Men in the state of Ihram are required to wear two white, simple pieces of cloth known as the Izar, which wraps around the waist covering the lower body and the Rida, which is draped over the shoulder covering the upper body, like a shawl. Shoes / sandals must not cover the ankles and the top part of the foot.
Women are not required to conform to a specific dress code and are free to wear what they please. Needless to say, clothing should be normal, modest Islamic dress with a head covering of any colour. Hands and faces must be uncovered.
The Definition of Ihram
The word Ihram is derived from the Arabic verb “Ahrama”, which means “to make something Haram“. The word is generally understood to refer to a person who has prepared himself to carry out the rites of Hajj and Umrah. Such a person is known as a “Muhrim“; literally, “one who has made things Haram upon himself.”
When is the Ihram Worn?
The Ihram must be worn before crossing the Miqat boundary. Assuming you’re travelling by air, you will have different options on where you can put on the Ihram depending on the company you’re flying with.
Flight with a non-Islamic Airline
If you’re flying with a non-Islamic airline such as British Airways, there will be no facilities on board where you’ll be able to pray or get changed. Therefore, getting changed into your Ihram at the airport prior to departure is advisable. It would be wise to check-in first and then get changed in the prayer room or in the bathroom.
Please note, during the flight, you may be offered scented wet wipes. These must not be used whilst you’re in the state of Ihram or you will have to pay a penalty as expiation. The use of tissues without a fragrance is permitted.
Flight with an Islamic Airline
If you’re flying with an Islamic airline such as Saudi Airlines, you will have access to a prayer area during the course of the flight. About 10 or 20 minutes away from the Miqat, you will be informed by the captain or a message will appear on the screen informing you that the Miqat is approaching. At this point, you should change into your attire if you haven’t done so already. If you feel uncomfortable changing into your Ihram whilst on an aeroplane or you feel you may have difficulties in doing so, it is advisable to follow the approach above and wear the Ihram at the airport prior to departure.
Flight that has one or more stops
If you’re not flying directly to Saudi Arabia and you’re going to stop over in another country for a period of time, you’re advised to change into the Ihram during the stopover at the airport, before your departure to Saudi Arabia.
Depending on the package you choose, you may go to Madinah for a period of time before going to Makkah to perform Hajj or Umrah. If this is the case, you must not enter into Ihram at the airport prior to departure or at a Miqat. You may wear normal clothing until you’re ready to depart from Madinah with the intention of performing Hajj or Umrah, at which point you enter into the state of Ihram.
You may enter into Ihram at your hotel in Madinah before departing for Makkah or at the designated Miqat for Madinah, Masjid Dhul Hulayfah. The taxi / coach will stop at the mosque on the way so you won’t need to worry about informing the driver to stop.
Prior to wearing the Ihram attire, you should be in a state of physical purity. You should take care of personal hygiene as instructed by Rasulullah ﷺ in the following Hadith:
حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ يُونُسَ، حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ “ الْفِطْرَةُ خَمْسٌ الْخِتَانُ، وَالاِسْتِحْدَادُ، وَقَصُّ الشَّارِبِ، وَتَقْلِيمُ الأَظْفَارِ، وَنَتْفُ الآبَاطِ ”.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه that he heard the Prophet ﷺ saying: “Five things are part of nature: circumcision, removing the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, clipping the nails and removing the hair under the armpit.”
[Narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari]
|If you haven’t done so already, you should ensure you:|
|Clip your finger and toe nails.|
|Remove the hair under the armpits.|
|Remove the hair under the navel.|
|Trim the moustache.|
Men may apply Ittar to their heads / beards, ensuring not to get any on the Ihram garments.
How to Wear the Ihram
|Put on the Izar as follows:|
|Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart ensuring you have enough room to walk freely once it’s tied. Maintain this position until the bottom part of the Ihram is secure.|
|Proceed to wrap the top part around the waist. Depending on the length of the garment, you will be able to wrap the garment around your waist more than once.|
|Once the Ihram is wrapped around your waist, begin to fold and tuck in from the top of the Ihram in increments of about 10 cm. This should ensure the Ihram is held securely.|
|The Izar should cover your entire Awrah. Any portion of your body from your navel to your knees should not be visible.|
|The Izar must not exceed the ankles. It is Sunnah for it to reach half way down the shin, just above your ankles.|
The top sheet (Rida) is then simply draped around the top half of the body like a shawl.
