What is the miqats in hajj? What are the 5 places of miqat? How do you enter the state of ihram? What do muslims do at miqat?
Mīqāt means the place and time of entering the state of iḥrām. Its plural is mawāqīt. As an Islamic legal term, it refers to special places around Mecca where pilgrims from various regions and countries enter the state of iḥrām. It is not permissible for a person to pass the place of mīqāt without entering the state of iḥrām for hajj or ʿumra. Otherwise, it is necessary to return to the place of mīqāt or to offer a sacrifice as a penance.
On the other hand, according to the Ḥanafis, it is permissible to enter the state of iḥrām before coming to the place of mīqāt. In fact, it is more virtuous to enter the state of iḥrām early if there will be no inconvenience. The verse “And complete the Hajj or ʿumra in the service of Allah.” indicates this point. Entering the iḥrām from the place where a person’s family lives without waiting to arrive at the place of mīqāt means performing the hajj and ʿumra fully. Because the hardship increases the reward. As a matter of fact, it is reported that Ibn ʿUmar (r. anhuma) entered the state of iḥrām in Bayt al-Maqdis, Imran Ibn Husayn in Basra, Ibn Abbas in Damascus, and Ibn Masʿūd in Qadisiya.
According to the other three schools, it is more virtuous to enter the state of iḥrām at the borders of the mīqāt because it is in accordance with the sunnah.
As the Kaʿba is called “al-Baytu’l-Ḥaram” and the mosque surrounding it is called “al-Masjid al-Ḥaram” in the Qur’an, the city of Mecca and its surroundings, in which this mosque is located, is also called “ḥaram” meaning “honorable and respectable region”. Thus, the regions surrounding the Kaʿba are divided into three from near to far, namely “ḥaram region”, “ḥill region” and “afāq”. The people enter the state of iḥrām according to the direction of their residence or their state from the Hijaz with the intention to perform hajj or ʿumra. These three regions they are coming from are arranged as follows:
A) Residents in The Haram Area
The respected and secure area with specific borders in and around Mecca is called the “Ḥaram area”. The inhabitants of this region are called Makkī (from Mecca). The boundaries of the Ḥaram area were determined by Ibrahim (as) under the guidance of Jibril (as), and the signs indicating the boundaries were later renewed by the Prophet Muhammad (saw). These borders are not equidistant from the Kaʿba. The closest one “Tan’īm” is at a distance of 8 km from Mecca in the direction of Medina; The farthest ones are “Ji’rana” in the direction of Taif and “Ashāir” near Hudaybiya in the direction of Jeddah. Others are “Thaniyyat al-Jabal” on the way to Iraq, “Adātu libn” on the way to Yemen, and “Batn al-Namira” on the border of Arafat.
Residents of Mecca enter the state of iḥrām for pilgrimage at the place where they reside or from any place within the boundaries of the Ḥaram region. The Prophet (saw) ordered the Companions residing in Mecca to enter the state of iḥrām from inside Mecca for hajj. This is the ruling about those who have a house outside Mecca, within the borders of the Ḥaram region.
Meccans go to the Ḥill region for ʿumra and enter the state of iḥrām from a place outside the Ḥaram region, such as Tanʿīm or Arafat. However, according to the Ḥanafis and the Ḥanbalis, the most virtuous place to enter the state of iḥrām for ʿumra is “Tanʿīm”, then “Ji’rana”, then “Hudaybiya”. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (saw) told Aisha (r.anha), who had missed her ʿumra due to her menstruation in the Farewell pilgrimage, to make it up by entering the state of iḥrām from Tanʿīm after the Eid al-Aḍḥā. During this time Aisha was accompanied by her brother Abdurrahman. Tanʿīm is at a distance of 8 km from the center of Mecca. It is the closest place to the Kaʿba in the Ḥill region, and it is the place where the locals of Mecca enter the state of iḥrām for ʿumra.
When non-Meccan people (those from āfāq or Ḥill region) want to perform hajj or ʿumra after leaving the state of iḥrām and want to perform ʿumra again, like Aisha, they go out of the Ḥaram region and enter the state of iḥrām, for example in Tanʿīm or Arafat.
B) Residents of Hill Region
The area between the Ḥaram area and the area surrounded by the five mīqāt places is called the “Ḥill area”. The inhabitants of this region are called “mīqātī or ḥillī”. The place of entering the state of iḥrām (mīqāt) for hajj or ʿumra is the place where their families live or any place of his choice to enter the state of iḥrām between mīqāt places and the Ḥaram. Evidence on which this is based is the verse that commands completing hajj and ʿumra for the sake of Allah. This is the view of Ali and Ibn Mas’ūd (r. anhum). The Ḥanafis have adopted this view as well. According to Imam Malik, these people’s mīqāt place is their own house.
