Miqat for Pilgrims Traveling by Air


By Dr. Atiyyah al-Saqr al-Azhari (may Allah have mercy upon him)

The Question:

Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. Can I enter ihram (state of consecration) at Jeddah airport or do I have to enter ihram at my home in Karachi? The total journey time is about 9 to 10 hours, including 2 hours to the airport, 4 hours from Karachi to Jeddah, 2 hours at Jeddah airport, plus 2 hours to Makkah. Frankly speaking, I am concerned about the cleanliness of the ihram attire after a 10-hour journey. I think I should put on the ihram at Jeddah airport to ensure it is clean on arrival at Al-Masjid Al-Haram.

The Answer:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Truly, Allah has decreed some obligatory acts, so do not abandon them; He has put limitations, do not exceed them; and He has left some things open in mercy for you, so do not ask about them.” This means do not ask about them unless they take place. Here the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) declared that there are things left open for personal reasoning (ijtihad) of learned scholars.

In light of this Hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explicitly specified some miqats (places at which pilgrims enter ihram) for pilgrims in the Islamic states in his lifetime, and did not specify them for other people (in places where Islam had not reached at that time); he left it up to scholars’ personal reasoning.

Hence, recent cases (utmost of which is the question, where should a pilgrim traveling by plane enter ihram?) require jurists to be open-minded.

There is no textual evidence that indicates the ruling of those going for Hajj by air. Therefore, (after detailed study of that issue) I have concluded that those who go by air to perform Hajj have nothing to do with the land miqats specified by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), so long as they are on board. This case falls among the category of things that are left open, as traveling by plane was not even imagined in the Prophet’s lifetime. Likewise, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) mentioned nothing concerning pilgrims coming from the west towards the Arab peninsula to perform Hajj, as there were no Muslims who crossed the sea from Africa and Egypt for Hajj.

Since traveling by air is not included in texts that specify the miqats for Hajj, then it is subject to personal reasoning to estimate it according to recent methodology, exactly like all contemporary issues that are not included in any textual evidence. Such should be governed in the light of the principles and objectives of Shari`ah, at the top of which comes lifting suffering and hardship.

Hence I see that the suitable solution that does not entail any hardship or violation of Shari`ah is that pilgrims who go for Hajj [or `Umrah] by plane do not have to enter ihram except when they get off the plane to continue the journey on land. If they get off the plane in a miqat, they are to enter ihram there, exactly like the inhabitants of that place. If they get off in a place before a miqat, then they should enter ihram on passing by the first miqat on their way to Makkah, or a place parallel to it if there is no miqat on the way. If otherwise they get off the plane in a place between the miqat and Makkah, then they enter ihram from that place of arrival as if they are the inhabitants of that place; thus, they should not leave it except in a state of ihram.

However, the international airport where pilgrims get off the plane in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is found in the city of Jeddah, which is located within the limits of the miqat; then the pilgrims must enter ihram there, exactly like the people of Jeddah.

This means that if the international airport should one day be transferred to Makkah, the pilgrims who reach there by plane would be in the same stance as the people of Makkah, and would, thus, enter ihram from the same place that the people of Makkah enter ihram from. Hence, pilgrims who travel by plane, no matter where from, take the same ruling as the people of the place of arrival.

Moreover, there is no evidence for those who claim that a pilgrim should enter ihram on board once the plane passes over one of the miqats or a place parallel to one of them.

Some people also claim that to lift hardship, a pilgrim may enter the state of ihram on board the plane without putting on the ihram attire, then he should take off his regular clothes and change to ihram attire on arrival and offer an immolation. Nevertheless, the Islamic Shari`ah is so tolerant that it does not intend to overload people with what they cannot bear; Islam is totally against this.

Other people strangely claim that the resolution in such a case is to enter ihram from home before getting on board. But this is not convenient, as Muslims from Moscow and other places where the temperature reaches -50 degrees centigrade would never be able to do this, especially in winter.

