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The ihram is basically a costume worn by Muslims. It is the sacred state of ihram which they wear while performing their pilgrimage to Makkah. The ihram consists of two lengths of usually white, seamless fabric, one worn about the hips and the other over the shoulders. Ihram is not just about the clothes you put on, its about a state of being you put yourself in before entering the sacred territory intending to perform Hajj or Umrah.


Ihram comes from the root word Ḥ-R-M, in Islam, a sacred state which a Muslim must enter in order to perform the major pilgrimage (Hajj) or the minor pilgrimage (Umrah). A pilgrim must enter into this state before crossing the pilgrimage boundary, known as Meeqat, by performing the cleansing rituals (Ghusl) and wearing the prescribed attire.


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Literally the word Ihram means to enter into a sanctity which cannot be broken. In the context of the blessed shari’ah (Islamic Law), ihram means to enter into a state in which certain actions are not permissible.


Steps to take before entering into Ihram

Before entering into a state of Ihram you should first take bath (Ghusl). It is also recommended to:

  • Trim your finger and toe nails if needed
  • Shave under your arms if needed 
  • Trim the moustache (leave the beard as it is)
  • Apply perfume to your head and beard (men only), and not to the garments. Women are strictly forbidden to wear perfume in Ihram or while in the presence of men who are not their mahram.
  • Perform Ghusl (ceremonial bath) or wudhu (ablution), Ghusl is preferable, apply perfume, wear two new or clean sheets.


Note: offering 2 rakat optional Salah after wearing Ihram is not established from sunnah except for those who are starting their Hajj or Umrah from Meeqat of DHUL HULAIFAHin Madinah.


The Method for Ihram

There are two conditions without which Ihram is not valid, Intention and Dhikr.


For men it is very apparent as they have a specific garment to wear. It is two clean preferably white unfitted pieces of cloth. The lower part of the Ihram is referred to as Izar and the top part as Rida. The shoes/sandals must not cover the ankles.

are free to wear what they please. Needless to mention, it should conform to the Islamic code of dress. It can be of any color but attractive garment. Some women insist on wearing white or green. There is no authentic basis in the sunnah for this action.


Wearing the Ihram garments does not mean that you are in the state of Ihram. A pilgrim is in the state of Ihram ONLY once the niyah (intention) has been uttered.


Then perform intention and read the Talbiyyah: After tying of Ihram, intend for Hajj by saying these words “Allahumma labbaika Hajjan”


After tying Ihram, say talbiyah (labbaik Allahumma labbaik labbaika laa sharika laka labbaik innal hamda wannamata laka walmulk laa sharika laka) loudly and read this dua one time. (Allahumma Hazihi Hajjatun lariya'a feeha wala suma'ah) O'Allah the intention of my Hajj is neither to show off to any one nor to gain any popularity. (Ibn-e-Majah)


I am present Oh Allah I am present, I am present (I testify that) there is no God besides you I am present, Indeed all praises and blessings are yours and the kingdom is yours, There is no God besides you.


Obligations during Ihram

During the state of ihram for Hajj or 'Umrah, the following are obligatory:

  1. To faithfully observe all that Allah has made obligatory, such as the daily prayers at their proper times.
  2. To avoid what Allah has prohibited, such as wrongdoing, quarreling and committing sins.
  3. To guard against injuring the Muslims by deed! or by word.
  4. To abstain from what is prohibited during ihram, namely:
    1. Do not cut your nails or pull out hair. There is no blame on you if these break or come off by themselves without your intending it.
    2. Do not use scent, whether on the clothes or on the body, or in food or drink. There is no harm if the effect of scent applied before putting on ihram remains.
    3. Do not kill, frighten or assist in hunting or harassing as long as you are in ihram.
    4. Within the precints of al-Haram no one, in the state of ihram or not allowed to cut trees (which grows by itself), pluck vegetables or collect a lost property except for the sake of identifying it for its owner. For the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said so.
    5. Do not propose to a woman or contract marriage either for yourself or on behalf of others. Sexual intercourse is prohibited too, so is touching the opposite sex with desire. All these actions are-prohibited during the period of ihram.


All these prohibitions apply equally to men and women alike.