|Other things to take into consideration:|
|Avoid buying a very thin cotton Ihram – these may stick to you and become uncomfortable if you sweat. The thicker cotton garment or towelling is preferable and can later double up as towels / blankets etc.|
|Head coverings, even during Salah, and underwear must not be worn by men.|
|Your right shoulder should be covered at all times, except during Tawaf al-Umrah and Tawaf al-Qudum.|
|Slippers / shoes must not cover the ankle and the top part of the foot.|
|Don’t walk around wearing only the Izar.|
|Keep your Ihram clean and avoid using it to wipe yourself.|
|Take special care in the manner in which you sit whilst you’re in Ihram, so as not to expose yourself. As you won’t be wearing underwear, you may accidentally expose your private parts if due care isn’t taken.|
|Don’t throw the top part of the Ihram (Rida) over your shoulder – this may hit someone behind you.|
|It is a good idea to practice wearing and walking with the Ihram on beforehand so you become accustomed to it. Remember you will be spending 2-3 days in this state.|
After you have donned the Ihram garments, it is Sunnah to perform two Rakats of Salah al-Ihram before making the intention to enter into the state of Ihram. This should be performed before the Miqat has been crossed. Provided it isn’t one of the prohibited times for prayer, observe the Salah with the intention of performing two Rakats Nafl for Ihram.
Since you’re not in the spiritual state of Ihram yet, you may perform the Salah with your head covered. It is a Sunnah to recite Surah al-Kafirun (Surah 109) in the first Rakat and Surah al-Ikhlas (Surah 112) in the second Rakat, although any other Surah may be recited. Once you’ve finished, remove any headwear or anything else that may violate the rules of Ihram and get ready to make your intention.
Performing Salah al-Ihram is highly recommended and should not be avoided except with a valid excuse. Neglecting the Salah without a valid reason is disliked, although it won’t warrant a penalty if it is missed.
Women in the state of menstruation should not perform the Salah, rather they should make their intention for Hajj or Umrah and recite the Talbiyah.
If you’re flying to Jeddah, either directly or via a connecting flight, it is a good idea to perform Salah al-Ihram at the airport before boarding the aeroplane and then making your Niyyah whilst you’re on the flight before you cross the Miqat (about an hour before arriving at Jeddah airport). Delaying the Niyyah until the last moment is a good way of ensuring the restrictions of Ihram aren’t needlessly violated during or before the flight, particularly if flights are delayed or cancelled.
If you’re flying with an Islamic airline and choose to perform Salah al-Ihram on the aeroplane, you may find that there is a rush of people intending to perform the Salah making it difficult and uncomfortable to observe the prayer.
The Niyyah should be made at the Miqat or close to the Miqat as you move towards it. The intention must be made from the heart although it is also Mustahabb to utter the Niyyah verbally in Arabic or your native language. The following are some examples of intentions that can be made in Arabic:
Niyyah for Umrah
This Niyyah is to be made if you’re performing Umrah during any time of the year, or Umrah as part of Hajj al-Tamattu. Another Niyyah for Hajj al-Tamattu is made later.
لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ عُمْرَةً
Labbayk Allahumma Umrah.
O Allah, here I am to perform Umrah.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أُرِيْدُ الْعُمْرَةَ
Allahumma Innee Ureedul Umrah.
O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أُرِيْدُ الْعُمْرَةَ فَيَسِّرْهَا لِيْ وَتَقَبَّلْهَا مِنِّيْ
Allahumma Innee Ureedul Umrata fa-Yassirhaa lee wa Taqabbal-haa Minnee.
O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah, so accept it from me and make it easy for me.
Niyyah for Hajj
This Niyyah is to be made if you’re performing Hajj al-Tamattu (after Umrah has been completed) or Hajj al-Ifrad (only Hajj).
لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ حَجًّا
Labbayk Allahumma Hajj.
O Allah, here I am to perform Hajj.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أُرِيْدُ الْحَجَّ
Allahumma Innee Ureedul Hajj.
O Allah, I intend to perform Hajj.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أُرِيْدُ الْحَجَّ فَيَسِّرْهُ لِيْ وَتَقَبَّلْهُ مِنِّيْ
Allahumma Innee Ureedul Hajja fa Yassir-hu lee wa Taqabbal-hu Minnee.
O Allah, I intend to perform Hajj, so make it easy for me and accept it from me.
Niyyah for Umrah and Hajj
This Niyyah is to be made if you’re performing Hajj al-Qiran (Umrah and Hajj together).
لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ عُمْرَةً وَ حَجًّا
Labbayk Allahumma Umratan wa Hajj.
O Allah, here I am to perform Umrah and Hajj.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أُرِيْدُ الْعُمْرَةَ وَ الْحَجَّ
Allahumma Innee Ureedul Umrataw-wa Hajj.
O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah and Hajj.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أُرِيْدُ الْعُمْرَةَ وَ الْحَجَّ فَيَسِّرْهُمَا لِيْ وَتَقَبَّلْهُمَا مِنِّيْ
Allahumma Innee Ureedul Hajja fa Yassir-hu lee wa Taqabbal-hu Minnee.
O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah and Hajj, so make them easy for me and accept them from me.
Niyyah with a Stipulation (Ishtirat)
As you’re entering the state of Ihram, if you feel that something may potentially hinder the performance of your Hajj and Umrah, such as illness, you can add the following stipulation to your Niyyah:
اللَّهُمَّ مَحِلِّي حَيْثُ حَبَسْتَنِي
Allahumma mahilli haithu habastani.
O Allah, I will exit Ihram from the point You have prevented me.
This is based on the following Hadith:
حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ، عَنْ هِشَامٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ دَخَلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَى ضُبَاعَةَ بِنْتِ الزُّبَيْرِ فَقَالَ لَهَا ” لَعَلَّكِ أَرَدْتِ الْحَجَّ ”. قَالَتْ وَاللَّهِ لاَ أَجِدُنِي إِلاَّ وَجِعَةً. فَقَالَ لَهَا ” حُجِّي وَاشْتَرِطِي، قُولِي اللَّهُمَّ مَحِلِّي حَيْثُ حَبَسْتَنِي ”. وَكَانَتْ تَحْتَ الْمِقْدَادِ بْنِ الأَسْوَدِ.
Narrated by Aisha: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ entered upon Dubaa bint az-Zubair and said to her, “Do you have a desire to perform the Hajj?” She replied, “By Allah, I feel sick.” He said to her, “Intend to perform Hajj and stipulate a condition by saying, ‘O Allah, I will exit Ihram from the point You have prevented me (i.e. I am unable to go further).” She was the wife of al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad.
[Narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari]
The benefit here is that if circumstances do prevent you from completing the rites of Hajj or Umrah, or if you’re prevented from entering Makkah for some reason, Fidyah (expiation) won’t have to be paid to leave the state of Ihram. Halq or Taqsir (shaving or cutting the hair) must still be carried out in order to leave the state of Ihram.
Once you have entered into Ihram with a specific intention, you cannot change that intention to perform another type of Hajj. For example, if you’ve made the intention to perform Hajj al-Ifrad (Hajj alone), you may not change your intention to perform Umrah and Hajj al-Tamattu later.
However, it is permitted to change your intention before entering into the state of Ihram. For example, whilst you were at home or during your journey, you had the intention of performing Hajj al-Qiran (Hajj and Umrah together) but you make the intention of performing Hajj al-Tamattu when entering Ihram. This is perfectly legitimate.
Make sure you think carefully about the type of Hajj you want to perform prior to making your intention. Hajj al-Tamattu is the easiest and most common type of Hajj.
Niyyah for Others
Hajj al-Badal is the act of performing Hajj or Umrah on behalf of someone else who cannot perform Hajj due to illness / incapacity or some other legitimate reason.
If you are performing Hajj on behalf of someone else, such as your mother or your father, the Niyyah would be as follows:
عَنْ ___ بِنْ / بِنْت ___ لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ حَجًّا
Labbayk Allahumma Hajjan ‘an ……….. bin / bint ………..
O Allah, I intend to perform Hajj for ……….. son / daughter of ………..
If you’re performing Hajj or Umrah on behalf of someone, Niyyah must solely be made for that individual and nobody else.
If you want to pass on the reward to several people, you may do so with the performance of a Nafl (voluntary) Hajj or Umrah.
After making your intention, recite Talbiyah. The Sunnah method of reciting Talbiyah is to briefly pause at four places, indicated by the dashes. The words are as follows:
لَبَّيْكَ اللهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ – لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ – إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ – لَا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ –
Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Innal Hamda wan-Ni’mata Laka wal-Mulk. La Shareeka Lak.
At Your service, Allah, at Your service. At Your service, You have no partner, at Your service. Truly all praise, favour and sovereignty is Yours; You have no partner.
Although reciting any form of Dhikr as you enter the state of Ihram is permissible, reciting the Talbiyah is Sunnah.
