Ihraam means intention to enter the ritual and it is derived from at-tahreem (entering what is prohibited). For example, takbeeratul-ihraam in salaah is the prohibition to do certain things in salaah. So as for the ihraam of Hajj, it becomes prohibited to do that which was permissible to do before entering into this state e.g. sexual advances towards one’s wife, perfuming oneself, shaving the head, game hunting, shaving head, etc.


How and When one enters Ihraam 

[Adapted from "Verification and explanation of many issues concerning Hajj, `Umrah and visit, in the light of the Qur'an and Sunnah" by Shaykh Ibn Baaz]

Performing Ghusl and Applying Perfume

When the pilgrims reach the Miqat (site for entering the ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah), they are recommended to have a bath and perfume themselves, since it was related that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) reached the Miqat, he would remove his sewn clothes upon entering the state of Ihraam (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah) and have a bath. It was also authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim)from `Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said,  "I used to perfume the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), for his Ihram before (putting on the clothes of) Ihram, and on removing the state of Ihram before offering Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka`bah)"

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also ordered `Aisha, when she menstruated after entering into Ihram (the ritual state) for `Umrah to take a bath and to enter into the ritual state for Hajj. Moreover, he (peace be upon him) commanded Asma' bint `Umays when she gave birth (to a child) in Dhu Al-Hulayfah, to clean herself and wear pads, and then assume Ihram. This indicates that when a woman reaches Al-Miqat and undergoes menstruation or postnatal bleeding, she should clean herself, assume Ihram and do what a pilgrim does (of rituals) except for Tawaf around the Ka`bah. Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered`Aisha and Asma' to do so.

Clip Nails and Pluck Hair

It is also recommended for those who intend to enter into the ritual state of Ihram to trim the moustache, clip the nails, pluck the hair of the armpits, and remove the pubic hair. They should do this in order to avoid removing hair during Ihram, and because the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered that these things are taken care of constantly at all times.It was authentically related in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra (pure instinct): Circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, cutting the moustaches short, clipping the nails, and depilating the hair of the armpits."

It is also related in Muslim's Sahih from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said,  "The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us to cut the moustaches short, clip the nails, remove the hair under the armpits, and shave the pubic hair at least every forty days." This Hadith was related by Al-Nasa'yin the following wording,  "The Prophet (peace be upon him) has prescribed a time limit for us." It was also related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi in the wording of Al-Nasa'y. As for the (hair of the) head, shaving it is not enacted, either for men or for women.

Regarding the beard, however, it is prohibited to either cut or trim it at any time. Rather, it should be allowed to grow, asit was authentically related in the Two Sahih Booksfrom Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both), who said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,  "Do the opposite of what the pagans do; keep the beards and cut the moustaches short."  Moreover, Muslim related in his Sahih from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,  "Trim closely the moustaches, and let the beards grow; and thus act against the Magi."

Unfortunately, many male Muslims now have abandoned this Sunnah (practice) through their opposition to growing beards and the satisfaction with imitation of the disbelievers and of women. The catastrophic abandonment of such a Sunnah is assumed especially by people claiming (religious) knowledge and working in the field of (religious) education. Indeed, we belong to Allah, and unto Him we will surely return! Thus, we ask Him to guide us and the rest of the Muslims to act in compliance with and to adhere to the Sunnah, and to call to it, even if many people have turned away from it; for there is no might or power except with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great!

Ihraam clothing for the Men and Women

Then, a male Muslim should wear an Izar (a dress worn below the waist) and a Rida' (a sheet covering the upper part of the body), and it is recommended that both be white (in color) and clean. A male is also recommended to wear a pair of shoes, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "One should assume Ihram (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah) while wearing an Izar, a Rida', and a pair of shoes." Reported by Imam Ahmad (may Allah be merciful with him).

As for the female, she is permitted to assume Ihram wearing whatever she likes of colored clothes - whether they be black or green or any other color - on condition that she guards against imitating men in their dress. However, she is not permitted to wear a face-veil or gloves during Ihram; still she can cover her face and hands with anything else other than a face-veil and gloves. The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade women in a state of Ihram to wear a face-veil and gloves. As for the claim raised by some common people that a woman should assume Ihram while wearing green or black clothes, it is baseless.

The Intention for entering the State of Ihraam

After bathing and cleaning and putting on the garments of Ihram, a Muslim should silently make the intention of entering into the ritual state which he decides, of Hajj or `Umrah,since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "(The rewards of) deeds are based on intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what they have intended."