Prohibited Things in Ihram

  • A man may not put any covering on his head. However, the shade of an umbrella or the roof of a car is permissible. There is no harm in carrying something on the head.
  • A man may not wear a shirt or anything else which is sewn, such as a burnoose, turban, trousers, khuff (short, thin boot), on the whole or a part of his body. However, if an izar (one of the two garments of ihram, worn on the lower part of the body) is not available, trousers may be worn, and if sandals are not available khuff may be worn.
  • It is forbidden for a woman to wear gloves on her hands or to cover her face with a face-veil (niqab) or burq'u (drape) during the state of ihram. However, if male strangers are around her, she should conceal her face with her head-covering or something similar. These rules apply until she comes out of ihram.
  • If a person wears a sewn garment or covers his head (for men), uses perfume, pulls out some hairs, or cuts his nails through forgetfulness or due to ignorance,there is no fidyah (expiation) for him. He should stop doing such things as soon as he remembers or is reminded of then.
  • It is permissible to wear sandals, a ring, a pair of glasses, a hearing aid, a wrist watch, and a belt or a girdle which protects one's money or documents.
  • It is permissible to change one's clothes and to wash them, as well as to wash one's hair and body, and it does not matter if some hair inadvertently falls out during washing.


If the pilgrim shaves his hair because of ailment in his (her) scalp then he (she) must compensate by doing one of three choices:

(a) Three days of fasting, (b) offering an animal sacrifice (sheep or goat), or (c) feeding six poor people as mentioned in Tafseer of Ahsanul Bayan for Qur’an.Surah Baqrah 2:196.


Errors Related to lhram

Some pilgrims bypass the designated Station of lhram called Meeqat on their route without either being in ihram or entering into ihram there, proceeding until they reach Jeddah or some other place within the precincts of the Stations, at which they enter into ihram. This is against the command of Allah's Messenger (peace be on him), which stipulates that every pilgrim should enter into ihram at the Station of ihram which lies on his route.


If this happens to someone, he must either go back to the Station of ihram lying on his route and there enter into ihram, or he must make expiation by sacrificing a sheep in Makkah and feeding all its meat to the poor.


This applies to all pilgrims regardless of whether one passes the Station of ihram by air, by sea or by land.


If one did not pass through one of the five designated Stations of lhram called Meeqat, he should enter into ihram at a point which is nearest to the Station of ihram on his route.


Method of wearing Ihram

Men wear the lower part by wrapping it around their waist.


The top part is thrown over, covering both shoulders. The right shoulder is only open during first tawaf called Tawaf E Qadoom.


If possible avoid buying the very thin cotton Ihram. It sticks to you if you sweat. The toweling or the thicker cotton ones are much better. They can be used as towels, blankets, for shading, etc., later on. One may imagine that it will be hot using a toweling cloth; however, this is not normally the case.


The one piece is wrapped around your waist like you would normally do with a towel when coming out from the bath. (This is very easy for those people who are used to wearing a “lungi/sarong”).

The other piece is thrown over your shoulders covering the upper part of your body. Your right shoulder is open only during Tawaaf f or Umrah and the welcome Tawaaf (Tawaaf-al-Qudoom). It should be covered at all other times, especially while performing salah. Do not be concerned when you notice that so many of the male pilgrims are walking around with their right shoulder exposed.

It is acceptable to wear a money belt to assist in “keeping up” the lower part. A safety pin is also very useful to keep the top part from falling off or constantly opening up.
Although if the lower part is put on properly, you will not need anything to help "keeping it on".

There are no special clothing requirements for women in Ihram; other than, not covering the face and hands while in Ihram. It is acceptable to adopt the Ihram clothes prior to reaching the Meqaat if it's more convenient. Now all that is require is for the intention to be made.


The niyah should be uttered at the meqaat or close to it after your transport has started moving towards it. The intention is to be made aloud. To enter the state of Ihram one must make niyah for Umrah or Hajj by saying: 

"Labbayk  AllahummaUmrah."


“Oh Allah here I am performing Umrah.”


"Labbayk Allahumma Hajjan."


“Oh Allah here I am performing Hajj.“


Note:In Hajj E Qiran you should perform the niyyah of both Umrah and Hajj. And In hajj E Ifrad you should do only niyyah of Hajj.


