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Ihram

Consists of the intention and talbiyah, which means entering the sacred state for performing either Hajj or Umrah, or both according to Qiran. This term is commonly used to refer to the two pieces of cloth, known as rida and izar, that men wear during this state (women’s Ihram attire is their regular clothing). Entering Ihram signifies making some lawful things forbidden in order to perform the rites of Hajj and Umrah. (Inaya Vol. 2, p. 429)

The Mystery and Wisdom of Entering Ihram

It involves undressing from worldly garments and contemplating birth, resurrection, the Day of Judgement, the scales of justice, and achieving divine blessings in purity. Hajj and Umrah cannot be performed without Ihram.

How to Enter Ihram?

Before entering Ihram, one should trim their nails, clean their underarms and pubic hair, shave or trim their hair and mustache if necessary. Ideally, one should perform Ghusl (ritual bath). If Ghusl is not possible, then performing ablution suffices. The Ghusl for entering Ihram is a confirmed Sunnah, not for purification from impurity but for physical cleanliness. Women in menstruation or postpartum bleeding can also perform Ghusl for this purpose. After Ghusl, apply a good scent that does not leave color or residue on the body. The body should only be covered with izar and rida.

The head should be uncovered, and feet bare, though wearing sandals that do not cover the heels and tops of the feet is permissible. After wearing izar and rida, perform a two-rakat prayer: In the first rakat, recite Surah Al-Kafirun after Al-Fatiha, and in the second, recite Surah Al-Ikhlas after Al-Fatiha. After the prayer, face the Qibla and make the intention for Hajj or Umrah (if acting on someone’s behalf, state their name). Without pausing, recite the talbiyah three times:

“Labbaik, Allahumma labbaik, labbaika la sharika laka labbaik. Inna al-hamd wa-ni’mata laka wal-mulk. La sharika lak.” Then recite takbir and Salawat. This marks the entry into Ihram. During the journey, continue reciting talbiyah, sending abundant salutations to the Prophet, making supplications, and engaging in remembrance and glorification of Allah. After obligatory prayers, recite talbiyah frequently. For men, it is preferable to recite talbiyah aloud, while women should do so quietly.

How to Exit Ihram?

To exit Ihram, men either shave their heads or shorten their hair by at least one-fourth of its length (about 1.5-2 cm). Shaving the head is more virtuous than trimming. Women do not shave; instead, they trim the ends of their hair by 1-2 cm. This marks the exit from Ihram.

Where to Enter Ihram?

There are specific places for entering Ihram, known as ‘Miqat locations.’ Those who wish to reach the House of Allah must be in Ihram and enter it from the Miqat locations. People are of three categories regarding Miqat:

  1. Afaki: Those who come from outside the Miqat locations.
  2. Residents of Hill: Those who live between the Miqat locations and the Haram.
  3. Residents of Haram: Those who live in and around Mecca.

PERMISSIBLE ACTIONS DURING IHRAM

  1. Drawing blood.
  2. Scratching the body or head without plucking hair.
  3. Bathing and using unscented soap.
  4. Seeking shade under a tree, house, or tent, or carrying an umbrella without it touching the head.
  5. Wearing a belt, carrying a weapon, wearing a ring and watch, applying unscented kohl.
  6. Wearing sandals that leave the heels and tops of the feet exposed.
  7. Extracting a tooth, receiving an injection.
  8. Wearing a coat or jacket on the shoulders without putting arms through the sleeves.
  9. Covering the body (except the face and head) with a blanket or any cover.

OBLIGATORY ACTS OF IHRAM

  1. Entering Ihram before crossing the Miqat boundary.
  2. Abstaining from the prohibitions of Ihram. (Tirmidhi, Hajj, 14/828).

SUNNAHS OF IHRAM

  1. Cleaning underarm and pubic hair, cutting nails, and applying fragrance before entering Ihram.
  2. Performing Ghusl (ritual bath) or ablution upon entering Ihram.
  3. Men wrapping themselves in two pieces of cloth called izar and rida.
  4. Performing a two-rakat prayer of Ihram when it is not a disliked time.
  5. Reciting the talbiyah frequently while in the state of Ihram.
  6. Repeating the talbiyah three times.
  7. Following the talbiyah with takbir, Salawat, supplications, and prayers.

PREFERRED ACTS OF IHRAM

  1. Intending Ghusl for Ihram.
  2. The Ihram being white, new, or washed.
  3. Wearing sandals or similar footwear.
  4. Using a Miswak (tooth-stick).
  5. Combing hair.
  6. Trimming the mustache according to Sunnah.

CONDITIONS FOR VALIDITY OF IHRAM

  1. Making the intention.
  2. Reciting the talbiyah or a Zikr that substitutes it. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There is no Muslim who recites the talbiyah but that every stone, tree, and hard earth on his right and left joins him in his talbiyah until it reaches the farthest ends of the earth in these two directions.” (Tirmidhi)

PROHIBITIONS OF IHRAM

Once a person intends Hajj or Umrah and recites the talbiyah, they enter Ihram. Until exiting Ihram, certain actions and behaviors become forbidden, known as the prohibitions of Ihram.

A. Personal prohibitions for someone in Ihram:

  1. Applying fragrance.
  2. Using scented soap.
  3. Shaving, cutting the mustache.
  4. Applying henna for beautification, using lipstick or nail polish.
  5. Cutting nails.
  6. Plucking or cutting hair from any part of the body.
  7. Removing or shaving underarm and pubic hair. B. Clothing prohibitions (for men):
  8. Wearing a cap or turban.
  9. Wearing stitched clothes like trousers, coats, shirts.
  10. Wearing socks, gloves, or closed shoes. C. Sexual prohibitions:
  11. Engaging in sexual relations.
  12. Kissing and flirting.
  13. Engaging in words, actions, or behaviors that lead to sexual relations. D. Prohibitions involving harm to others:
  14. Fighting.
  15. Engaging in disputes and conflicts.
  16. Cursing, insulting, or hurting others’ feelings. E. Prohibitions related to the Haram area:
  17. Picking green plants or trees, pruning, or crushing them.
  18. Killing harmless animals. (Muhit-i Burhani, 2/458.) F. Prohibitions related to hunting land animals:
  19. Hunting any kind of land animal, whether its meat is edible or not.
  20. Assisting a hunter, even through signaling.
  21. Harming hunting animals.

IHRAM FOR WOMEN

Except for the following specifics, women’s Ihram is the same as men’s:

  1. They can wear any stitched clothing, gloves, socks, and leather socks. They can cover their heads but must keep their faces uncovered.
  2. They should not raise their voices when reciting the talbiyah.
  3. They do not perform ramal in Tawaf or hasten in Sa’i.
  4. They do not shave their heads but only shorten their hair.
  5. In crowded conditions, they can perform Istilam of the Black Stone without kissing it. They should avoid male crowds and not pray near Maqam Ibrahim during crowded times.
  6. They do not need to sacrifice an animal if they skip the farewell Tawaf or delay the visitation Tawaf due to menstruation or postnatal bleeding. (Lubab Commentary, p.78)
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