Praise be to Allaah.
The Sunnah for the one who goes to Makkah for Hajj or
‘Umrah is to start first of all with al-Masjid al-Haraam and do tawaaf
(circumambulate the Ka‘bah) before he goes to any other place. That is
because of the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (1642) and Muslim (1235)
from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “The first thing
he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did when he came to Makkah
was to do wudoo’ then circumambulate the House.”
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The hadeeth of
‘Aa’ishah was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. Our companions said: As
soon as he enters Makkah, he should not try to find a place to stay or
change his garments or do anything else except tawaaf. Rather some of the
group should stay with their luggage and mounts so that the others can
perform tawaaf, then they should come back to their mounts and luggage and
find accommodation. End quote from al-Majmoo‘, 8/15.
Imam al-Shaafa ‘i (may Allah have mercy on him) said: We have
not heard that when he entered Makkah he stopped at any place, either in his
Hajj or his ‘Umrah, until he entered the mosque, and he did not do anything
when he entered the mosque, either bowing or anything else, until he started
with the House and performed tawaaf. He did this in both his Hajj and his
End quote from al-Umm, 2/185
From the above it is clear that the Sunnah is for the muhrim
(pilgrim in ihram) to start the rituals from when he reaches the Haram,
following the example of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon
him) – as stated above – and because leaving a long interval may be a cause
of committing some of the actions that are forbidden whilst in ihram.
But if a person is very tired because of having travelled a
long way, and he delays ‘Umrah so that he can rest, there is nothing wrong
with that. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: If
a person comes to Makkah and is tired, and he is not able to perform ‘Umrah
until the following day, what is the ruling on that? Is it essential to
perform ‘Umrah as soon as one reaches al-Masjid al-Haraam?
It is best for the person who has come to do ‘Umrah to start,
before anything else, by doing ‘Umrah, even before he goes to his
accommodation. So he should perform ‘Umrah because that is the purpose (for
which he came). But if he delays it, especially if he is tired, so that he
can rest, there is nothing wrong with him doing that and his ‘Umrah is still
End quote from Majmoo‘ Fataawa al-Shaykh, 22/285
And Allah knows best.