Ihram is the simple white clothes that Pilgrims wear while performing Hajj or Umrah. For performing Hajj Muslims have to follow all the rules that come with the rituals related to Pilgrimage. For performing Hajj or Umrah Muslim man or woman has to enter in Ihram. Ihram is two plain sheets of white cloth that Muslim men wrapped around the body while leaving some parts of the body uncovered. While for Muslim women Ihram is a complete covering of the body with only face and hands revealed. A woman can’t cover her face even if she wants to because it is prohibited during Hajj.
The reasons for wearing the Ihram is to make the person humble, whether the person is rich or poor, everyone will be wearing the same thing. It shows unity, as the Muslims become one as they perform Umrah or Hajj. Not just in regard to clothing, it is also a reminder of the shroud that we will wear when we depart this earth.
Rules of Ihram
Upon entering in the state of wearing Ihram one should have to do ghusl or to take shower and perform wudu (ablution) for purification of the body. Must make the intention of entering into the Ihram while reciting Talbiyya لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ ، لَا شَرِيكَ لَك once. If in some cases, water is not available then it is permissible to skip the shower and just perform ablution to continue Hajj rituals.
After the Niyyat is done, it is also recommended to pray two Rakat Salah to finally step into the pure state of Ihram. In the Holy Quran, Almighty Allah says: “O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage). Verily, Allah commands that which He wills” (Quran, 5: 1). It is obligatory for every pilgrim to wear Ihram before passing the Miqat. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stated in one of His hadith: “One shouldn’t pass the Miqat unless he/she is in the state of Ihram.” (Al-Bukhari)
Prohibitions of Ihram
Once an individual enters in the state of Ihram after making the intention then following actions are prohibited:
- Men can’t wear stitched clothes but women can wear their ordinary clothes.
- Men are not allowed to cover their head and women can’t cover their face.
- Shaving or cutting the hair and the nails. It says in the Noble Quran: “and do not shave your heads until the Hady (sacrificial animal) reaches the place of sacrifice” (Quran, 2:196).
- Do not use perfume, women can’t wear makeup and for men wearing socks or shoes is also prohibited.
- Hunting animals is also prohibited. Almighty Allah says in the Quran: “O you who believe! Kill not the game while you are in a state of Ihram (for Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage)).”(Quran 5:95)
- Sexual intercourse is also prohibited. In Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming Ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj.” (Quran, 2:197)
May Allah (SWT) give us the opportunity to perform Hajj and rightly follow the rules and rituals of performing pilgrimage in the correct state of Ihram! Ameen