Praise be to Allah.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Some of the mistakes made by some pilgrims with regard to ihraam include the following:
Not entering ihraam from the meeqaat. Some pilgrims, especially those who come by air, do not enter ihraam from the meeqaat and wait until they arrive in Jeddah, even though they pass over the meeqaat. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) defined the meeqaats and said: “They are for them (their residents) and whoever comes to them who is not of their people.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1524; Muslim, 1181.
And it was narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhaari that when the people of Iraq complained to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him), saying that the meeqaat that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had defined for the people of Najd was out of their way, or was too far for them, he (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Look for a place that is in line with it on your route.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1531. This indicates that coming in line with the meeqaat is like passing through it. So one who comes in line with the meeqaat from above, in a plane, is like one who passes through it, so he has to enter ihraam when he comes in line with the meeqaat, and it is not permissible for him to pass the meeqaat and enter ihraam when he lands in Jeddah.
The way to correct this mistake is to do ghusl in one’s house or in the airport, and to change in the plane and put on the ihraam garments and take off one’s regular clothes. Then when he comes in line with the meeqaat he should enter ihraam from there, and recite the talbiyah for whatever he intends to do, ‘Umrah or Hajj. It is not permissible for him to delay that until he reaches Jeddah. If he does that then he has done wrong and according to the majority of scholars he has to offer a sacrifice which he should slaughter in Makkah and distribute the meat to the poor, because he has omitted one of the obligatory duties.
Some people think that it is essential to enter ihraam wearing shoes, and that if a person is not wearing shoes when he enters ihraam, then it is not permissible for him to put them on. This is a mistake because it is not essential to wear shoes when entering ihraam. Ihraam may be done without wearing shoes, and if a person enters ihraam without wearing shoes, that does not mean that he cannot put them on afterwards. He can put shoes on afterwards if he wasn’t wearing them when he entered ihraam – there is nothing wrong with that.
Some people think that it is essential to enter ihraam in the ihraam garments and to keep them on until they exit ihraam, and that it is not permitted to change these clothes. This is a mistake, because the muhrim (person in ihraam) is permitted to change his ihraam garments with or without a reason, if he changes them for something that he is permitted to wear during ihraam.
In this regard there is no difference between men and women. Anyone who enters ihraam in ihraam garments and wants to change it may do so, but sometimes he may have to change it, such as if it becomes contaminated with some impurity (najaasah) that he cannot wash without taking it off. And sometimes changing it may be preferable, such as if it becomes very dirty, without there being any najaasah, so he should change it for a clean ihraam garment.
Sometimes the matter may be one in which he has the choice: if he wants he can change it and if he does not want he does not have to change it. The point is that this notion is incorrect, namely the pilgrim’s belief that if he enters ihraam in a certain garment it is not permissible for him to take if off until he has exited his ihraam.
Some people uncover their right shoulders and throw the end of the rida’ (upper garment) over their left shoulders from the time they enter ihraam, i.e., from the moment they form the intention, so we see many pilgrims – if not most of them – wearing their ihraam garments in this manner from the moment they enter ihraam until they exit ihraam. This is a mistake, because this manner of wearing the ihraam is only to be done during Tawaaf al-Qudoom (the tawaaf performed upon arrival in Makkah), not during al-saa’ee and not before the tawaaf.
Some of them believe that it is obligatory to pray two rak’ahs when entering ihraam. This is also a mistake; it is not obligatory to pray two rak’ahs when entering ihraam. Rather the correct view on this matter was that suggested by Abu’l-‘Abbaas Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him), who said that there is no specific prayer to be offered when entering ihraam, because that was not narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
If a person does ghusl and puts on the ihraam garments, then he should enter ihraam without praying, unless it is the time of prayer, such as if the time for an obligatory prayer has come or is approaching, and he wants to stay at the meeqaat until he has prayed. In that case it is better for him to enter ihraam after praying. With regard to intending to pray a specific prayer in ihraam, the most correct opinion is that there is no specific prayer for entering ihraam.