Meequat means the specific time and place prescribed for wearing of Ihram [the uniform attire to be worn by all pilgrims]. While Ihram for performance of Umrah can be worn any time during the year, the months specified for wearing of Ihram for Hajj are: Shawwal, Zul-Q’adah and the first ten days of Zul-Hijjah. Allah (Ta’ala) has proclaimed:
|الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلا رَفَثَ وَلا فُسُوقَ وَلا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِي يَا أُوْلِي الأَلْبَابِ
(البقرة : 197)
[“The Pilgrimage is [in] the well-known months, and whoever is minded to perform the pilgrimage therein [let him remember that] there is [to be] no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation on the pilgrimage. And whatsoever good ye do Allah knoweth it. So make provision for yourselves [hereafter]; for the best provision is to ward off evil. Therefore keep your duty unto Me, O men of understanding” (Al-Baqarah: 197)].
These are certain places designated for wearing of Ihram before proceeding to Hajj and/or Umrah. These places are described below:
- Zul-Halifah: This is a place in the north of Makkah at a distance of 450 kilometers. This is Meequat for the residents of Madinah.
- Rabigh: It is a place located in the north-west of Makkah at a distance of 204 kilometres from Makkah. It is the meequat for the residents of Syria and Egypt.
- Qarn al-Manaazil: It is a mount located in the east of Makkah at a distance of 94 kilometres. It is the meequat for the residents of Najd.
- Yalmalam: It is also a mount in the south of Makkah at a distance of 54 kilometres. This is the meequat for the residents of Yemen and the Indian subcontinent.
- Zat-Irq: It is located in the northeast of Makkah at a distance of 96 kilometres. It is the meequat for pilgrims from Iraq.
- The local residents of Makkah as well as the non-local residents are permitted to wear their Ihram at the place of their residence. They are not required to go to their meequat. Same is the rule for those who reside in between the designated meequats and Makkah. They can also wear their Ihram at the place of their residence.
Wearing of Ihram
Every pilgrim is obliged to wear his Ihram at his designated meequat. It is invalid to enter the sanctuary of Makkah without wearing Ihram. If a person violates this norm, he has to go back to his meequat, put on his Ihram, start chanting “Labbaik . . .” and come back to Makkah. If, because of paucity of time or any other impediment he cannot do so, then he is obliged to sacrifice an animal in expiation for breaking a compulsory norm.
Persons who are travelling by air for Hajj and Umrah are required to have the ritual bath before embarking their planes and when they come near their meequat, they should put on their Ihram and start chanting “Labbaik . . . .” There is no harm if one puts on his Ihram before embarking his plane but he should not make the will for Hajj nor start chanting “Labbaik”. He should make his will and start chanting “Labbaik” when his plane is nearing the meequat or passing by it.