The Miqats are 5 location points that form a perimeter around the outside of the Holy City of Makkah. This perimeter is by no means a perfect circle around Makkah. It is 450 kilometers from the Haram at its furthest point, and passes close to it at it’s nearest. In fact its furthest point is actually just 9 kilometers from Medinah.
Those who are fortunate to live inside the Miqat area can enter a state of Ihram as they near the Haram if they wish to perform Hajj or Umrah. Anyone living outside, including of course those who travel in from different countries, must enter a state of Ihram before they enter the Miqat area if they are intending to perform Umrah or for the pilgrimage of Hajj. Anyone entering the area for other purposes is not required to go into Ihram.
Providing you do so outside the Miqat territory , it is permissible enter a state of Ihram anywhere, although one of the 5 “stations” mentioned below are preferable whenever possible. People often do so before they board the plane to Saudi Arabia, and some even when on the plane before they arrive in Jeddah as they will have crossed the Miqat border to do so.
There are 5 “stations” on the borders of the Miqat that are the preferred places to enter a state of Ihram.
Situated 9 kilometers from Medinah and approx 450 kilometers from Makkah. Dhu’l-Hulayfah is the preferred miqat for those who live in Medinah and other locations in this direction.
This is the preferred Miqat for those coming in from the North West including those from Syria. It is located approx 190 kilometers north west of the Holy City of Makkah.
A hilly location approx 90 kilometers east of the Hoy City of Makkah. The traditional Miqat for the people of Nejd or for those travelling in from the east.
85 kilometers away on the north east side of Makkah, this is the miqat used by the pilgrims from Iraq and Iran, as well as others travelling from that direction.
A hilly area approx 50 kilometers to the south east of Makkah. This is the miqat for pilgrims coming in by ship, particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as the closer residents of Yemen.