It is also permissible to pronounce the intention. Thus, if a Muslim has made the intention to perform `Umrah, they can say, "Labbayka `Umrah (O Allah, in response to Your Call I perform `Umrah)", and if they intend to perform Hajj, they can say, "Labbayka Hajjan" or "Allahumma Labbayka Hajjan", as the Prophet (peace be upon him) did so. Moreover, if the pilgrims intends to perform both Hajj and `Umrah together, they should utter the preceding forms of Talbiyah as follows, "Labbayka `Umrah and Hajj". However, it is preferred to pronounce it after getting in one's car, or whatever means of transportation a pilgrim is using, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) pronounced the Talbiyah after settling on his riding camel and upon setting out from the Miqat. This is the most correct of the opinions of religious scholars.

In addition, it is permissible to pronounce the intention only in Ihram, since this practice is reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Ihram only.

Beware of falling into Innovated matters

As regards making intention to perform prayer, Tawaf and other rituals, the pilgrims should not pronounce their intention. Thus, a pilgrim should not say, for example, "I here intend to perform so and so prayer" or "to perform Tawaf", for doing so is an innovation in religion. Moreover, raising voice with it is more culpable and abominable. For if pronunciation of intention were permissible,the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have indicated and explained it to the Ummah through his practices or sayings, and the righteous Salaf would have assumed precedence in performing it.

Thus, as it was neither reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) nor from his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), it is safely judged to be an innovation in religion. Here, it is worth noting that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,  "The most evil affairs are innovations (in religion); and every innovation is an aberration." Related by Muslim in his Sahih.The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said,  "Whoever innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (basis) (commits sin) and these are to be rejected." The authenticity of this Hadith is agreed upon.Another wording of this Hadith, which was related by Muslim, reads :  "Whoever does any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected."


Acts forbidden during Ihraam

[Adapted from "Verification and explanation of many issues concerning Hajj, `Umrah and visit, in the light of the Qur'an and Sunnah" by Shaykh Ibn Baaz]

  • It is not permissible for the Muhrim to remove anything from their skin, hair, or nails until they perform the minor Tahalul (partial ending of the ritual state for Hajj or ‘Umrah through shaving the head and throwing pebbles at Jamrat-ul-‘Aqabah before performing Tawaf-ul-Ifadah).
  •  It is permissible to use perfumed soap, because it is not considered perfume and whoever uses perfumed soap is not considered to be wearing perfume but it has a good smell. There is nothing wrong with this, In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills). However, it is better if the Muhrim does not use it out of caution.
  • It is permissible for the Muhrim man and woman to use Henna (a plant that produces a reddish-orange dye); it is not a perfume.
  • It is permissible to wear money belts, belts, and to use handkerchiefs.
  • It is permissible for a Muhrim woman to wear socks and Khuffs, because her feet are ‘Awrah (private parts of the body that must be covered in public). However, she is not permitted to wear Niqab or gloves for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade the Muhrim woman from doing so, but she can cover her face and hands in any other way.
  • It is permissible for the Muhrim woman to let down her Khimar (veil covering to the waist) over her face but without tying a headband, as it is not prescribed. There is nothing wrong if the Khimar touches her face. She should cover her face before non-Mahrams (not a spouse or unmarriageable relatives). It is not permissible for a Muhrim woman to wear a Niqab because she is in state of Ihram. The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade the Muhrim woman from wearing Niqab and gloves, but she is permitted to cover them in any other way as previously stated.
  • If a person has sexual intercourse with his wife before minor Tahalul, his Hajj is void and both he and his wife should slaughter a she-camel and complete the rituals of this invalid Hajj. If they are incapable of offering a she-camel, they must fast for ten days. They should perform Hajj the following year if they afford it, repent, and ask for Allah’s forgiveness.
  • If a person has sexual intercourse with his wife after the minor Tahalul and before the major Tahalul (final removal of the ritual state for Hajj and ‘Umrah), each one of them should slaughter one-seventh of a cow, one seventh of a camel, or one sheep, if the wife was willing to have intercourse. If they could not afford slaughtering, each should fast ten days.
  • If a pilgrim has sexual intercourse with his wife before or after Tawaf-ul-Ifadah (final obligatory circumambulation around the Ka‘bah in Hajj) and before Sa‘y, if it is required of him to perform, he should offer Dam.
  • No atonement is required from a pilgrim who ejaculates intentionally, without having intercourse, after the minor Tahalul and before the major Tahalul. However, it is preferred to fast three days, slaughter a sheep, or feed six needy persons, giving each one half a Sa‘ (1 Sa‘ = 2.172 kg), to avoid the difference of opinions among scholars who are of the view that it is obligatory to pay Fidyah to be on the safe side, acting upon the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him):  "Anyone who avoids doubtful matters has protected their religion and honor."
  • Anyone who has a sexual dream while in the state of Ihram should only perform Ghusl (full ritual bath) following major ritual impurity.
[Source: Alifta.net]