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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Entering the State of Ihram for Hajj and Umrah

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A man in Ihram clothing, embodying simplicity and spiritual readiness.
Ihram, essential for Hajj and Umrah, symbolizes purity and devotion. Before wearing Ihram, cleanliness and ghusl are recommended. Miqat locations are designated entry points. Pilgrims must adhere to specific rules like avoiding scents. Practical tips ensure a successful pilgrimage journey.

Introduction

Ihram is a state of purity and self-restraint that Muslims must enter before embarking on the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages. It is mandatory to enter the state of Ihram to perform these pilgrimages. The primary purpose of Ihram is to exhibit consecration and devotion to the rituals prescribed by Islam during these pilgrimages. The term ‘Ihram‘ originates in the Arabic word ‘haram,’ which means forbidden.


Ihram is a sacred state that all pilgrims must enter before setting foot on the holy grounds of Mecca. It symbolizes spiritual purity and devotion, as the pilgrim renounces all worldly comforts and pleasures to seek closeness to Allah (SWT). Ihram serves as a powerful reminder of humility, obedience, and submission to Allah (SWT) throughout the entire pilgrimage journey.


You can find detailed information about Hajj and Umrah on the blog linked below.

Preparing for Ihram involves a series of rituals and intentions to signify the pilgrim’s readiness for Hajj and Umrah. Intention holds immense importance in Islam, as intentions judge actions.


Read More: Importance of Making Sincere Intention


Before wearing the Ihram clothing, it is essential to ensure that you are physically clean and have taken care of your hygiene. It is highly recommended that you perform “ghusl,” a ritual body purification, before entering into the state of Ihram. It is a Sunnah practice for everyone, including women who are experiencing menses or post-natal bleeding, to take a bath before putting on the Ihram garments.


Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) narrates that:

“Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, A menstruating woman and the one who delivered a child should take a bath, put on Ihram, and perform all the rites of hajj except circumambulation of the House (Ka’bah) when they came to the place of wearing Ihram.”

[Sunan Abi Dawud 1744]

Performing Ghusl should have a valid reason. If performing Ghusl is not possible, then you should perform wudu. Wudu is necessary before entering Ihram.


Read more about the method of Purification:

Miqat Locations for Pilgrims

Authorities designate Miqat locations for pilgrims to enter the state of Ihram before proceeding to Mecca for Hajj or Umrah. Historically, pilgrims have chosen these locations based on the routes they traveled. The five main Miqat points are:


  1. Dhul-Hulayfa, also known as Abyar Ali, is the entry point for pilgrims coming from Medina.
  2. Al-Juhfa is the designated entry point for pilgrims from the northwest, including those from Egypt, Morocco, and parts of Europe.
  3. Qarn al-Manazil (also known as As-Sail al-Kabeer) is for pilgrims coming from the direction of Najd.
  4. Yalamlam For pilgrims coming from Yemen.
  5. Dhat Irq is the designated route for pilgrims coming from Iraq.

When going for Hajj or Umrah, people who travel by air usually enter the state of Ihram before they reach a specific point called Miqat. However, those who are traveling by land must enter Ihram at one designated location before continuing their journey to Mecca. It is crucial to enter Ihram at the appropriate Miqat point; otherwise, a sacrifice may be necessary as a form of atonement.


You can learn more about the Miqat points by clicking on the given link: How to Get to the Miqat Points.


The Ihram Attire

Ihram attire is a sacred dress code pilgrims wear during the Hajj and Umrah. It symbolizes the equality of all pilgrims in the eyes of Allah (SWT), regardless of their social status or wealth.


Men’s Ihram Clothes

Ihram clothing for men consists of two simple, plain white pieces of cloth. The first piece, known as izar, is wrapped around the waist and covers the lower part of the body. The second piece, called Rida, is draped over the shoulders and covers the upper part of the body.

Women’s Ihram Clothes

Women are free to dress as they please but must adhere to the Islamic dress code, including wearing a head covering. While it is forbidden to cover the face, a cloth that hangs over the face without touching it is allowed.

