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Ihram is a sacred state which a pilgrim must enter before performing hajj or umrah. A pilgrim must be in the state of ihram from the time you cross Meeqat till you finish your hajj or umrah. A pilgrim in the state of ihram is called Muhrim. If a pilgrim's ihram becomes invalid, the umrah becomes invalid too. A person who is in a state of ihram is prohibited from doing some acts which are permissible in a normal state.

Ihram is a state of consecration in which certain worldly activities are prohibited. Certain things which are allowed in Islam becomes not permitted.

E.g., clipping the nails, shaving any part of the body, having sexual relations; using perfumes, damaging plants, killing animals, covering one's head (for men) or one's face and hands (for women); getting married, or carrying weapons.

How to enter the state of ihram

An individual who wishes to enter the state of ihram must purify himself/herself. Purification means spiritual purification and physical purification.

Spiritual purification is to purify oneself spiritually. You must ask for forgiveness from Allah for all the sins you have committed. And you must not intend to perform the sin in the future. You must repent Sincerely. There are sins between you and Allah, which Allah alone forgive you. And there are sins which you might have caused injustice to others. Allah may not forgive these sins unless you ask forgiveness from whom you had harmed.

Physical purification is to purify oneself physically. You may trim your hair and beard, and You must cut your pubic hair and cut your nails. After that, have a good shower. You may Apply scented soap but wash it with water thoroughly after applying it. Then after washing your self, apply oil and comb your hair. You may Apply non-Alcoholic scents to your body before wearing ihram clothes. Do not use any fragrances or perfumes on your ihram clothes.

Ihram for men

Ihram for men is very, very specific. It’s two sheets of white Unstitched clothes.

The cloth around the waist is called izar. You must wear it above the naval.

The cloth around the shoulder is called Rida. Stitched clothes are not allowed or men, which means no undergarments. There are two kinds of material available in the market. One is towel like, and the other is cotton-like. I strongly advise you to get the towel like material. The cotton like material sticks to your skin when you sweat if your ihram gets wet. Then it exposes your skin. Embarrassing.

Men are allowed to wear a belt and carry bags, But not allowed to wear socks, shoes or boots which covers the top part of the feet. You may wear the slippers which are known as flipflops.

Men are not allowed to cover the head. So men are not allowed to wear caps or cover the head with any cloths.

o   It is permissible for the pilgrim in ihram to wear sandals, even if the sandal has a strap going across the foot and another strap going around the heel. 

Ihram for woman 

A woman can wear any Islamically modest clothes. 

A woman can wear any colours of their choice.

 A woman can wear stitch clothes and undergarments of their choice. There are no restrictions on shoes or socks for a woman.

Make sure the cloth is not tight or don’t reassemble men’s clothes. Woman are not allowed to cover the face or hands below the wrist.

You may use Non scented lotion for medical necessity.

Avoid silk As there are forums which mention the prohibition of silk during ihram, however i have not found any reference yet. 

 Acts which would break an Ihram

Performing one forbidden act once will make your ihram invalid while most of the prohibited acts are common for both woman and men, there few specific acts only for men and few specific acts for a woman which will break an ihram.

The following are the acts would make an umrah invalid for women only

  •  Covering your face
  • Covering your hand below the wrist

The following are the acts would make an umrah invalid for men only

  • Wearing clothing that is tailored to fit parts of the body.
  • Wearing underwear
  • Wearing anything on your head
  • Wearing footwear that fully covers your feet (and ankles)

The following are the acts would make an umrah invalid for men and woman

  • Using scented products
  • Trimming or cutting your nails
  • Cutting your hair
  • Proposing or contracting for marriage
  • Getting into a fight or verbal altercation 
  • Wearing kohls or contact lenses for styling.
  • Getting married
  • Engaging in any sexual activity
  • Hunting
  • Cutting down trees
  • Killing an insect (unless it is directly harmful to you)
  • Committing any act of disobedience to Allah
  • Being disobedient to parents
  • Causing harm to yourself or others
  • Smoking or do drugs
  • Engaging in idle talk 

Dua for Ihram

Allahumma inni Uharrimu nafsi min kulli maa haramta ‘alal muhrimi farhamni ya arhamar rahimin

O Allah, indeed I have forbidden myself from all that You forbade to those who ihihram therefore blessed me, O Allah, Most Gracious

Ihram during tawaf

a male pilgrim who has worn ihram cloths, have to expose the right shoulder and cover the left. This is called Al-idh’tiba. Men folks have to walk energetically during the first three rounds of tawaf. This is called ramal.

