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A Comprehensive Ihram for Umrah Guide for Men and Women

Nov 23, 2023

Ihram is the essential first step in performing Umrah, embodying purity and devotion. Proper preparation and adherence to its rules ensure a successful pilgrimage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ihram Significance: A state of purity and devotion required before starting Umrah rituals.
  • Preparation: Ghusl, applying fragrance, trimming nails, and removing body hair.
  • Dress Code: Specific unstitched clothing for men; modest abayas for women, with certain rules for children.
  • Restrictions: Avoid perfumes, trimming hair or nails, marital relations, and wearing stitched clothing.
  • Miqat Points: Specific locations where Ihram must be worn before entering the holy areas.

Performing the Umrah is among the most sacred and blessed acts of worship any Muslim can do, enabling them to attain forgiveness for sins and become stronger in their faith. But while the rewards of this sacred ritual are truly great, the pilgrimage must be performed correctly in order to be accepted by Allah. This happens when pilgrims complete a set of rituals appropriately, ensuring to follow in the footsteps of the blessed Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).

The foremost step of embarking on Umrah is the Ihram. First-time travellers to the house of Allah still learning about this pious journey will find the ensuing information about how to correctly enter the state of Ihram helpful.

So, before you secure Umrah packages 2024, take a quick peek at the following guide to know the right way to go about the holy voyage.

What is Ihram?

In the simplest of terms, Ihram is a dedicated, single-minded state of purity toward Allah that all pilgrims must enter into before beginning the Umrah rituals. In addition to unwavering focus, it also referred to the unstitched clothing worn during the entire holy pilgrimage.

Ihram is the very first and most crucial necessity to perform this remarkable act of worship, during which there are several forbidden things that pilgrims must keep away from. Also, they need to follow certain rules to enter into this pivotal state and wear the clothing thereupon.

Ihram Rules: What to Do Before Wearing the Ihram

There are a couple of crucial steps to take before one is permitted to wear the Ihram clothing. These are:

  • Take Ghusl: The term Ghusl means main ablution, wherein pilgrims must wash the entire body with clean water along with a declaration of purpose. It goes along with Niyat for Ihram, which is the intention of the heart in carrying out this sacred act of worship.

  • Apply Fragrance (or Itar): This is where you are permitted to apply non-alcoholic perfumes to the body, but not to the clothing.

  • Trim Nails: In addition to trimming nails, you must also remove hair from your underarms and private parts.

Ihram for Men

The clothing for men in Umrah consists of two new all-white pieces of unstitched sheets that must be wrapped around the body. No other clothes must be worn underneath this apparel. The belief is that this clothing is symbolic of a Kafan, the cloth wrapped around a deceased person, which must not have even a single stitch.

For this reason, even the footwear must not be stitched, and so it is prudent to pick comfortable flip-flops or slippers, wherein the ankles are left uncovered. Note that you must not cover your face or hair while in the state of Ihram. Also, ensure the calves are visible.

Ihram for Women

Although a hijab is mandatory, women aren't allowed to wear burqas or face coverings during Umrah. Their clothing can be any loose-fitting abaya of either black or white colour that covers their body modestly. Women are allowed to wear shoes and socks in this state, but they must not wear footwear with laces as they need to take them off at wudhu.

Menstruating women can enter Ihram at the set Miqat points, but are not permitted to perform the pilgrimage until the end of their cycle, post which they must take a Ghusl. Additionally, women are not permitted to trim or cut hair and nails. They must not apply fragrance or make-up either when in Ihram.

Ihram for Children

Children seven years old and younger who can walk independently should wear the Ihram clothing. The intention for them must be made by their guardians, and the children must be kept away from the set restrictions of being in this state. It is not necessary for infants to wear this clothing, as they are too young to understand and be aware of the importance of its purpose.

Where to Wear the Ihram?

Wearing the Ihram apparel is mandatory beyond certain geographical boundaries, called Miqat. They must perform the rituals and wear the clothing before or while entering the Miqat. Once they enter, they cannot remove the garment until they complete their pilgrimage. There are four crucial Miqats in Umrah, which are:

  • Miqat Qarn al-Manazil : Located northeast of Masjid Al-Haram

  • Miqat Yalamlam : Located southwest of the holy city of Makkah

  • Miqat Dhu al Hulayfah : Located southwest of Masjid-an-Nabawi

  • Miqat al-Juhfah : Located northwest of the holy city of Makkah

The clothing can be removed at the same or respective Miqat upon completing the pilgrimage. Before doing so, men must shave their heads while women can trim a small portion of their hair.

Don'ts of Ihram

First-time travellers to Saudi Arabia might not be aware that there are a specific set of things they must not indulge in when they enter the state of Ihram. Otherwise, their act of worship becomes void, rendering their journey pointless. The following are a few of the forbidden things for Umrah pilgrims who have entered into this crucial state.

  • Using perfumes
  • Trimming hair or nails
  • Having intimate marital relations
  • Reciting nikah
  • Proposing marriage to someone
  • Hunting or harming animals (unless there is a threat to you)
  • Wearing stitched clothing
  • Fighting
  • Covering the head (only for men)

A few common things allowed for men and women in this significant stage of the journey include breastfeeding, taking a shower, sleeping if exhausted, changing the Ihram sheets, taking injections, and using contact lenses or glasses.

In Conclusion

Remember that the Ihram state and apparel are symbolic of equality between all humans, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. It means that on the day of judgement, Allah will judge every Muslim by their deeds, and not by their worldly possessions or achievements.

So, when you enter into Ihram and put on the unstitched garment, keep these vital points in mind and humble yourself for a successful Umrah. It will help you arrive at the house of Allah with a pure heart and the right intentions, enabling you to attain forgiveness of sins and be increased in your faith.

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A Comprehensive Ihram for Umrah Guide for Men and Women

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