Ihram of Hajj
The ihram for hajj is donned in Mecca and the best time for it is the Day of Tarwiyya (i.e., the 8th of Dhul Hijja) at mid-day prayer’s time. If someone wants to put on this ihram before the 8th of Dhul Hijja, he may do so.
And the best place for putting on the ihram is the Sacred Mosque, preferable near the Hijr Isma‘il (a.s.) and Maqam Ibrahim (a.s.).
After putting on the ihram, the pilgrim has to do the niyyat, with the sincere intention of seeking the pleasure of Almighty Allah. He may do the niyyat by saying, “I am putting on the ihram for hajj at-tamattu‘ to seek the nearness of Almighty Allah.” As mentioned above, there is not need to say the niyyat in so many words; just the thought in mind is sufficient.
The pilgrim then has to say the talbiyya soon after the niyyat by saying: “Lab-bay-ka Allahumma lab-bay-ka; lab-bay-ka la sharika laka lab-bay-ka.” It is recommended to add the following to it: “Innal hamda wan ni‘mata laka wal mulk; la sharika laka lab-bay-ka.”
Then the pilgrim leaves the Mecca to go to Mina (through the tunnel route that consist of 7 k.m. or through the land route which consist of 4 k.m.) with calm and dignity, reciting the talbiyya loudly and constantly reciting the zikr of Almighty Allah.
It is recommended that he stay the eve of 9th Dhul Hijja at Mina and spend the time in worshipping Allah. It is preferable that his prayers be done in Masjid al-Khif (in Mina), especially at the distance of 20 cubits from the minarets which are at the centre of the mosque since that is the actual place where our Prophet and the other past prophets prayed. The pilgrim should do his Dawn Prayer and then, after the sunrise, he should proceed towards ‘Arafat, reciting the talbiyya all the way until he reaches it.
It is important to mention that going to Mina and spending the eve of 9th Dhul Hijja over there is among the recommended good deeds for which the pilgrim will be rewarded – but it is not among the obligatory acts of the hajj.