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A comprehensive guide offers an in-depth information about Umrah

02 February 2024

Umrah

Every Ibadah in Islam is associated with some rewards, like Umrah, which is one of our beloved Prophet Muhammad's (P.B.U.H) most important Sunnah and is known as an important and spiritual obligation for Muslims.

The Prophet (PBUH) said,

It is a way of purifying the mind and soul, as well as providing lifetime inspiration. Allah (SWT) rewards any good deed done for Him, and when a believer devotes his time and resources to Him, He protects him from misery and suffering. The benefits of performing Hajj and Umrah are immense.

Meaning of Umrah

Umrah is a linguistic term that refers to a visit to a specific place. In terms of Shariah, Umrah involves performing Meeqat in Ihram, Tawaf of the Kaaba, performing Sa'i of Safa & Marwah, and performing Halq (shaving) or Taqsir (hair shortening).

While Umrah can be performed at any time of the year, it is not recommended to do so between the 9th and 13th of Dhul Hijjah, when the Hajj takes place. The rituals performed during Umrah are also an integral part of Hajj.

Obligation of Umrah

During his lifetime, the Prophet ? performed Umrah four times. There is controversy among the four Sunni schools of thought about whether performing Umrah at least once in one's lifetime is obligatory.

Umrah is not considered Fardh (obligatory) by both the Hanafi and Maliki schools of thought, but it is considered a Sunnah Mu'akkadah.  The Shafi'i and Hanbali schools of thought, on the other hand, consider Umrah, like Hajj, to be Fardh.

Types of Umrah

Umrah is Divided into Two Types:

Umrah al-Mufradah:

This type of Umrah is performed separately from Hajj and can be performed at any time during the year, except during the Hajj days.

Umrah al-Tamattu

This type of Umrah is usually performed in accordance with Hajj and takes place in the month of Dhul Hijjah, just before the Hajj begins. This type of Hajj is known as Hajj al-Tamattu, and it is the most popular and easy for pilgrims to perform.

Steps to perform Umrah:

Make sure that the steps for 'Umrah are mentioned below. Let's get started without further ado!

Ihram

Before performing Hajj or 'Umrah, a Muslim enters a holy state (of mind and body) known as Ihram. Ihram will start on the plane at a place outside of Makkah if you are flying into Makkah. An announcement will be made about an hour and a half before you reach Makkah, and you will be notified by it. Meeqats are the places where Ihram begins.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

To enter Ihram, follow these steps:

  • Clean your body (removing hair, cutting nails, trimming the mustache, taking a shower) is recommended just before entering Ihram. Must Wear Ihram clothes after conducting one of the five daily prayers.
  • Make it a priority to perform Umrah.
  • Start reciting Talbiyah.
  • You must either leave Makkah and re-enter it or sacrifice a sheep as a punishment if you forget to enter Ihram at the Meeqat.

Ihram for Men:

  • 2 pieces of plain unstitched white cloth.

  • The head or face must not be covered with any clothing.
  • Avoid wearing socks, trousers, turbans, etc.

Ihram for Women:

  • Any Islamic dress is suitable and allowed to wear.

  • The face and hands must not be covered.

Both men and women must have to follow the rules for Ihram:

  • Don’t fight or quarrel with others.
  • Don’t abuse anyone, talk sinfully or use any bad language.
  • Don’t use perfume. This includes fragranced soaps, shampoos, wipes, lotions, etc.
  • Don’t cut, pluck or remove any hair or nails. (Broken nails can be removed).
  • Don’t engage in any sexual act.
  • Don’t kill, hunt, or help others to hunt any animals.
  • Don’t marry, propose or help others to get married.

Tawaaf:

Tawaf is referred to the Hajj and Umrah ritual of circulating the Ka'bah 7 times.

Before starting the Tawaf:

  • Make sure, you must have wudu. (Women who are menstruating are unable to perform Tawaf.

  • It is common for men to wear their Ihrams so that their right shoulder remains bare. This is referred to as Idtiba'a. After completing their Tawaf, men must cover their shoulders once more (i.e. after seven tawafs).

What is the procedure for performing Tawaf?

  • Start at the Black Stone. At the Black Stone, recite this Talbiyah.
  • You have the option of kissing the Black Stone, touching it, and then kissing your hand, or simply pointing to it without kissing your hand.
  • From the Black Stone, move towards the Yamaani corner. No other part of the Ka'bah should be touched. You are free to make any du'a you want.
  • If you close enough to get to the Yamani corner, you can touch it, but don't kiss it or kiss your hand.
  • Continue your tawaf when reciting the du'a of Tawaf, circling back to the Black Stone.
  • Your first tawaf comes to an end at the Black Stone, where you started. Continue with your second tawaf, following the same steps as before.
  • For your Tawaf to be complete, you must circle the Ka'bah 7 times.
  • Do not enter the Hateem. If you enter the Hateem, the tawaf will not be counted, and you will have to repeat it.
  • Men could just jog steadily for the first three tawafs. This is known as Ramal.
  • All seven tawafs allow women to walk normally. In the last four tawafs, men can walk normally.