Hazrat Aishah (RA) narrated that:

“We were with the Prophet (SAW), and we were in Ihram. When a rider met us we would lower our garments from the top of our heads, and when he has gone, we would lift them up again.”
Another chain reports a similar hadith.

(Sunan Ibn Majah 2935)

Ihram Belt

The Ihram belt is a helpful accessory for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. It allows one to carry essential items like money, identification, and religious texts without compromising the simplicity and purity of the Ihram attire.


Do’s and Don’ts in Ihram

When in Ihram, pilgrims must follow specific rules and restrictions. Here are some clear guidelines on what to do and what not to do:

Do’s

  • It is recommended to take a bath or shower, whether it is necessary or not.
  • For cleansing purposes, unscented soaps are recommended.
  • When wearing the Ihram, it is expected to secure the top garment with a safety pin to prevent it from opening up or falling off frequently.
  • It is recommended to cover the body and feet with a blanket while sleeping, leaving the face and head uncovered.
  • An object like an umbrella can provide shade without obstructing the face or head.
  • Toothpaste is debated as it creates a strong fragrance in the mouth. Some prefer using a Miswak instead.
  • It is permissible to kill or slaughter an animal that can harm you, such as a snake, scorpion, and so on.

Don’ts

  • Refrain from using perfume or any other scented products.
  • Do not engage in sexual activities or intimate behavior. The Quran states that the months of Hajj are well known. If anyone undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, wickedness, or wrangling in the Hajj. (Quran 2:197)
  • Do not cut or shave your hair or nails. Allah Almighty says in the Quran; And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal reaches its destination. (Quran 2:196)
  • Do not Hunting animals. It says in the Quran: O you who have believed, do not kill game while you are in the state of Ihram. (Quran 5:95)
  • It is recommended that men avoid wearing stitched clothing, while women can wear regular attire.
  • Do not engage in arguments or fights with others.

Read more The Significance of Shaving or Cutting Hair During Hajj and Umrah.

Observing these dos and don’ts helps maintain the sanctity and spirituality of the pilgrimage experience in Ihram.


Practical Tips for Pilgrims

If you’re planning a pilgrimage, it’s crucial to be well-prepared for a safe and successful journey. Here are some practical tips that may help:


How to Wear Ihram

Here is a detailed guide with step-by-step instructions on how to wear Ihram.

  • Before putting on Ihram, set a sincere intention to enter the state of Ihram for either Hajj or Umrah.
  • It is necessary to perform the ritual of ghusl OR perform ablution (wudu) to ensure ritual purity before putting on Ihram.
  • Obtain two pieces of white, seamless cloth. For women, wear loose-fitting, modest clothes that cover everything except their face and hands.
  • Place the lower garment (izar) around the waist, ensuring it covers the navel to the ankles. Secure it firmly so it stays in place.
  • Drape the upper garment (rida) over your shoulders, exposing your right shoulder, then wrap the rest around your body.
  • Tighten the upper garment securely at the waist to cover the upper body while allowing movement.
  • It is time for individuals to offer two Rakahs of Salah al-Ihram.
  • Once wearing Ihram, recite the Talbiyah to express intention and devotion to the pilgrimage.

These steps provide a practical guide for entering the sacred state of Ihram for the pilgrimage journey.

Can You Change Your Ihram During Hajj?

During the Hajj pilgrimage, pilgrims must maintain Ihram, a sacred state of purity, throughout the journey. It is generally advised not to change the Ihram unless specific circumstances warrant it. When deciding whether to change the Ihram, some factors include health issues, emergencies, and unavoidable circumstances. It is essential to seek guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced religious authority before making any changes to the Ihram. Here are some points to consider:

  • In emergencies, if your Ihram becomes damaged or soiled, you can change it quickly to remain in the state of Ihram.
  • If wearing the same Ihram causes extreme discomfort or exacerbates a medical condition, changing it to a clean one is permissible.
  • Women who are menstruating or experiencing postpartum bleeding are exempt from wearing traditional Ihram garments. However, they must still honor the restrictions and sanctity of the pilgrimage.

