What is Meeqat?
Meeqat are points or stations from where whosoever crosses on his way to Holy Makkah either to perform Hajj, Umrah or for any other purpose, including business, is required to assume the state of Ihram.
Even those people residing within the Haram limit if they go out of the Meeqat, they can not re-enter this boundary without Ihram. It is Wajib to wear Ihram before entering the Meeqat. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam has specified these places at the most popular routes to Makkah during his time.
A person who approaches Makkah needs to enter the state of Ihram at or before the Meeqat from which he will pass or, if somehow he is not passing through one of them, then a point in his route that corresponds to the nearest Meeqat.
If a person is passing the Meeqat in an aircraft then again he should enter in the Ihram before passing what is considered as the corresponding point to the nearest Meeqat. The person can also enter in Ihram before he
leaves his home or before boarding the aircraft.
The one who does not know about Meeqat must enquire from others and if no one is available to guide him he must use his commonsense and decide himself. Anyone crossing Meeqat without Ihram either has to offer Dam in Haram or go back to Meeqat and re-enter after donning Ihram.
If one does not intend to go to Makkah but some other place within Meeqat such as Jeddah, he is not required to wear Ihram. If he thereafter enters Makkah, he can go without Ihram.
There are five different Meeqat:
1. Dhul-Hulaifah: Dhul-Hulaifah is the Meeqat for those who reside in Madinah and for those who approach Makkah from that direction. This is now commonly known as Abyaar-e-Ali. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam had worn Ihram from here while going for Umrah.
2. Juhfah: This is the Meeqat for the people who come from the direction of Syria. Today the Juhfah has lost its identity and people assume the state of Ihram from Raabigh instead, which is near to Juhfah.
3. Qarnul-Manaazil: This is the Meeqat for the people of Najd or for those coming from that direction. This is near Taaif.
4. Dhaat-e-`Irq: This is the Meeqat for the people of Iran, Iraq and for those coming from that direction
5. Yalamlam: This is the Meeqat for the people of Yemen and others coming from that direction. It is the Meeqat for many of the pilgrims from China, Japan, India, and Pakistan and for those who come from that direction.
Donning the Hajj Ihram before entering the Meeqat is not only permissible but also desirable provided it is not prior to the Hajj period.
Those residing within the Haram limit can wear Ihram for Hajj from any place within the Haram, preferably from the Masjid-e-Haram.
However, if they wish to perform Umrah the Ihram for Umrah should be worn somewhere from outside the Haram limit preferably from the Masjid-e-Aayishah. The area outside the Haram limits is called Hil.
Mufti Mehmood Akhtar Qadri (Qazi-E-Shehar Mumbai)