Hajj in regards to the Muslims living in this country (i.e. United States) commences when the Muslim travels to Makkah and makes the initial intention of ‘Umrah. He assumes his sacred state of Ihraam at the appointed places (Mawaaqeet), designated for asuming Ihraam when passing through those designated places.
According to the statement of the Prophet :
These are places specifically designated in order to assume Ihraam, known as Mawaaqeet (sing: Meeqaat). It is not permissible for anyone who wishes to perform Hajj or ‘Umrah to pass beyond these places towards Makkah without assuming the sacred state of Ihraam.
These specified places, known as the Mawaaqeet, extend from the direction of Makkah in four different directions. Whoever passes any one of these places going towards Makkah must assume Ihraam before proceeding, except for the residents of that place (and those living nearer to Makkah).
As for you (here in the United States), the majority of you travel by plane through the direction of Egypt. Therefore, you will take the same Meeqaat as the people of Egypt, which is also the same Meeqaat that is designated for the people of Shaam. This Meeqaat is known as "Raabig" and it is located about a Ω hour by air before reaching Jeddah. It is now a deserted, and abandoned town, known as al-Juhfah, or "The Dry Place", because of the frequent rain torrents (sayl) that wash over it on their way to the sea, leaving it barren.
Author: Shaykh Abu Haatim Usaamah Ibn ‘Abdil-Lateef Al-Qoosee
Translator: Abu Maryam Isma’eel Alarcon