In this connection this is worth noticing that on all the four sides of Mecca, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) : blessings of Allah and peace be on him) has assigned some distinct places on reaching where Ihram wearing becomes obligatory for the pilgrims to Mecca irrespective of the Ihram being for Hajj or Umra. These places are called Miqat, the plural number of which is Mawaqit. Fixation of Mawaqit has been narrated in Ahadith-e-Sahi-ha (Authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet) The above restriction of wearing Ihram on Miqat is general in its imposition on all residing outside Miqat. Whenever they enter into the precincts of Miqat with the intention to go to Mecca ; whether their entrance is with some commercial purposes or in order to pay a visit to their friends or relatives ; in any case they are under obligation, in relation to the rights of Bait-Ullah, that they enter Mecca after wearing Ihram from Miqat. If it is Hajj period, they are to wear Ihram for Hajj, otherwise they should wear Ihram for Umra and thus pay due homage to Bait-Ullah first. Only then they are supposed to look after their own business, (Badae). Anyhow, if the journey to Jedda is not with the intention to go to Mecca, but instead it is with the intention to reach Jedda or Madina ; in that case, it is not necessary to wear Ihram from Miqat.
Mawaqit Are Five:
Zulhulaifa. For the persons arriving from the side of Madina. It is at a distance of about 6 miles from Madina on the road way leading to Mecca. A mosque is situated here. The place is known as Bir-e-Ali nowadays.
Juhfa. For the pilgrims arriving from the side of Syria. It is near ‘Rabigh’, the well known ‘Manzil’ (station) on the road way of ‘Madina’.
Qarn-ul-Manazil. For those coming from ‘Najd’.
Yalamlam. For the persons arriving from the direction of ‘Yemen’. It is a hill situated at a distance of about 15 to 20 miles from seashore. It is in fact a Miqat for the people of Yemen and Aden. In early times when there was no port at Jedda, the Hajj pilgrims arriving through the sea passage from India, Pakistan and other eastern countries had to adopt this route. That is why this is generally understood to be the Miqat for the people of Pakistan and India as well.
Zat-u-Irq. For the persons coming from the side of Iraq.
The persons traveling on a route not passing through these places will have to wear ‘Ihram’ for their entrance in Mecca on the points which may confront any of these places. This Ihram wearing will, however, be before entering into these confronting points.
These ‘Mawaqit’ have been fixed for all those who live anywhere in the world outside the precincts of Miqat. The whole world outside the precincts of Miqat is termed to be as Afaq and its inhabiltants are known by the term of Afaqi.