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New Muslims Pilgrimage

All about the Ihram’s Locations for Hajj in Islam

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

There are certain times for Hajj, and certain locations for entering the state of ihram.

First: The Fixed Times of Hajj

The times specified for Hajj are mentioned by Allah, Exalted be He, when He says:

“Hajj is [during} well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram, there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj…” (Quran: Al-Baqarah: 197)

These months are: Shawwal, Dhul-Qa’dah, and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Therefore, anyone who enters the state of ihram in these months with the intention to perform Hajj must avoid offensive words and deeds which contradict the purity of that act of worship, and should also be preoccupied with good deeds and abide by piety.

Second: The Locations for Entering the State of Ihram

A Muslim should be aware of Miqats and never pass them without being in a state of ihram.

They are the specific places where a pilgrim must not exceed and head for Mecca without entering the state of ihram (a state of ritual consecration during Hajj or ‘Umrah) at them, declaring his intention to perform Hajj. These places were pointed out by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as mentioned in the narration of ‘Abdullah lbn ‘Abbas who said:

“Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) specified Dhul-Hulaifah (as a site for ihram) for the people of Medina, Al-Juhfah for the people of Ash-Sham(the Levant; the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine), Qarn Al-Manazil for the people of Najd, and Yalamlam for the people of Yemen, saying, ‘They are (sites for ihram) for those people and for any other people coming through them (i.e. those sites) with the intention of performing Hajj and ‘Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage). And whoever is living within these boundaries can assume ihram from the place he starts from, and the people of Mecca can assume ihram from Mecca! ” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Moreover, Imam Muslim related on the authority of Jabir that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said; “. . The muhall (the site for entering the state of ihram) of the people of Iraq is Dhat- ‘Irq.” (Muslim)

The wisdom of setting such Miqats

The idea behind setting such miqats (the sites for entering the state of ihram) for Hajj is as follows: The House of Allah (the Ka’bah), being so glorified and honored by Allah, is fortified by Allah through Mecca and protected by the Sanctuary of Mecca which, in turn, is glorified by those miqats beyond which one cannot pass without being in the state of ihram as a sign of honor and glorification to the House of Allah.

Third: The Locations of Ihram

1. Dhul-Hulaifah (Abyar `Ali Mosque)

The farthest of these sites for entering ihram is Dhul-Hulaifah, a place southwest of Madinah and 18 km from its mosque. It is the miqat for the people coming from Madinah and beyond.

2. Al-Juhfah

As for the people of Ash-Sham (the Levant; the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine), Egypt and Morocco, the site for ihram is Al-Juhfah which is 187 km to the northwest of Makkah.

It was on the eastern coast of the Red Sea, but it has completely disappeared and Rabigh (to the north of Al-Juhfah) is used as the substitute for this miqat now.

3. Yalamlam

Yalamlam, 54 km to the south of Makkah. It is the miqat for those coming from Yemen and the pilgrims who pass by it.

4. Qarn Al-Manazil

The site for ihram (a state of ritual consecration during Hajj or ‘Umrah) for the people of Najd and the pilgrims who pass by it is Qarn Al-Manazil – now known as As-Sayl – which is 94 km to the east of Makkah.

5. Dhat-`Irq

As regards the people of Iraq and those of the East, the site for ihram is Dhat-‘ Irq which is 94 km to the northeast of Makkah.

These are the sites for entering ihram for the people of the aforesaid places and those passing through them with the intention of performing Hajj or “Umrah.

E-Da`wah Committee presents this map as an illustrated guide to explain the different places of Ihram.

The place of Ihram for the people of Makka (Mecca)

Regarding those who dwell in places that are nearer to Mecca than the aforementioned places, they assume ihram for Hajj or ” Umrah from their places. As mentioned above, the residents of Mecca, however, enter ihram for Hajj from their own residence, i.e. from places at Mecca itself; they do not have to get out of Mecca to assume ihram from there. However, when it comes to ‘ Ummh, they have to get out of Mecca to the nearest precincts wherefrom they can assume ihram.

As for those who do not pass by any of the aforesaid sites of ihram on their way to perform Hajj, they have to assume ihram once they know they are at the nearest place opposite to any of these sites.

Al-Bukhari related that ‘Umar Ibnul-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said to the people of Iraq:

“Make your site for ihram a place situated opposite to it (i.e. opposite to Qarn Al-Manazil, the place of ihram for the people of Najd) on your usual way.” (Al-Bukhari)

Fourth: How to Enter the State of Ihram while on a Plane?

Those who travel by plane should assume ihram once they know that they are parallel to any of the sites for ihram during the flight. However, they should be prepared before getting on board the plane by ritual bathing and cleaning. Afterwards, whenever the plane reaches a place that is parallel to any of the aforesaid sites for ihram, they should declare the intention of ihram and chant talbiyah in the plane.

