sacred state into which a Muslim must enter in order to perform the hajj (major pilgrimage) or the 'umrah (minor pilgrimage). At the beginning of a pilgrimage, the Muslim stops at a designated station to perform certain ritual cleansing ceremonies; each male shaves his head, cuts his nails, and trims his beard before donning a white, seamless, two-piece garment. Women also wear white; although no particular dress is prescribed, by tradition they wear long robes. During the period of sanctification, sexual activity, shaving, and cutting one's nails all are forbidden in accordance with the pilgrim's special relationship to God during the ihram.
Learn more about ihram with a free trial on Britannica.com.