Donning the ihram takes place before/at the Meeqat, and the sunnah is to have a bath before you enter into ihram and to perfume yourself. It is also recommended you clip your hair and remove your pubic and armpit hair.
With modern transport you will likely be flying over the Meeqat and it will be difficult to change into ihram there and not possible for you to make ghusl and prepare yourself for it adequately. So preparing just before you leave your home for the airport will likely be the best way to prepare yourself. If you want, you can prepare in all the necessary ways before leaving home except wearing the clothing of ihram and put that on at the airport (if they have the facilities). Putting ihram on the airplane can be difficult and the toilets are small so it can be easy to get impurity (urine on the toilet floor etc) on your ihram.
In the state of ihram you must observe all obligatory acts such as the five daily prayers and avoid what Allah has made haram. This includes obscenity, sinning, quarrelling and harming or injuring others.
You are forbidden from:
- Cutting nails or cutting, shaving or trimming hair. This includes due to stroking your beard or combing your hair
- Perfuming or applying any scent
- Killing or frighten or hunting an animal
- Propose marriage, to get married, or perform a marriage ceremony
- Sexual intercourse or touching with desire
- Men must not cover their head
- Men must not wear socks, trousers, shirts, vests or underwear
- Men must not wear shoes. Instead sandals of flip-flops must be worn
- Women must not wear gloves
If you cover your head (men) or touch something perfumed because you forgot then you must stop immediately, however, there is no expiation for this.
Permanent committee of Islamic Research and Fatwa
Glasses, rings, hearing aids, watches, belts or money bags are permissible to wear. It is permissible to swap ihram garments or wash and wear your ihram garments again.
The Ihraam of Men
Ihraam is not just clothing, rather it is a state. Men will wear only two unsewn white cloths and nothing else at all (no underwear or boxers either).
*Warning* Do not let the ihraam fall under your ankles or for your torso to show below the navel.
People often ask when it is permissible to shave their beard, of course they are asking about the restrictions of ihram being lifted, but the fact remains that it is obligated for Muslim men to not shave their beards.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ commanded us by saying:
“Be different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.”Narrated by Ibn Umar
He ﷺ also said:
“As for my Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, he has commanded me to grow my beard and trim my moustache.”Al-Albāni in Takhreej Fiqhus-Seerah, p. 359
Ihram for women
Women can wear any clothing for ihram, but should pay particular attention to that clothing being permissible and shariah compliant.
There is a misunderstanding with many of our sisters today where they believe that wearing a scarf on their head constitutes hijab. The headscarf is not hijab, rather hijab is a covering of the entire body.
Here are some general rules to follow:
- Tight fitting clothes are not permissible, wear an abaya
- Makeup is not permissible in front of men who are not your mahram (direct relatives)
- The head covering which covers your hair on your head must be long enough to extend down to completely cover the neck and chest area. This is from the front and back
These rules are not just for ihraam, they are for women at all times when they are in front of ghair mahrams (non-direct relatives).
Allah has commanded this in the Quran:
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women, or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”Quran 24:31
Covering the face is permissible in ihram, because nowadays a non-mahram will see you whereas in the time of the Prophet ﷺ when women kept their face uncovered in ihram, they would draw their veils when any non-mahram man came into sight.
“The woman in ihram for Hajj or Umrah should not wear a niqab or gloves, until she has gone through the first stage of exiting ihram. Rather she should let her headcover come down over her face if she is worried that non-mahram men may see her. But that concern is not ongoing, because some women are alone with their mahrams. Those who cannot be away from non-mahram men can continue to let their headcovers come down over their faces, and there is no blame on them for doing so. By the same token, they can cover their hands with something other than gloves, such as the (sleeves of) their abayas. And Allah is the source of strength. May Allah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions”Fatwa from the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta: Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Ghadyaan, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Qa ‘ood. End quote.
“If a woman has her monthly period or post childbirth bleeding after entering her Ihram of Umrah, she should not perform Tawaf until she regains ritual purity. Nor should she do Sa'ee of As-Safa and Al-Marwah. Rather, she should defer it and on retaining purity she should perform Tawaf and Sa'ee and cut some hair. This would mark the completion of her Umrah. However, if she cannot regain purity before the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, she should put on her Ihram at the place where she is staying and go to Mina just like all the others. This will confer on her the status of Qarinah (one who is doing Hajj Qiran). She would then like other pilgrims stand in Arafah, stone the Jamarat, spend the night at Muzdalifah, stay in Mina, sacrifice the animal and cut part of her hair. Then on regaining ritual purity she should perform Tawaf and Sa'ee only once and this would count towards both her Hajj and Umrah. According to the report of Aishah رضي الله عنها she had her monthly period after putting on Ihram for Umrah and she was directed by the Prophet ﷺ as follows:
“You should do as other pilgrims do except performing tawaf of the Kaaba, which you can do when you regain ritual purity”
"When a menstruating woman or a woman with post childbirth bleeding casts the pebbles and gets her hair cut, all the restrictions during the period of Ihram will be lifted, such as applying (light or unscented) perfume. The only restriction that remains in force is having sexual contact with her husband which will be lifted only after completion of her Hajj. Once she completes her Hajj like other women and performs Tawaf and Sa'ee afterwards, she will then be free to have sexual relations with her husband again.”
Shaikh Bin Baaz (rh), Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Member of the Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, in his book “Explaining issues of Hajj, Umrah and Ziyarah in light of the Quran and Sunnah