It is impermissible for one to delay ihram until the plane lands in the airport of Jeddah as some pilgrims mistakenly do, as both Jeddah and Bahrah are not sites for ihram except for their own people or anyone who intends to perform Hajj or ‘Umrah while being there. Otherwise, it is impermissible to assume ihram from Jeddah, as it will be regarded as negligence of one of the rites of Hajj, namely assuming ihram from one of its decreed sites, and one in this case will be obliged to slaughter a sacrificial animal in expiation.

A common mistake

Here is a common mistake made by many people and it has to be pointed out; some people mistakenly believe that they have to take a ritual bath before assuming ihram, arguing that this is not possible while being in a plane and so on. Therefore, it is important to point out that ihram means declaring the intention to perform the rites of Hajj or ‘Umrah, avoiding the acts prohibited to be done while being in a state of ihram as much as possible. As for washing, wearing perfumes, and the like, they are acts of the Sunnah which a Muslim can do before getting on board the plane, and assuming ihram without observing them is permissible. So, a plane passenger can make the intention to assume ihram and recite talbiyah while being in his/her seat once the plane is over any of the known sites for ihram or just before it.

This is known by asking the pilots or the hostesses of the plane, or trying to find it out independently through investigation and estimation. Thus, one would have done ones utmost in this regard. However, if one does not care, it will be considered an inexcusable negligence and indifference regarding one of the prerequisites of Hajj and ‘Umrafi, namely ihram, which may invalidate them.

Fifth: What to Do if You Miss the Location of Ihram?

As for those who pass by their site of ihram without assuming it, they have to return to that site and assume ihram, for it is a manageable obligation that should never be neglected. So, if one does not go back and assume ihram from the right site – as some mistakenly do from Jeddah and the like – one in this case will be obliged to slaughter a sacrificial animal in expiation, i.e. to slaughter a sheep or to get one-seventh of a camel or one-seventh of a cow and divide it among the residents of the Sanctuary of Mecca, provided one (the pilgrim who sacrifices) should eat nothing from it.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, Muslims should take an interest in their religious matters so as to perform all acts of worship properly and perfectly as legally enjoined.

Among these religious matters is the ihram for Hajj and ‘Umrah; it has to be assumed from the sites for ihram specified by the Prophet (PBUH). Therefore, a Muslim should be aware of these sites and never pass them without being in a state of ihram.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

How to Observe Ihram, the First Rite of Hajj?

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Definition of Ihram

Ihram (a state of ritual consecration during Hajj or ‘Umrah) is the first of the rites of Hajj, and it means the intention to start the rites. It is called ihram (which is derived from the Arabic word “haram“, i.e. forbidden or prohibited) because a pilgrim by assuming ihram prohibits himself from all the acts that have been permissible before being in this state, such as sexual intercourse, wearing perfume, clipping one’s fingernails, having one’s hair cut, or wearing certain kinds of clothes.

To illustrate, Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“A man is not considered in a state of ihram once he intends, with his heart, to perform Hajj, for the intention is already in his heart since he has left his hometown (heading for Mecca). So, there must be specific words or deeds through which he becomes in a state of ihram.”[1]

The clothing of ihram reminds one of death, the shroud of dead people, and the Day of Resurrection, and so on.

Recommended deeds to be observed before Ihram:

1. Taking a ritual bath

The Prophet (PBUH) used to do so before assuming ihram[2].

This is also because bathing is a better and more comprehensive way of cleaning and ridding oneself of any undesired smell. Moreover, having a bath upon assuming ihram is also required for a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding or menstruation, for the Prophet (PBUH) commanded Asma Bint ‘Umays, who was in a state of confinement, to take a bath before assuming ihram as related by Imam Muslim[3]. He (PBUH) also commanded ‘A’ishah (his wife) to do the same though she was in her menstrual period[4].

The purpose of this is to clean the body, remove undesired smells and remove the impurity of menstruation or confinement.

2. Cleaning oneself perfectly well

It is desirable to clean oneself perfectly well, removing the hair which is legally enjoined to be removed, such as trimming the moustache, shaving the hair of the armpits, and shaving the pubic hair.

One should do this before assuming ihram because it will not be allowed when being in a state of ihram. Yet, removing such kinds of hair is not one of the prerequisites for ihram. In other words, if one does not need to trim or shave any of them, one is not obliged to do so; it is permissible to do so if needed.

3. Putting on perfume

It is desirable for a pilgrim to perfume oneself using whatever is available, such as musk, incense, rose-water, aloes, or the like, for ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

“I used to scent Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) whenever he wanted to assume ihram and (also) on finishing ihram before circumambulating the House of Allah (i.e. before tawaf).”[5]

4. Wearing the ihram clothes

It is desirable for male pilgrims before ihram to take off all tailored or sewn clothes and wear something unstitched; the Prophet (PBUH) used to take off his tailored or sewn clothes and wear something unstitched – after taking a bath – to assume ihram[6]. So, a pilgrim should wear a white, clean unstitched loincloth wrapped round the lower part of the body, wrapping another sheet of white, clean, unstitched cloth round the upper part.Yet, it is permissible to replace the white color with any other color provided it is traditionally befitting men.

