The arrival at the Miqat

The Miqat of Dhu al-Hulayfa

Qaisra Khan, 2010.

Qaisra Khan, 2010.

There are five fixed places known as Miqat within a radius of Mecca, which pilgrims must not cross before they are in a state of Ihram if they are intending to perform the Hajj or ‘Umra. Dhu al-Hulayfa, more than 300 km from Mecca, is one for those who approach Mecca from Medina. The others are Juhfa (190 km to the north-west), Qarn al-Manazil (90 km to the east), Dhat ‘Irq (85 km to the north-east) and Yalamlan (50 km to the south-east).

Ihram garments for men (top) and women (bottom)

Ihram garments for men Ihram garments for women

On arrival at the miqat, pilgrims must enter into ihram. It is recommended that they have a full body wash and perfume themselves, and men must change into the Ihram clothing, consisting of two pieces of seamless white cloth (such as towels), one fixed round the waist and the other covering the top of the body. These can be secured with pins or a belt. Footwear should also be simple and not sewn. Women’s clothing for Hajj is normal and can be any colour, although usually they choose white, but they should not cover their faces. Once the pilgrims are in ihram they must not use perfume, shave, cut their hair or nails, or have sexual intercourse. Entering into ihram is a high spiritual moment, one the pilgrims have long anticipated.

‘We were all brothers’ by Ayman Yossri Daydban

‘We were all brothers’ by Ayman Yossri Daydban

British Museum 2013,6006.1

This work shows a group of pilgrims in their ihram garments. Ayman Yossri has captured this scene from a film about Malcolm X (d. 1965) which had Arabic subtitles. In a still photograph, he has manipulated the image by applying light and shade. Malcolm X undertook his Hajj in 1964 and was particularly struck by the spirit of unity that bound all races and peoples while on Hajj.

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council