Men should recite the Talbiyah audibly, whereas women should recite it softly. Talbiyah should be recited as much as possible throughout Hajj and Umrah.
|It is Sunnah to recite Talbiyah in the following instances:|
|When boarding or disembarking a vehicle.|
|When ascending or descending.|
|When encountering a group of pilgrims.|
|In the early parts of dawn.|
حَدَّثَنَا هَنَّادٌ، حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ عَيَّاشٍ، عَنْ عُمَارَةَ بْنِ غَزِيَّةَ، عَنْ أَبِي حَازِمٍ، عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يُلَبِّي إِلاَّ لَبَّى مَنْ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ أَوْ عَنْ شِمَالِهِ مِنْ حَجَرٍ أَوْ شَجَرٍ أَوْ مَدَرٍ حَتَّى تَنْقَطِعَ الأَرْضُ مِنْ هَا هُنَا وَهَا هُنَا ” .
Sahl bin Sa’d narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There is no Muslim who says the Talbiyah except that – on his right and left, until the end of the land, from here to there – the rocks, or trees, or mud say the Talbiyah.
[Narrated in Sunan al-Tirmidhi]
You are now in the state of Ihram. A pilgrim in the state of Ihram is known as a Muhrim.
Conditions of Ihram
|The permissible actions of Ihram are as follows:|
|Having a bath or shower, whether through necessity or not, as long as scented products are not used.|
|Gently washing your head and body, even if hair falls out.|
|Changing Ihram garments (can be done as often as necessary).|
|Using a money belt / waist pouch / string which helps to further secure the lower garment of the Ihram (Izar).|
|Using a safety pin to keep the top garment of the Ihram (Rida) from falling off or opening up constantly.|
|Covering the body and feet with a blanket while sleeping, although the face and the head should be exposed.|
|Using an umbrella or any other object for shade, provided it does not rest on the face or the head.|
|Carrying a backpack.|
|Killing potentially harmful animals / insects such as snakes, scorpions, flies and cockroaches.|
|Slaughtering domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, poultry etc. for food (hunting is strictly forbidden).|
|Injections / vaccinations.|
|Treatment where blood is extracted from the body, such as cupping.|
|Surgical procedures such as the extraction of teeth.|
|Watches, jewellery, identity wristband etc.|
|Hearing aids, glasses, contact lenses, sunglasses, braces, false teeth.|
|Socks and gloves (women only, not men).|
|Using a plaster or bandage for cuts and sprains anywhere on the body except for the face.|
|Using a Miswak (the use of toothpaste is debated because it creates a strong fragrance in the mouth).|
|Eating fragrant fruits such as apples and oranges.|
|Eating fruit flavoured sweets and chocolates.|
|Using tampons / sanitary towels.|
|These actions, although disliked, don’t carry a penalty.|
|Rubbing the body to remove dirt.|
|Washing the body with non-scented soap.|
|Combing the hair.|
|Scratching the body in such a manner that hair falls out.|
|Smelling fragrance deliberately.|
|Smelling fragrant fruits such as apples and oranges (although eating them is perfectly acceptable).|
|Wearing a bandage on any part of the body without a valid reason.|
|Wearing cosmetics / make-up.|
|Cleaning the nose with a cloth.|
|Eating strong scented sweets.|
|Sleeping with the face flat on the pillow.|
There are generally two types of prohibited actions whilst in the state of Ihram. The first is what is generally prohibited in day to day life and would constitute a sin e.g. using foul language, engaging in lewd behaviour, fighting and arguing. Although a penalty won’t have to be paid for engaging in such behaviour, it will no doubt take away some of the rewards and benefits of Hajj.
فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ
There is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj.
[Surah al-Baqarah, 2:197]
The second type of prohibited actions are those which generally wouldn’t constitute a sin and would be permitted outside the state of Ihram, but are prohibited whilst in the state of Ihram.
Violations & Penalties
Fidyah is obligatory when you have:
- Violated one of the prohibitions of Ihram, such as applying perfume or cutting the hair.
- Failed to perform a Wajib act of Hajj, such as crossing the Miqat without entering into the state of Ihram.
- Transgressed the sanctity of the Haram, such as killing an animal within its boundaries.
There are three categories of penalty, depending on the nature of the transgression:
This refers to offering a large sacrificial animal such as a camel or cow (the size of which normally constitutes seven parts).