The wisdom of the ihram clothing

The idea behind this is to withdraw oneself from luxury and to have the feeling of a submissive servant of Allah through wearing such humble clothing.Moreover, such clothing always reminds one of being in a state of ihram, and thus one keeps alert and avoids committing the acts prohibited during ihram. The clothing of ihram reminds one of death, the shroud of dead people, and the Day of Resurrection, and so on and so forth. In addition, taking off sewn clothes before intending to assume ihram is an act of the Sunnah, but it is obligatory after assuming ihram. So, if a pilgrim intends assuming ihram while still wearing his ordinary sewn clothes, his ihram is considered valid, but he is then obliged to take such clothes off and put on the clothes of ihram.

By fulfilling the aforesaid prerequisites, a pilgrim is thus prepared to be in a state of ihram but such acts themselves are not called ihram as many people mistakenly believe; ihram means the intention of starting performing the rites of Hajj or ‘Umrah. Accordingly, a pilgrim is not considered in a state of ihram once he takes off his sewn clothes and wears the aforementioned clothing of ihram without having the intention of starting performing the rites of Rajj or ‘Umrah. This is because the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Indeed, (the correctness and rewards of) deeds depend upon intentions…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The legal ruling concerning observing prayer before ihram:

As for praying before assuming ihram, the more valid opinion is that there is not a special kind of prayer to be offered before Ihram. However, if the time of ihram coincides with an obligatory prayer, then a pilgrim is to perform the obligatory prayer first then assume ihram. To illustrate, it was narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) assumed ihram immediately following performing (an obligatory) prayer[7]. Moreover, Anas reported that the Prophet (PBUH) performed the Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer then rode his mount beast[8], and when he came to the hill of Al-Bayda’ he raised his voice with talbiyah. The great Muslim scholar Ibnul-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him), said:

“It was never reported that the Prophet (PBUH) specified performing two rak’ahs (units of prayer)for assuming ihram; what was reported is that he performed the obligatory Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer before it.”[9]

A common mistake

It is important here to draw the attention of pilgrims to a very important matter; many pilgrims mistakenly believe that they have to assume ihram from the mosque in the site for ihram for them. As a result, many pilgrims, males and females, hurry to such mosques, overcrowding them, to start assuming ihram from there. They may also change their clothes there and wear the clothing of ihram while in fact all such issues are, by all means, baseless. Rather, Muslims are just required to assume ihram from the proper site for ihram for them, not specifically from the mosques therein.

They can assume ihram anywhere in such sites, and there is no specific place in a certain site from which a pilgrim is obliged to assume ihram. That is to say, pilgrims can assume ihram wherever is appropriate for them in their site for ihram, and this makes it easier for them and their fellows. This also spares pilgrims being exposed before one another or being jammed in certain places.

We would like to point out that those mosques in the sites for ihram were not there during the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH), and that they were not built for the purpose of assuming ihram. However, they were built for the inhabitants of and around such places to perform prayer therein. This is very important to bear in mind, and may Allah grant us all success.

The three kinds of ihram:

A pilgrim is free to choose either the three kinds of ihram, namely tamattu’, ifrad, and qiran:

Tamattu’

It means that a pilgrim assumes ihram for performing ‘Umrah during the months of Hajj, and then, after performing ‘Umrah, a pilgrim assumes ihram for performing Hajj in the same season.

Ifrad

It means that a pilgrim assumes ihram for performing Hajj only, keeping in the state of ihram until he finishes performing the rites of Hajj.

Qiran

It means that a pilgrim assumes ihram for performing both ‘Umrah and Hajj together, or to assume ihram for ‘Umrah then, before starting the tawaf (circumambulating the Ka’bah) for ‘Umrah, a pilgrim intends performing both ‘Umrah and Hajj either from the miqat or before the tawaf of ‘Umrah. In this case, a pilgrim is to perform both tawaf and sa ‘y (going between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah) for both.

It is important to point out that a pilgrim who intends tamattu’ or qiran is obliged to slaughter a sacrificial animal if he is not a resident of Mecca. We should also know that the best of the aforesaid three ways of ihram is tamattu’ for various legal proofs.

Once a pilgrim assumes ihram in any of the aforesaid three ways, he is to chant talbiyah, saying; “Here I am at Your service, O Allah, here l am at Your service. Here I am at Your service, You have no partner, here I am at Your service. Verily, all praise, blessings, and dominion are Yours, You have no partner”

A pilgrim should raise his voice with talbiyah, saying it repeatedly.


[1] See: Majmu’ul-Fatawa (26/22, 108].

[2] Al-Tirmidhi (830) [3/192]

[3] Muslim (2900) (4/371] and (2941) [4/404].

[4] Muslim {2929) [4/392].

[5] Al-Bukhari (1539) [3/499] and Muslim (2818) [4/337).

[6] Al-Tirmidhi (830) [3/193].

[7] Al-Tirmidhi (819) [3/182) and Al-Nasa’i (2753) [3/176].

[8] Abu Dawud (1774) [2/258] and Al-Nasa’i (2661) [3/136].

[9] See: Zad al-Ma’ad.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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