June 01, 2017 Abu Muneer Ismail Davids
Tags: ihraam

General Guidelines:

The rites of Umrah and Hajj begin by entering into the state of Ihraam.

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 Ihraam is referred to as Izar and the top part as Rida.

The shoes/sandals must not cover the ankles (it does not have to be plastic, as stitched leather or other material, sandals or shoes are acceptable).

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

Wearing the Ihraam garments does not mean that you are in the state of Ihraam. The state of Ihraam means to be in a state of ritual consecration. This is normally done at a specific area called the meqaat.

A pilgrim is in the state of Ihraam ONLY once the niyah has been uttered.


Adopting the Ihraam

1. Preparation

ü  Trim your finger and toe nails if needed

ü  Shave under your arms if needed

ü  Shave your pubic hair if needed

As narrated by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (saw) set a period during which the moustaches and nails be trimmed, hair under the armpit be removed and those below the navel be cut. He asked us not to leave them unattended for more than forty days. (Muslim)

ü  Trim the moustache (leave the beard as it is)

ü  To perform ghusl  (shower) is sunnah

ü  Apply perfume to your head and beard (men only), and not to the garments. Women are strictly forbidden to wear perfume in Ihraam or while in the presence of men who are not their mahram.

The Prophet (saw) said:

"Five things are part of nature: to get circumcised, to remove the hair below one's navel, to trim moustaches and nails and remove the hair under the armpit."  (Bukhari & Muslim)                                                  

If possible avoid buying the very thin cotton Ihraam. 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 towelling 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 for 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.

If you are not used to it, it may be a good idea to practise walking with it, making sure it does not fall off and also that you can move your legs. Remember, you will be in this gear for about 2 to 3 days (8, 9 & 10th of Dhul-Hijja).

As the pilgrim is preparing for the journey and for the state of Ihraam, it is natural that most men have a haircut and some men clean-shave their beards. We guess this is to be “neat and tidy” for the trip.

As mentioned earlier, only the moustache should be trimmed and the beard should not be shaved:

The Prophet (saw) said:

"Oppose the polytheists. Let your beards grow and trim your moustaches." (Bukhari & Muslim)            

About the haircut. Save your money, as you will be cutting your hair after having completed your Umrah!


2. Put on your Ihraam clothes

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 tawaaf for Umrah and Tawaaf-ul-Qudoom.

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.

Watches, hearing aids, eye-glasses, contact lenses,    sunglasses, etc. are all acceptable to wear while in Ihraam.

No head gear (men only).

No underwear (men only).

Slippers/shoes must not cover the ankles.

Women should cover their feet. They can wear socks.

Covering of the face and hands for women (see chapter 3 in this book).

It is acceptable to adopt the Ihraam clothes prior to reaching the meqaat if it's more convenient.

Though unlikely in this day and age, there are exceptions allowed for those who do not have the recommended garments or shoes:

The Prophet (saw) said:

 "Some who cannot get shoes may put on the leather socks, and who cannot get Izar (wrap) may put on trousers."   (Bukhari & Muslim)             


3. Recite your niyah out loud          

The niyah should be uttered at the meqaat or close to it after your transport has started moving towards it.

This is the only instance where one's niyah is made   aloud. All other times any niyah is to be done by heart only, and not the tongue.

To enter the state of Ihraam one must make niyah for Umrah or Hajj by saying: 

For Umrah (Hajj Tamattu - the niyah for Hajj is to be made later):

لَبَّيْكَ الّلهُمَّ عُمْرَة

"Labbayk  Allahumma Umrah."


“Oh Allah here I am performing Umrah.”


For Hajj only (Hajj Ifrad and for Tamattu later):

لَبَّيْكَ الّلهُمَّ حَجًّا

"Labbayk Allahumma Hajjan."


“Oh Allah here I am performing Hajj.“


For Umrah & Hajj together (Hajj Qiran):

لَبَّيْكَ الّلهُمَّ عُمْرَةً وَحَجًّا

"Labbayk Allahumma Umratan wa Hajjan."


“Oh Allah here I am performing Umrah and Hajj.”