Badanah would be required in the following two situations:
- Performing Tawaf in a state of major ritual impurity (requiring Ghusl), in a state of menstruation or after childbirth.
- Having sexual relations at any point between Wuquf in Arafat (on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah) and cutting the hair / Tawaf al-Ziyarah (on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah).
This refers to offering a small sacrificial animal such as a sheep or a goat (or the cost of one-seventh of a large animal if sharing).
|There are a number of actions which necessitate Damm:|
|Entering the Miqat without coming into Ihram.|
|Applying fragrances or perfumes to the body or to the clothing, or using scented substances.|
|Applying Henna or Kohl to the body.|
|Wearing stitched / sewn / tailored clothing that fits the shape of the body, in the case of men. For example, wearing underwear, shirts, trousers and jackets.|
|Wearing footwear that covers the ankle and the top part of the foot (the shoelace area), in the case of men.|
|Covering the head or face.|
|Shaving, cutting, trimming or removing hair from any part of the body.|
|Clipping the nails on the hands or feet.|
|Kissing, touching or embracing a person of the opposite gender with lust / desire.|
|Having sexual relations. Depending on when this takes place, it could also invalidate the Hajj or Umrah.|
|Hunting a prohibited animal.|
|Omitting an obligatory action of Hajj or Umrah or not performing it in the way it should be performed.|
The above list is not exhaustive. Please refer to these tables which provide a more comprehensive overview of actions that would require Damm.
This refers to providing charity to the poor and needy. It is recommended to give Sadaqah in the form of non-perishable staple food such as flour, wheat, barley, dates or raisins. Depending on the violation, the amount of Sadaqah falls into three categories:
- Complete Sadaqah al-Fitr – This is equivalent to about 3 kg of wheat, 6 kg of barley, 6 kg of dates or raisins or its value in money.
- Less than Sadaqah al-Fitr – This can be a handful of wheat or an equivalent. For example, killing a locust would necessitate a handful of wheat in Sadaqah.
- Sadaqah equivalent to the value – For example, causing harm to an animal or cutting trees within the boundaries of the Haram would require a payment of Sadaqah equivalent to the value of the damage caused. The amount due will be judged by two Muslim men who are local to the area and upright in their character.
|There are a number of actions which necessitate Sadaqah:|
|Applying small amounts of fragrances to the body / clothing or applying fragrances to small portions of the body / clothing.|
|Wearing stitched clothing or prohibited footwear for a small amount of time.|
|Covering a small portion of the head or the face.|
|Shaving, cutting, trimming or removing small amounts of hair from the body.|
|Clipping a few nails on the hands or feet.|
|Not performing obligatory actions of Hajj or Umrah completely or properly. For example, omitting a circuit of Sa’i or performing Sa’i with a wheelchair without a valid reason would require Sadaqah to be paid.|
|Causing harm to an animal.|
|Killing lice or locusts.|
|Cutting trees or grass within the boundaries of the Haram.|
The above list is not exhaustive. Please refer to these tables which provide a more comprehensive overview of actions that would require Sadaqah.
An individual in Ihram may be forced to commit an act which necessitates Damm or Sadaqah due to a valid excuse. Valid excuses include, but are not limited to, suffering from illness or being exposed to extreme environmental conditions. Generally, it includes anything that results in genuine hardship for the Muhrim.
If, due to a valid reason, the Muhrim wears stitched garments, uses a fragrant substance, cuts or trims the hair, clips the nails, covers the head or face, the individual has three choices:
- Giving Damm.
- Fasting for three days, at a convenient time and location.
- Giving Sadaqah al-Fitr to each of six poor people.
Committing an act due to error, forgetfulness, unconsciousness or poverty will not be regarded as a valid excuse.
Fidyah Rules and Regulations
|These are as follows:|
|Fidyah is not to be used intentionally to replace an obligatory rite of Hajj.|
|It’s not obligatory to pay the penalty immediately although it should be completed as soon as possible.|
|It must be fulfilled before death.|
|It doesn’t necessarily have to be done in the days of Tashreeq (between the 10th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah), if you’re performing Hajj.|
|The animal sacrifice must be performed within the boundaries of the Haram.|
|The animal must be of the correct age and free from any physical defects.|
|Coupons can be purchased for Damm and Sadaqah in kiosks around the Haram in the same way coupons for Hady can be purchased.|
|Someone else may pay for the Fidyah on your behalf, granted you have given permission.|
|The meat must go to the poor. You cannot eat the meat yourself, nor should it be distributed to the rich.|