What is the state of Ihram?

June 20, 2017

According to Islam, Ihram is a sacred state of purity in which a Muslim must enter to Khan Kabba in order to perform the major pilgrimage termed as Hajj or the minor pilgrimage termed as Umrah. A pilgrim must enter into this state before entering the pilgrimage boundary, known as Miqat, by performing the cleansing rituals and wearing the prescribed cloth.


A pilgrim in the state of Ihram should not tie any knots or wear any stitched items. Sandals or any kind of shoe wear by the pilgrim should not be stitched and they should allow the ankle and back of foot should be uncovered while some other schools of thought also agree that the front of the foot must be shown as well. Being in the state of Ihram, a Muslim should not use any kind scents on his body or on the cloth. If the specific cloth which is a simple two piece white cloth unstitched has been fouled by the dirty material or has been wiped, rubbed or touched by scented liquids intentionally, then a new Iḥram clothing must be worn, otherwise, Umrah or Hajj will be invalid.

In Ihram women should leave their face uncovered; they are not allowed to wear the Burqa or Niqab. However, the Hijab or Scarf is obligatory to cover the head. There is also no gender discrimination during the Hajj. In mosques, men and women pray together, not in the same area but also on the same prayer line. This is done to remind everyone that on the Day of Judgment, both men and women will be standing together, side by side, in the same rows without any discrimination.

Behavior and Hygiene

Other than being as clean as they are for prayer, male Muslims are expected to forbidden from cutting their nails and trimming their hairs and beard. They must also not apply any scent including deodorant. They have to wear Ihram clothing, which is a white, unstitched garment. Many of the male pilgrims shave their head as this is considered hygienic. Most will wait to shave their heads until after they have completed their Umrah or Hajj, as this is a requirement to leave the state of Ihram after performing the religious obligation. Female Muslims are also expected to be clean. During the pilgrimage, sexual activity, smoking and use of offensive language are also forbidden. Other restricted activities include killing animals, using foul language, fighting, or doing any other regularly prohibited acts. Males should also refrain from looking at women. Women must exercise strict simplicity in their appearance and should not apply any make-up, perfume or any other cosmetics.

Pilgrims are not allowed to use scented soap. Unscented soap is available for pilgrims during hajj. All unnecessary, arrogant and rude thoughts are to be put aside during Hajj or Umrah as well as day-to-day life. Muslims must forget about studies, business and relationships, and just focus on their prayers to Allah Almighty.

Ihram when flying

When flying for the purpose of pilgrimage, appropriate measures are usually taken to assure that the pilgrim will be in the state of ihram when flying above or around the stations of Miqat. For this reason, some airports in Muslim areas have dedicated rooms for wearing Ihram.

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