The Sunnah for the one who goes to Makkah for Hajj or âUmrah is to start first of all with al-Masjid al-Haraam and do tawaaf (circumambulate the Kaâbah) before he goes to any other place. That is because of the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (1642) and Muslim (1235) from âAaâishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: âThe first thing he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did when he came to Makkah was to do wudooâ then circumambulate the House.â
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The hadeeth of âAaâishah 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-Majmooâ, 8/15.
Imam al-Shaafa âi (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 âUmrah, 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 âUmrah.
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) â as stated above â 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 âUmrah so that he can rest, there is nothing wrong with that. Shaykh Ibn âUthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: If a person comes to Makkah and is tired, and he is not able to perform âUmrah until the following day, what is the ruling on that? Is it essential to perform âUmrah as soon as one reaches al-Masjid al-Haraam?
It is best for the person who has come to do âUmrah to start, before anything else, by doing âUmrah, even before he goes to his accommodation. So he should perform âUmrah 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 âUmrah is still valid.
End quote from Majmooâ Fataawa al-Shaykh, 22/285
And Allah knows best.