Hence, the resolution I mentioned above seems to be suitable for the case of pilgrims who travel by air, in the light of Shari`ah. I have reached that resolution after thorough study of all details of the issue and its evidence for many years.”

Originally published by islamonline.net

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7 Comments

  1. noorain says:

    assalamualikum,

    suhaib bhai
    this is noorain, if u remember. we use to be neighbors in carmel way, santa clara. another hint is samia salam, we are related to dr. shahid siddique. well, we are truly missing aunty asma, and me and my sisters really want to get in touch with her. can i r. get her email address if possible or any contact detail. jazakallah u khair. may allah swt give ur family and u bliss in this world and the here after. assalamualikum.

  2. Abu Adam says:

    It is interesting to know that this opinion exists. Is it a widespread opinion of modern-day ulema?
    If a pilgrim wants to play it safe, he can enter ihram on the plane and simply bring a second ihram cloth to put on once he gets off the plane (so he doesn’t have to worrry so much about cleanliness).

  3. abu majeed says:

    Abu Adamm,

    The shaikh is saying that he is making Ijtihad on a previously undealt with issue. He is as to my knowledge the only one with this opinion, but he is no doubt one of the greatest scholars of the last century. The majority say that you should enter Ihram in the plane at the distance of the closest miqat. My humble reaction to that is that very few if not any of these scholars have ever been in such a situation and in an attempt to be literal whne the matter is clearly new they didn’t pay attention to what kind of hardship this opinion creates in its application. My advice to you is to follow the opinion that has been known (some said Makrooh others khilaf al-awlaa) but that is to get into Ihram immeaditately before getting on the planr to Jeddah. Thats what me and Sh. Suhaib did when we went to Hajj in 2002. Aaahhh! The memories. Allah accept from us all.

  4. SisKhan says:

    Bismillah Alhamdulillah

    assalamualaykum

    MashaAllah and Alhamdulillah many of us want to go for Haj but do not have the means to do so, I think its very Praiseworthy and Courageous if brothers and sisters undergoe alittle hardship for the sake of Allah for sure The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said ‘ Al Hajju Ash shuthu Al taFil’ ‘The Pilgrimage is very dishevelling and dusty ‘ [ taken from Ashafi'ee in Al Aam 112/6 and AtTirmidhi in his Jamea 225/5 number 2998 , and Ibn Majah in his Sunnah 967/2 number 2896 and Ashshuthu here means the face becomes dusty and Al tafil means he abstains from wearing perfume.]
    I hope Brother that in return for whatever difficulty you and all my other Muslim Brothers and sisters may endure you all are blessed with the closeness and pleasure of Allah

    Bizarre Fact….Did you know that the Renowned Shaykh Murabit Al Haj of Mauritania travelled all the way from his home town in Mauritania to Makkah in the state of Ihram!?

    I myself was suprised when my husband told me, which is where he gets his kunyah Murabit Al Haj from.
    And Allah knows Best

    wassalam

  5. AsSalaamu Alaikum,
    I’m a graduate student with loans, my intended is paying back her loans. We were planning on going on Hajj after our loans are paid. I’ve been looking for the requirements of Hajj. I was always taught that you had to be “debt free” . Could you direct me to the requirements of a person who goes on Hajj and where I can find them? JazakAllahu Khairun! I don’t want to be that guy who didn’t go on Hajj till I was 60.

    AsSalaamu Alaikum

    Abdul At-Tawwaab

  6. serendipity says:

    Assalam o alaikum
    I plan for hajj inshallah this year and have been reading up and educating myself about it, but have some confusion: If I do tamattu hajj, I will already be in Makkah – so when it is the 8th Zilhajj, the websites say, that I should get into ihraam again while in my hotel, but am I not supposed to go to the nearest meeqat location for that?

  7. Mohammad Iqbal says:

    I am travelling from Manchester UK to Dubai to Jeddah by Emirates for Umrah. where can I wear Ihram, is it after departing from Dubai?

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