Q: Is a person's Ihram (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah) for Hajj or `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) valid without performing two Rak`ahs (units of Prayer) with it? Is it a condition for the validity of Ihram to utter one's intention in an audible voice?

A: The validity of Ihram is not contingent upon offering two Rak`ahs on assuming it. It is only Mustahab (desirable) according to most scholars. It is preferable that the person's intention is expressed in the heart.

After expressing the intention, the pilgrim can say: Allahumma labbyaka `umrah, or Allahumma labbayka hajjah or Allahumma labbyaka `umratan wa hajjah (O Allah! I respond to Your call to perform `Umrah, or O Allah! I respond to Your call to perform Hajj, or, O Allah! I respond to Your call to perform `Umrah and Hajj). He can combine Hajj and `Umrah if he wants to perform Qiran Hajj (combining Hajj and `Umrah simultaneously) like the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sahabah (Companions) did. Verbal expression of intention is not a condition for validity of Ihram.

The pilgrim may then start to chant Talbiyah (devotional expressions chanted at certain times during Hajj and `Umrah) saying: Labbayka allahumma labbyak, labbayka la sharika laka labbyak, inna al-hamda wan-ni`mata laka wa-l-mulk, la sharika lakĀ (Here I am O Allah, in respond to Your call, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Indeed, all praise grace and dominion belong to You. You have no partner). This is the same Talbiyah which the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to chant as has been narrated in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and other books of Hadith.

[Fataawa Shaykh Ibn Baaz - Alifta.net]