C) Those Coming From Outside The Area Surrounded By Miqats (Āfāqī)
The Prophet (saw) determined five points that should not be passed without entering the state of iḥrām, depending on the region or country they came from, for those living outside the mīqāt places in Arabia and those who come to the Hijaz with the intention of pilgrimage or ʿumra from abroad. Each one of these places is called “mīqāt”. The places bordered by these points and outside the Ḥill region are called “Āfāq”, and the people living in these places are called “Āfāqī”. It was narrated by Ibn Abbas (ra) that he said, “The points that the Messenger of Allah (saw) determined as the place to enter iḥrām are as follows: Dhu al-Hulayfa for the people of Madinah, Juhfa for the people of Damascus, Qarn al-Manāzil for the people of Najd, and Yelemam for the people of Yemen. These are places of mīqāt for those who want to perform hajj and ʿumra and for travelers from other towns coming from the direction of the specified region or countries. Those who live within the boundaries of mīqāt enter the state of iḥrām in places where their families live. On the other hand, the people of Mecca enter iḥrām in Mecca.” In a hadith recorded by Muslim, which was narrated from Jabir Ibn Abdillah (ra) as a marfū, Dhatu Irq was added as a place of mīqāt for Iraqis.
These places of entering the state of iḥrām, whose distance from Mecca varies between 54 km and 450 km are as follows from farthest to the nearest:
- Dhul-hulayfa: It is the mīqāt of those who came to Mecca via Medina. It is at a distance of about 10 km from Medina and 450 km from Mecca. This is the farthest place of mīqāt from Mecca. During the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (saw) entered the state of iḥrām at this mīqāt, which is also still called Ābār al-Ali (Ali’s wells).
- Juhfa: It is the mīqāt of those who came by sea from Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Maghrib, and Europe. It is about 187 km away from Mecca.
- Dhatu Irq: It is the mīqāt place for those who came from Iraq and other eastern countries. Its distance from Mecca is about 94 km.
- Qarn al-Manāzil: It is the mīqāt of those coming from the direction of Najd and Kuwait, today it is called Sayl and is approximately 96 km away from Mecca.
- Yalamlam: It is the mīqāt for those coming from Yemen. It is located in the south of Mecca and its distance from Mecca is about 54 km. This is the closest mīqāt to Mecca.
Those who come from the direction of Suez via the Red Sea enter the iḥrām in a place parallel to the place called Rabigh near Juhfa. Those who come to Jeddah by air, on the other hand, enter iḥrām by making intentions and reciting talbiyah, without crossing the line of the mīqāt in the direction that they arrived.
Since the Prophet (saw) determined the places to enter the state of iḥrām, every Muslim who comes for hajj, ʿumra, trade, work, treatment, or any other purpose must have entered iḥrām at these places or somewhere earlier. If the road does not pass through these points, one enters the state of iḥrām in any place in the alignment of these points.
Those who are inside the mīqāt places can enter Mecca without entering the state of iḥrām. However, when they want to perform hajj or ʿumra, they must enter iḥrām from where they are. Those who are within the mīqāt limits but outside Mecca, enter the state of iḥrām wherever they are located. Those who live in Mecca, on the other hand, enter iḥrām in their own house. The place of iḥrām for ʿumra for the residents of the Ḥill region and the Ḥaram region is any place in the Ḥill region.
If a person who comes from outside for hajj or ʿumra passes the mīqāt place without entering the state of iḥrām, he either sacrifices an animal or returns and enters the iḥrām at the mīqāt place. There is nothing required from a person who does not intend to enter Mecca to pass the mīqāt without entering the state of iḥrām. Such is the situation today for those who go to Jeddah for such purposes as travel, work, or trade, or who pass the mīqāt by land or air in transit. If they decide to perform hajj or ʿumra while they are within the mīqāt limits, they will enter iḥrām from where they are, depending on their status in the Ḥill region.
 Al-Baqara, 2: 196. Ibn Abidīn, ibid, IV, 464, 465. Al-Mā’ida, 5: 2. Al-Isra, 17: 1. Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28: 57; al-Ankabūt, 29: 67. Al-Kasanī, ibid, II, 163 – 167; Ibn al-Humām, ibid, II, 131-134; al-Maydanī, Lubāb, I, 178 ff. ; al-Shīrāzī, Muhadhdhab, I, 202-204; Ibn Qudāmah, Mughnī, III, 257. Al-Zaylaī, Naṣb al-Rāya, III, 16. Al-Bukhari, Jihād, 125, Umrah, 6; Muslim, Ḥajj, 135, 136; Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, III, 309, 394; al-Tirmidhī, Ḥajj, 91. See al-Baqara, 2: 196. Al-Bukhari, Ḥajj, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, Sayd, 18; Muslim, Ḥajj, 11, 12; Abū Dawūd, Manāsik, 8; al-Nasā’ī, Manāsik, 19, 20-23; Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, I, 238. Muslim, Ḥajj, 18; See al-Bukhari, Ḥajj, 13; Abū Dawūd, Manāsik, 8.