Hadeeth on Ihram

Hadith no: 615

Narrated / Authority Of: Abdullah bin Umar

A man asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What kind of clothes should a Muhrim wear?" Allah's Apostle replied, "He should not wear a shirt, a turban, trousers, a headcloak or leather socks except if he can find no slippers, he then may wear leather socks after cutting off what might cover the ankles. And he should not wear clothes which are scented with saffron or Wars (kinds of Perfumes)."

Hadith no: 611

Narrated / Authority Of: Said bin Jubair

Ibn 'Umar used to oil his hair. I told that to Ibrahim who said, "What do you think about this statement: Narrated Aswad from 'Aisha: As if I were now observing the glitter of the scent in the parting of the hair of the Prophet while he was Muhrim?"

Hadith no: 614

Narrated / Authority Of: Salim bin Abdullah

I heard my father saying, "Never did Allah's Apostle assume Ihram except at the Mosque, that is, at the Mosque of Dhul-Hulaifa.

Hadith no: 617

Narrated / Authority Of: Abdullah bin Abbas

The Prophet with his companions started from Medina after combing and oiling his hair and putting on two sheets of lhram (upper body cover and waist cover). He did not forbid anyone to wear any kind of sheets except the ones colored with saffron because they may leave the scent on the skin. And so in the early morning, the Prophet mounted his Mount while in Dhul-Hulaifa and set out till they reached Baida', where he and his companions recited Talbiya, and then they did the ceremony of Taqlid (which means to put the colored garlands around the necks of the Budn (camels for sacrifice). And all that happened on the 25th of Dhul-Qa'da. And when he reached Mecca on the 4th of Dhul-Hijja he performed the Tawaf round the Ka'ba and performed the Tawaf between Safa and Marwa. And as he had a Badana and had garlanded it, he did not finish his Ihram. He proceeded towards the highest places of Mecca near Al-Hujun and he was assuming the Ihram for Hajj and did not go near the Ka'ba after he performed Tawaf (round it) till he returned from 'Arafat. Then he ordered his companions to perform the Tawaf round the Ka'ba and then the Tawaf of Safa and Marwa, and to cut short the hair of their heads and to finish their Ihram. And that was only for those people who had not garlanded Budn. Those who had their wives with them were permitted to contact them (have sexual intercourse), and similarly perfume and (ordinary) clothes were permissible for them.

Hadith no: 618

Narrated / Authority Of: Anas bin Malik

The Prophet offered four Rakat in Medina and then two Rakat at DhulI lulaifa and then passed the night at Dhul-Hulaifa till it was morning and when he mounted his Mount and it stood up, he started to recite Talbiya.

Abdullah ibn Umar reported: A man stood up and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, what should I wear to prepare for the pilgrimage?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Do not wear a shirt, or pants, or turban, or a hooded cloak. If someone has no shoes, he may wear leather socks if they are cut lower than his ankles. Do not wear any perfume or fragrance. The woman prepared for pilgrimage should not cover her face or wear gloves.”Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1741Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Bukhari

It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A man stood up and said: O Messenger of Allah, what garments do you instruct us to wear when in ihram? The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: … And a woman in ihram should not wear niqab or gloves.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1838); also narrated by at-Tirmidhi (833), who said: This is a hasan saheeh hadith, and it is to be followed according to the scholars.

  • (ﷺ)- (salallahu Alai wasallam)- May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him
  • رضي الله عنه (Radhiallahu’ Anhu) - May Allah be pleased with him
  • عليه السلام (Alaihi Salam) - Peace be upon him

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