Menstruating or post-natal bleeding women MUST also enter into the state of Ihram. They should follow the steps as listed and proceed to Makkah, Mina or Arafat (as appropriate). They should complete all the rites of Hajj except for Tawaaf while in the state of menstruation or post-natal bleeding.


If you are performing Hajj for someone else (e.g., your mother or father), the only place where you mention the name of that person is in the niyah. The rest of the Hajj rites are the same as if you were doing it for yourself.


Niyah for Hajj on behalf of someone else:

"Labbayk  Allahummah Hajjan 'an;  name of the person."

“Oh Allah here I am performing hajj for …..…”

Now we should start saying the Talbiyah. Men should recite the Talbiyah loudly once they are in the state of Ihram as often as possible. A woman raises her voice only to the extent of being heard by the person next to her.


"LabbaykAllahummalabbayk. Labbaykalaashareekalakalabbayk.


Innal-hamda wan-ni'matalakawalmulk. Laashareekalak."


“Here I am O Allah, Here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am.
Surely all praise, grace and dominion are Yours, and You have no partner.“


You are now in the state of Ihram! A person in the state of Ihram is a Muhrim.


What you can do in a state of Ihram

  • Wearing a wristwatch, eyeglasses, money belt, rings, sunglasses, hearing or speech aid, etc
  • Cleansing oneself (including having a bath or shower) with unscented soap and to wash and gently scratch one's head and body, even if hair may fall out
  • Changing one’s Ihram garments. Removing the Ihram clothes does not nullify the state of Ihram. One’s niyah places one in the state of Ihram and cutting of one’s hair removes one from this state
  • Having a shelter over one’s head, whether in a car, under an umbrella, or in a tent or building
  • Men may also cover their feet (but not their head) while sleeping, with their Ihram or a blanket


What you cannot do in a state of Ihram

Before uttering the niyah, one is not considered a Muhrim (in the state of Ihram) even if one wears the clothes of Ihram. Only after uttering the niyah does one become a muhrim and thus the following prohibitions apply. Expiation (fidyah) is due if any of the prohibitions are violated intentionally:

  • Men must not wear clothes that are tailored to fit parts of the human body or which shows the part of body in shapes (It is allowed to use umbrella, sandals, watch, belt, purse or wallet in the form of stitch), for example trousers, jackets, shirts, etc. Meaning fitted clothes. There is a common misconception that one may not wear stitched clothes or sandals. However, this has no basis in the sunnah, as it as an issue of fitted and not stitches. Hence, the Ihram tops with studs should be avoided as it forms a fitted garment. Also, any sandal or shoe must not cover the ankle.
  • Men MUST NOT wear any underwear or headgear. Men are not allowed to cover their heads. Note that the face is a part of the head and thus it must not be covered.
  • Though women can wear normal clothes, they must NOT wear gloves or a face cover that has openings for their eyes (nikaab). Instead, they can fully cover their faces and hands in the presence of men who are not their mahram
  • Must not apply perfume, wear perfumed clothes, nor use any perfumed substances (shampoo, soap, etc.). Caution, some tissues are perfumed so avoid it. 
  • Must not trim his/her nails.
  • Must not cut his/her hair.
  • Must neither marry, give anyone else in marriage, nor propose marriage.
  • Must not perform any act likely to arouse sexual passion or indulge in any intimate marital relations.
  • Must not hunt or participate in hunting (fishing is allowed).
  • Must not commit an act of disobedience to Allah, such as smoking. 
  • Must not get involved in idle talk or disputes, i.e. fights, arguments and quarrels.


A persons General Etiquette while in Ihram

  • Avoid walking around with only the bottom part of your Ihram.
  • Keep your right shoulder covered (except during Tawaaf).
  • Avoid throwing the ‘lose’ end of your Ihram over your shoulder, as you may ‘hit’ the person behind you in the face.
  • Keep your Ihram clean and do not use it as a cloth to wipe your hands.
  • Take extra care as to how you sit, especially on stairs, to avoid exposing yourself. As it is unusual for you to be without underwear, you can easily expose your private parts. This is very common while sitting on the stairs inside the masjid.


You are now a "Guest of Allah" and you should behave accordingly.



Hajj and Tawheed by Dr. Saleh (


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