Ihram is the clothing worn during the holy pilgrimage of Umrah and Hajj. Literally, Ihram means to enter into a state of purity and prohibition or to make something haram on ourselves for our good. Ihram for Umrah and Hajj is the first necessity of the pilgrimage. It is a state in which many things are forbidden. To enter into this state, certain rituals are to be performed by pilgrims. Let’s understand them one by one.
Things To Do Before Wearing Ihram
Despite being an important aspect of the pilgrimage, not everyone is aware of how to wear Ihram for Umrah. Before wearing Ihram, pilgrims must:
- Take ghusl, which is ablution or cleansing of the body.
- After taking ghusl, he/she must apply fragrance or Itar.
- Then he/she should trim nails.
How To Wear Ihram?
Umrah Ihram for men and women differs in many aspects, including clothing and rules & regulations.
Ihram For Men
The Hajj and Umrah Ihram for men consists of two white unstitched sheets. The cloth used for Ihram is a simple unstitched plain white cloth that must be wrapped around the body. Also, it must be new, otherwise the Umrah will be invalid.
It is believed that the cloth worn as Ihram is used as a Kafan, which is the cloth wrapped around a person when he/she dies. Kafan should not have a single stitch according to the religious rules. The shoes should not be stitched either, hence it is advisable to wear slippers or flip-flops. Men must not cover their hair nor their face while in Ihram. While wearing Ihram, they should make sure that their calves must be visible.
Ihram For Women
The Hajj and Umrah Ihram for ladies is very different as compared to men. Women can wear any ordinary dress for Umrah. They must cover their head but are forbidden to cover their faces. They are not allowed to wear burkha or niqab (an item of clothing used by Muslim women to cover their bodies) while in Ihram. A hijab (a cloth used by women in Islam to cover their hair) is mandatory. Their head dress must not cover their forehead. While in Ihram, women must not cut or trim nails or hair. Application of any type of fragrance or makeup is forbidden while being in Ihram.
Here is everything to know about Ihram for women.
When & Where To Wear Ihram For Umrah?
Ihram is obligatory beyond a certain (geographical) boundary called Miqat. Pilgrims should wear Ihram before or at the time of entering the miqat. Once a person enters a miqat, he/she cannot remove the Ihram clothing until the pilgrimage is completed. The four important miqats in Umrah are:
1. Miqat Qarn al-Manazil
This Miqat is situated 80km northeast of Masjid al-haram and 40 km from the city of Ta’if. It serves as a Miqat for people living in Najd, Ta’if and Riyadh and for people from UAE, India, Pakistan, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
2. Miqat Yalamlam
This Miqat is situated 100km southwest of Makkah and 90km north of the city of al-Lith. It serves as a Miqat for people traveling to Makkah from the south and also for pilgrims travelling from countries like Nigeria, South Africa, etc.
3. Miqat Dhu al Hulayfah
This Miqat is located 7km southwest of Masjid- an- Nabawi and was defined by Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) as a Miqat for pilgrims from Madina.
4. Miqat al-Juhfah
This Miqat is located 182km northwest of Makkah, 17km southeast of Rabigh and 15km east of the Red Sea. It is a Miqat for people travelling from North America, Europe, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, and various other African countries.
After completing Umrah, pilgrims can remove Ihram at the respective Miqat. Before removing the Ihram, men shave their head while women trim their hair by the size of a finger. Ihram for Umrah and Hajj is the same. The only difference is Umrah Ihram is worn till the end of the pilgrimage while Ihram for Hajj is worn for 4-5 days.
Ihram for Umrah conveys that on the day of Qayamat (the day of judgement), Allah will judge every person by his deeds not by his worldly achievements. It is an important ritual that symbolizes equality of all humans, and iterates that whether the pilgrim is a prince or a pauper all are the same in front of Allah. It shows that all should stand united irrespective of their status in society and devote themselves in the service of Allah.