If you are unsure about changing Ihram, seek guidance from knowledgeable scholars or authorities. Always remember to change Ihram in a manner that maintains the sanctity and rituals of the pilgrimage.


Entering Makkah in Ihram

When you perform the Umrah or Hajj pilgrimage, entering Makkah in the state of Ihram is a crucial step. It symbolizes your entry into the sacred precincts to perform the pilgrimage rites. Thus, when you enter Makkah in Ihram, you are ready to embark on a spiritual journey.


Can We Enter Makkah Without Ihram?

You can enter Makkah without wearing the Ihram if you are not performing Umrah or Hajj. However, it is important to note that you should still respect the sanctity of the city and follow its local customs and regulations.


Additional Considerations


Can we take a bath after wearing Ihram?

Taking a bath is recommended before entering the state of Ihram, and it’s also permissible after wearing it. It is important to ensure that you have worn the Ihram garments appropriately and continue to observe the relevant restrictions and rituals.

Can you sleep in Ihram?

It is permissible to sleep while wearing Ihram, maintaining modesty and ensuring garments remain in place. One should avoid actions that could nullify Ihram, but sleeping in Ihram is acceptable as long as its sanctity is upheld.

Can I wear Ihram at the Madinah Hotel?

You can wear Ihram at your Madinah hotel if you plan to perform Umrah or Hajj. You can assume Ihram at your hotel in Madinah or the designated Miqat for Madinah, Masjid Dhul Hulayfah.

What to wear under Ihram?

It is not permissible to wear stitched garments or undergarments underneath Ihram. However, women can wear their usual modest attire beneath the Ihram as long as it complies with Islamic standards of modesty.

Can you wear sunglasses in Ihram?

Yes, it is permissible to wear sunglasses during Ihram. Sunglasses serve a practical purpose and do not conflict with the restrictions of Ihram. However, it is recommended to wear plain sunglasses as part of your pilgrimage attire and avoid any decorations or adornments.

Can we wear Ihram from Masjid Ayesha?

Yes, pilgrims who are planning to perform Umrah or Hajj are allowed to wear Ihram from Masjid Aisha. Masjid Aisha is one of the designated Miqat points for those entering Makkah from the direction of Madinah.

Can we use the toilet in Ihram?

Yes, you can use the toilet while in Ihram. Maintaining personal hygiene and attending to natural bodily functions, including toilet use, are necessary aspects of daily life, even during Ihram.

Can you change your Ihram during Hajj?

During Hajj, changing Ihram is only recommended in specific circumstances. As mentioned above

Can I wear Ihram at the Jeddah Airport?

It is recommended that you wear Ihram before reaching Jeddah airport as it falls within the Miqat, the boundary beyond which pilgrims cannot pass without entering into a state of Ihram. Wearing Ihram at Jeddah airport to perform Umrah or Hajj is not permissible. Those traveling through Jeddah should wear Ihram before reaching Jeddah or at the nearest Miqat location to Jeddah, such as Masjid al-Juhfah. It is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable source or a guide familiar with the Hajj and Umrah rituals.

Can you wear deodorant in Ihram?

During Ihram, pilgrims are recommended to avoid wearing scented products, including deodorant.

Can we wash Ihram with Detergent?

It’s recommended to avoid scented products while washing Ihram garments as they contradict the principles of simplicity and purity required during Ihram.

Conclusion

Entering the state of Ihram is an essential aspect of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. It signifies purity and devotion to Allah (SWT) and reminds us of the importance of humility, obedience, and submission to the Almighty. Preparing for Ihram involves a series of rituals and intentions that must be followed to ensure that the pilgrim is ready for the journey. It is crucial to adhere to the do’s and don’ts of Ihram to maintain the purity of the state and avoid any atonements. May Allah (SWT) guide us all on the path of righteousness and accept our pilgrimage.

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