In Islam, term with two meanings, though interconnected.
The required garment of hajj, here worn by a man. Photo: S. M. Amin/Saudi Aramco World.
The female version of the ihram is less clarly defined from the male version. Photo: S. M. Amin/Saudi Aramco World.
State of sacredness in which a Muslim performs hajj and umra.
A person that is in the state of ihram is called muhrim (masc.) and muhrima (fem.)
Before the hajji can enter the state of ihram, he must clean himself, ghusl. Thereafter he must dye his nails and put on perfume. Then he shaves his head (but not always), has his beard trimmed and his nails cut.
Garment worn by hajjis during hajj and umra.
The ihram for men prescribes two pieces, without seams. One part covers the body from the navel to the knees. The other covers the torso, but not the right shoulder. This piece is knotted on the right side. The colour is almost always white, but with a few occasional red stripes. Sandals are worn instead of shoes.
For women there is no clear prescription, but female hajjis clothe themselves in long white robes, covering the body from head to feet. In many cases, the face is covered by a mask.
Scholars generally believe that the ihram can be dated back to times before Muhammad and the advent of Islam.
Background information on Muslim dress codes.