Ihraam means having the intention of starting the rituals of Hajj or ‘Umrah.
When the pilgrim wants to enter ihraam, he should change his clothesand do ghusl like the ghusl done to cleanse oneself of janaabah (impurity following sexual activity). Then he should apply whatever perfume is available, musk or whatever, to his head and beard. It does not matter if traces of that perfume remain after he enters ihraam, because of the hadeeth narrated in al-Saheehayn from
Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to enter ihraam, he would perfume himself with the best perfume he could find, then I would see shining traces of that musk on his head and beard after that.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 271; Muslim, 1190.
Doing ghusl when entering ihraam is Sunnah for both men and women, even women who are bleeding following childbirth or menstruating, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded Asma’ bint ‘Umays when she was bleeding following childbirth to do ghusl when she entered ihraam, and to bandage her private parts and enter ihraam.
Narrated by Muslim, 1209.
Then after doing ghusl and putting on perfume, the pilgrim should put on the ihraam garments and – apart from women who are bleeding following childbirth or menstruating – pray the obligatory prayer if that is at the time of an obligatory prayer, otherwise they should pray two rak’ahs with the intention of the Sunnah prayer of wudoo’. When the pilgrim has finished praying he should face the qiblah and enter ihraam. He may delay ihraam until he has boarded his means of transportation , and is ready to move off, but he should enter ihraam before he leaves the *meeqaat* for Makkah.
Meeqat is an Arabic word which literally means, ‘a stated place’. This is the place where Muslims setting out to perform Umrah or Haj stop over to assume the state of Ihram