The Importance of Ihram: Rules and Etiquette for Pilgrims

The Importance of Ihram: Rules and Etiquette for Pilgrims

Wearing an Ihram is compulsory for the Hajj and Umrah holy pilgrimages. Basically, Ihram means to enter into a state of purity and prohibition or to make something haram on ourselves for our good. The first requirement for performing the Hajj and Umrah is wearing an ihram. There are several things that are prohibited in this state. To enter into this state, certain rituals are to be performed by pilgrims. Let’s understand each one of them individually.

Things To Do Before Wearing Ihram

Despite being a significant component of the pilgrimage, not everyone is aware of how to wear Ihram for Umrah properly. It is mandatory for pilgrims to do ghusl, or body cleaning, before wearing their ihram. Then he/she should trim their nails.

Let’s understand a few important things in detail:

Pilgrim performing Ghusl

In Islam, the act of washing one’s entire body with ritually pure water is known as the “main ablution,” or ghusl. Every time a significant ritual impurity has been attained, the ghusl, together with a declaration of purpose, must be done. An impure individual is not allowed to touch the Qur’an, recite its verses, do the daily ritual prayer, go on major or minor pilgrimages around the Kaaba in Mecca, or enter a mosque. It is permissible for the pilgrim to conduct ghusl for cleanliness’s sake while wearing ihram as it is known that the Prophet did so.

Niyat for Ihram Umrah

Niyyah, also known as Niyat for Ihram, is the intention that one has in their hearts to perform the deed for Allah’s sake. It alludes to the urge to do a worshipful action. It is a prerequisite to performing any kind of Ibadat. It is justified by Niyyah’s distinction between the sacred acts of worship and routine daily activities. It also determines whether prayer is obligatory or optional by differentiating between the sort and degree of worship.

According to the Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H, a deed’s outcome depends on the performer’s intentions. Furthermore, when someone does an act, they are rewarded in accordance with what is in their heart and mind.The Umrah Niyat dua is the most significant ritual performed during Umrah.

How To Wear Ihram Clothing?

Umrah Ihram for men and women are different in many aspects, including clothing and rules & regulations.

Ihram For Men

For males, the Hajj and Umrah Ihram consist of two unstitched white garments. The Ihram is a basic white fabric that is unstitched and needs to be wrapped around the body. When wearing an Ihram, men are not allowed to hide their faces or hair. They must ensure that their calves are visible when they wear an ihram.

Ihram For Women

The Hajj and Umrah Ihram for ladies is quite distinct as compared to men. Women are permitted to wear any ordinary dress for Umrah. They must cover their head but are forbidden to cover their faces. While in Ihram, they are not permitted to wear niqabs, which are face-covering veils used by Muslim women. It is required that women cover their heads with a hijab, or scarf. Their forehead cannot be covered by their clothing. In Ihram, women are not allowed to cut or trim their hair or nails. Using any kind of cosmetics or fragrance while wearing an ihram is prohibited.

When & Where To Wear Ihram For Umrah?

Ihram is mandatory beyond a particular (geographical) boundary called Miqat. Pilgrims should wear Ihram either before or at the time of entering the miqat. Once a person enters a miqat, he/she can not remove the Ihram clothing until the pilgrimage is completed. The four significant miqats in Umrah are:

  1. Miqat Qarn al-Manazil

This Miqat is situated 80 km northeast of Masjid al-haram and 40 km from the city of Taif. It serves as a Miqat for people living in Najd, Taif and Riyadh and for people from UAE, India, Pakistan, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

  1. Miqat Yalamlam

This Miqat is situated 100 km southwest of Makkah and 90 km north of the city of al-Lith. It serves as a Miqat for people traveling to Makkah from the south and also for pilgrims traveling from countries like Nigeria, South Africa, etc.

  1. Miqat Dhu al Hulayfah

This Miqat is located 7 km southwest of Masjid- an- Nabawi and was defined by Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) as a Miqat for pilgrims from Madina.

  1. Miqat al-Juhfah

This Miqat is located 182 km northwest of Makkah, 17 km southeast of Rabigh and 15 km east of the Red Sea. It is a Miqat for people traveling from North America, Europe, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, and various other African countries.

After completing Umrah, pilgrims can remove Ihram. Men shave their heads and women cut their hair to the size of a finger before taking off the ihram. The Ihram for the Hajj and Umrah is the same. The only distinction is Umrah Ihram is worn until the end of the pilgrimage, whereas the Hajj Ihram is worn for four to five days. 

Ihram for Umrah demonstrates that on the day of Qayamat (the day of judgment), Allah will judge each individual by his deeds not by his worldly successes. It is an important ritual that represents equality of all humans, and it iterates that whether the pilgrim is a king or poor, all are the same in front of Allah. It demonstrates that every one should stand united irrespective of their status in society and devote themselves in the service of Allah.