It is preferred that this is done after a salah. (The Prophet (e) pronounced his niyah after having performed Salatul-Dhuhr.)

There is no Salatul-Ihraam as some books teach (to perform two rak'at salah after adopting Ihraam).

There are also no other niy’at to recite (i.e., "Allahumma Innee ureedu Hajj..."). Both these actions have not been established in the sunnah whereas the listed method has.

Menstruating or post-natal bleeding women MUST also enter into the state of Ihraam. 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:

                                                               لَبَّيْكَ الّلهُمَّ حَجًّا عَنْ

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


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


Niyah with a stipulation (Ishtirat)

If one, while entering the state of Ihraam, fears one is likely to be subjected to illness or anything else that might obstruct one’s Umrah or Hajj, then one can recite a clause of stipulation to Allah by saying:

فَإِنْ حَبَسَنِي حَابِسٌ فَمَحِلِّي حَيثُ حَبَستَنِي          

"Fa in habasani haabisun, fa mahilli haithu habastani."

“Thus, if I am hindered by any obstacle, then my place of conclusion is where You have held me.”

This is based upon the Prophet's (e) order to Dhuba'ah Bint Al-Zubair (may Allah be pleased with her) to pronounce the statement of the Ishtirat (stipulation) when she complained of being ill. This hadith is related by Bukhari and Muslim. The advantage of this is that if one is faced with an obstacle that prevents one from completing Umrah, then it is permissible for one to make tahallul, i.e. to conclude Umrah early without offering fidyah (expiation). Shaving (men) the head or cutting the hair (women) must still be done, in order to be released from the state of Ihraam.

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

لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ،

إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَ النِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَ الْمُلْكَ لا شَرِيكَ لَكَ

"Labbayk Allahumma labbayk. Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk.

Innal-hamda wan-ni'mata laka wal mulk. Laa shareeka lak."


“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 Ihraam! A person in the state of Ihraam is a Muhrim. (Muslim)

Conditions of the Muhrim

Before uttering the niyah, one is not considered a muhrim (in the state of Ihraam) even if one wears the clothes of Ihraam. 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:

ý  Men must not wear clothes that are tailored to fit parts of the human body, 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 Ihraam tops with studs should be avoided as it forms a fitted garment. Also, any sandal or shoe must not cover the ankle.

ý  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.

ý  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.

ý  Must not apply perfume, wear perfumed clothes, nor use any perfumed substances (shampoo, soap, etc.). Caution, some tissues are perfumed.

ý  Must not trim his/her nails.

ý  Must not cut his/her hair.

ý  Must neither marry, give anyone else in marriage, nor propose marriage.

ý  Must not perform any act likely to arouse sexual passion or indulge in any intimate marital relations.

ý  Must not hunt or participate in hunting (fishing is allowed).

ý  Must not commit an act of disobedience to Allah, such as smoking.

ý  Must not get involved in idle talk or disputes, i.e. fights, arguments and quarrels.


Permissible actions while you are in the state of Ihraam:

      þ  Wearing a wristwatch, eyeglasses, money belt, rings, sunglasses, hearing or speech aid, etc.

þ  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.

þ  Changing one’s Ihraam garments. Removing the Ihraam clothes does not nullify the state of Ihraam. One’s niyah places one in the state of Ihraam and cutting of one’s hair removes one from this state.

þ  Having a shelter over one’s head, whether in a car, under an umbrella, or in a tent or building.

þ  Men may also cover their feet (but not their head) while sleeping, with their Ihraam or a blanket.

If a person does not complete his Umrah or Hajj after entering into the state of Ihraam or commits an act which is prohibited (while in the state of Ihraam), then a sacrifice (expiation/dumm) is due upon him or her.


Etiquette for men, while in Ihraam:

·         Avoid walking around with only the bottom part of your Ihraam.

·         Keep your right shoulder covered (except during tawaaf).

·         Avoid throwing the ‘lose’ end of your Ihraam over your shoulder, as you may ‘hit’ the person behind you in the face.

·         Keep your Ihraam 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 mosque.