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Ihram For Umrah Guide: Rites And Rituals For Men And Women


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:

  1. Take ghusl, which is ablution or cleansing of the body.
  2. After taking ghusl, he/she must apply fragrance or Itar.
  3. Then he/she should trim nails.

Let’s understand a few important things in detail:

Ghusl in Ihram

ghusl before Ihram
Pilgrim performing Ghusl

Ghusl is the term for the ‘main ablution’ in Islam, which is when the complete body is washed with ritually clean water and is necessary for both the living and the dead. Every time a significant ritual impurity has been attained, the ghusl, together with a declaration of purpose, must be done. A person who is junub (impure) is forbidden from participating in the daily ritual prayer, making the main and minor pilgrimages around the Ka’bah in Mecca, touching the Qur’an, reciting its words, or entering a mosque. Because it is known that the Prophet performed ghusl when he was in ihram, it is acceptable for the pilgrim to do ghusl for the sake of cleanliness while they are in ihram. Additionally, it is acceptable for the pilgrim to exchange his ihram clothing for newer, cleaner items. He may also take pleasure in utilising the air conditioning and other comforts.

Niyat for Ihram Umrah

Niyyah or Niyat for Ihram may be defined as the intention in one’s heart to carry out the deed for Allah’s benefit. It simply refers to the desire to carry out a worshipful deed. It is a necessary condition for carrying out any Ibadat. It is justified by Niyyah’s distinction between the sacred acts of worship and routine daily activities. Additionally, it distinguishes between the kind and degree of worship, determining whether the prayer is required or optional.

According to the Prophet, a deed’s outcome depends on the performer’s intentions. And, a person gets rewarded according to what is on their thoughts and in their heart when they perform the deed. Among the rites carried out during Umrah, the Umrah Niyat dua is of the highest importance.

Must Read: Niyyah For Ihram: How To Perform And Obligations

How To Wear Ihram Clothing?

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.

Family wearing Ihram attire

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?

Miqat Qarn al-Manazil
Miqat Qarn al-Manazil

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.

how to prepare for Ihram
Getting ready for Ihram – Guide

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.

Ihram For Umrah Guide FAQs

What are the rules of ihram?

There are several rules of Ihram that dictate what a devotee should do before entering the state of ihram, what kind of clothes men and women can wear and what people should avoid while wearing ihram.

Is ihram necessary for Umrah?

Yes, ihram is mandatory for all those who wish to perform Umrah.

How do you wear ihram?

While wearing ihram, it is essential to be careful of what to wear and what to avoid. It is advisable to learn everything there is to know about ihram rules and regulations before the pilgrimage.

Can I wear ihram from Jeddah?

Only residents of Jeddah or those who intend to travel to the city with another intention like business or tourism are allowed to wear ihram in Jeddah. Others should travel to the nearest Miqat to wear ihram.

What is forbidden in ihram?

There are several things forbidden in ihram such as hunting, sexual activities, quarrelling, wearing perfume, applying makeup, removing hair and cutting nails.

Dr Omar Ayoub

Dr. Omar Ayoub is a tech enthusiast and a part time researcher and accounts authorship of several international publications. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from USA and has an experience of more than 10 years in Saudi Arabia working in tourism, hospitality, education, technology and retail sector. His interests include traveling, writing, and exploring trending technologies.

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