head.”