Ihram is a state of consecration into which everyone who travels to Makkah for Hajj or `Umrah must enter at a particular point on his journey. The state of consecration continues until certain duties have been completed concerning either Hajj or `Umrah. Ihram has both limits of place and time. One does not enter into the state of ihram until one reaches a particular point on the journey to Makkah. The point differs according to the direction from which one is coming.
Whoever passes the miqat for Hajj or `Umrah and has not assumed ihram, it is obligatory upon him to return and assume ihram for Hajj and `Umrah from the miqat. In this regard, the late Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymeen, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar, (may Allah shower mercy on his soul) issued the following fatwa:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) specified particular places for ihram. The person who wants to perform Hajj or `Umrah has to enter ihram in these places, and it is not permissible to pass them until he has entered ihram, because passing them before entering ihram is transgressing one of the limits of Allah, and Allah says: (And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the wrongdoers) (Al-Baqarah 2:229).
In As-Sahihayn and elsewhere it is narrated from Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) defined the miqat of the people of Madinah as Dhul-Hulayfah; that of the people of Ash-Sham (Syria) as Al-Juhfa; that of the people of Najd as Qarn al-Manazil; and that of the people of Yemen as Yalamlam. And he said: “And these miqats are for the people at those very places, as well as for those who come through those places with the intention of performing Hajj and ‘Umrah; and whoever is living within these boundaries can enter Ihram from the place where he starts off.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is also narrated in As-Sahihayn from `Abd-Allah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The miqat for the people of Madinah is Dhul-Hulayfah.” (Reported by Muslim) This is not just a statement, it is in fact a command, but it appears in the form of a statement to emphasize that this is the way in which it should be done.
It was narrated from `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) defined the miqat of the people of Iraq as Dhat ‘Irq. (Reported by Abu Dawud)
It is narrated that the people of Kufa and Basra came to `Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) and said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) stated that Qarn was the miqat for the people of Najd, but it is out of our way, and if we want to go to Qarn it will be difficult for us. He said: “Take as your miqat a place that is parallel with Qarn on your usual route.”
So, the one who intends to perform Hajj or `Umrah must enter the state of ihram from these miqats when he comes to them, whether he comes by land, sea or air.
If he is coming by land he should stop there when he passes through if it is on his route, or he should stop at a place that is parallel with it if it is not on his route, and then do what is required to enter ihram, namely taking a bath, perfuming his body and putting on the special garments for ihram. He should enter ihram before leaving that place.
If he is coming by sea and the ship will stop when it is parallel with the miqat, he should take a bath, apply perfume and put on the special garments for ihram when it stops. He should enter ihram before it moves on. If it does not stop when it comes in line with the miqat, then he should take a bath, apply perfume and put on the special garments for ihram before it comes in line with the miqat, and he should enter into ihram when the ship comes in line with it.
If he is coming by air, he should take a bath before boarding the plane, apply perfume and wear the special garments for ihram just before the plane comes in line with the miqat. He should not wait until the plane is in line with it, because planes travel quickly and he will not have time, so it is better to enter the state of ihram before boarding to be on the safe side, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Therefore, whoever passes the miqat for Hajj or `Umrah and has not assumed ihram, it is obligatory upon him to return and assume ihram for Hajj and `Umrah from the miqat.