Saturday, 28 January, 2023

Significance of Ihram in Hajj

  • Prof. Hasan Abdul Quayyum
  • 12 July, 2019 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The state into which the pilgrim is required to put himself on the occasion of Hajj is called ihram meaning prevention from haram or forbidding or entering upon a state in which a particular dress is put on and certain acts ordinarily lawful are forbidden. When the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was asked as to what dress the muhrim the man entering into a state of ihram should put on, he replied: 'He should not put on a shirt or a turban or trousers or a cap nor a dress coloured by wars, red or saffron yellow and if he does not find shoes left him put on leather stocking rhuffain. Another hadith describes his own dress in the state of ihram in these words: He wore his unsewed waist-wrapper and his unsewed outer garment covering the upper part of the body. The ihram dress therefore consists of two seamless sheets, a sheet reaching from the navel to below the knees and a sheet which covers the upper part of the body. Both these sheets must be preferably white. As regards women they can wear their ordinary clothes and aishah held that there was no harm if a woman pilgrim wore cloth dyed black or red or wore boots. She further told that a woman should not cover her face or wear a veil in ihram. Change of clothes during ihram is not forbidden according to one authority. But even woman must wear simple dress. The object is to remove all distinctions of rank, and this is done, in the case of men by making them all wear two seamless sheets and in the case of women by requiring them to give up veil which was a sign of rank. Probably the dress of ihram of two seamless sheets dates back from Abraham and the simple patriarchal dress has been preserved in Hajj to give men a practical lesson in simple living.

Before wearing the ihram dress the pilgrim must take a bath and utter talbiyah facing the Qiblah. The practice is also to say two rakahs of prayer but all that is related of Holy Prophet (pbuh) is that he entered a state of ihram after saying two rakahs of the early afternoon prayer. During state of ihram and even before that from the beginning of the journey to Makka no amorous discussion is allowed and sexual intercourse is therefore also forbidden. So whoever determines to perform the pilgrimage therein shall be no amorous speech nor abusing nor disputing in Hajj nor is the use of scent allowed in the state of ihram or shaving nor the paring of nails. The cares of the body are sacrificed for a few days to devote to greater attention to the cares of the soul and this is a practical lesson which serves a useful purpose on  many occasions in one’s life. 


The Writer is an Islamic Thinker and former

Director, Islamic Foundation Bangladesh.