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Iḥrām (Arabic: إحرام) is the first action of the rites of hajj of 'umra. Ihram starts from miqat. The ihram outfit for men is two plain pieces of cloth: one is worn around the waist (izar) and the other over the shoulders (rida'). Ihram is one of the elemental parts (rukns) of hajj and after entering the state of ihram some acts that are permissible in normal conditions become temporarily prohibited for the one who has become muhrim and there are specific atonement (kaffara) for committing some of them.

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Etymology

Ihram is derived from "ḥ-r-m" which means: to prevent, to prohibit, to enter a place or a time - such as haram or a haram month - that no one is allowed to desecrate it, or a special covenant and treaty.

There are various definitions of ihram in jurisprudential sources. In some sources, it is regarded as an external act, which is entering the rituals of hajj by wearing a special outfit and reciting talbiya;[1] others have regarded it as an internal act,[2] which is the intention of entering the rituals of hajj or 'umra[3] and commitment to abandon certain acts that are prohibited during ihram.[4]

This element of hajj is called ihram because a muhrim makes some certain acts, that were permissible before ihram, haram on himself.[5] The one who is in the state of ihram is called "muhrim".[6]

Ihram is one of the most important obligations of hajj and 'umra. According to Shi'a and Sunni faqihs it is one of the elemental parts (rukns) of them, i.e.[7] leaving it deliberately voids hajj or 'umra. Therefore, a significant part of the chapter of hajj in jurisprudential sources is dedicated to ihram.

History

According to some hadiths, the history of ihram goes back to building the Ka'ba and the first hajj. It is said in a hadith that God does not send any angel to the earth, unless He orders him to visit the Ka'ba; so the angel wears ihram next to the Divine Throne and descend toward the Ka'ba while reciting talbiya.[8] It is narrated form Imam al-Sadiq (a) that after the repentance of