Pray at Maqam e Ibrahim:

Tawaf Al-Ifadah is the name of the Tawaf you are performing, and to complete it, you must pray at Maqam E Ibrahim and drink Zamzam water.

At Maqam Ibrahim, what do you do?

  • Proceed to Maqam Ibrahim after completing Tawaf and reciting the ayah mentioned below.
  • Stand between the Maqam Ibrahim and the Ka'bah. It would be far too crowded if you try to stand directly in front of it. As long as the Maqam E Ibrahim must be between you and the Ka'bah, anywhere else in Al-Masjid Al-Haram is fine.
  • Pray two Rakats there.  In the 1st Rakat, recite Surah Kafiroon, and in the 2nd Rakat, recite Surah Ikhlas (after reciting Surah Fatihah, of course).

What to do after praying at Maqam E Ibrahim?

  • Go to any Zamzam water point and get water from there.
  • While standing, drink Zamzam water. It's also a recommendation to pour the water over your head.
  • When drinking Zamzam, recite du'a.

Sa’i

Walking or running 7 times between the two mountains of Safah and Marwah to remember Hazrat Hajarah's (AS) quest for water for her beloved son Ismail (AS).

How to perform Sa’i?

  • It is recommended, but not necessary, to have wudu. Women who are menstruating should perform Sa'i.
  • You can recite this ayah about Safa and Marwah on your path to Sa'i.
  • Start Sa'i from Safah.
  • Between the mountains of Safah and Marwah, you must complete seven rounds. Walking from Safah to Marwah counts as one round, and walking from Marwah to Safah counts as another.
  • Men just have to run a part of the way. Green tube lights indicate this area.
  • Recite du'a (similar to the Eid Takbeer) 3 times at the top of each mountain. After that, you can make personal du'as.
  • After completing seven rounds, Sa'i will be done, and you will end at the mountain of Marwah.

Ending Ihram

For men, this comprises shaving or trimming the hair on their head and changing from Ihram to normal attire. For women, this means trimming their hair by the tip of their fingers. The condition of Ihram is then finished, and the Ihram rules are lifted.

In short, you start Ihram at the Meeqat, perform Tawaf, pray two rakats, drink Zamzam water, perform Sa'i, and then end Ihram.

Umrah Essentials to Carry on the Pilgrimage:

Packing the necessary travel essentials should be your top priority; otherwise, you would not be able to travel.

Essential Documents:

  • Passport with Visa Documentation:

The Hajj authorities will take your passport upon your arrival in Saudi Arabia and return it to you when you leave.

  • Passport Sized Photographs:

It is suggested that you bring at least four passport-sized photographs with you. During your Umrah journey, these photos will be needed for documentation and procedures. It is preferable to take it with you rather than worry about it there.

  • Saudi Currency:

While you can change your currency in Saudi Arabia, it is recommended that you carry a minimum of 450 SAR for immediate expenses before you become familiar with the local currency exchange process. In Saudi Arabia, you can exchange money at the airport or local banks or money changers in both Makkah and Madinah.

  • Money:

Because no one can lend you money there, carry enough money to meet your expenses. Make a budget ahead of time.

  • Contact Numbers:

In your pocket-sized diary, write down all of the important Contact numbers. You should have the phone numbers of your group leader and the consulate of your country as well. If any of your relatives live in Saudi Arabia, must bring their phone numbers as well.

  • Photocopy of your Passport:

As previously mentioned, Saudi authorities will take your passport at your arrival, so bring one or two copies of your passport with you.

  • Valid ticket & complete travel itinerary:

A valid ticket and a complete travel itinerary should also be on your to-do list.

Prayers Essentials:

  • Pocket Size Quran:

Even when copies of the Quran can be found in Masjid, it is more convenient to have your own. If you keep a mini Quran in your pocket, you won't have to get up, which might cause you to lose your seat in the Masjid.

  • Supplications’ Book:

Several pocket-sized dua books are available in the market. Purchase books with translations of each supplication so you can understand what you're reciting.

  • Supplication List:

Make a list of supplications you'd like to make during your Umrah pilgrimage, particularly on Arafat Day. List the supplications you'd like to make, including dua for your ancestors, yourself, your family, and relatives, dua for the entire Muslim community, particularly those Muslim brothers and sisters suffering around the world, and dua for those who have died.

  • Digital Counter or Tasbeeh:

You must keep your tasbeeh in your pocket at all times so that you can perform dhikr wherever you are. Digital counters are extremely useful.

  • Seven Beads Tasbeeh:

This is especially required to count the circuits of Tawaf and Sa’i.

  • Umrah Guide:

If you forget anything, a pocket-sized guide might help tremendously.

Wearing Essentials

  • Ihram:

The pilgrims' outfits must be appropriate. If you buy a very thin cotton ihram, you might find it uncomfortable in case of sweating. It is preferable to use a towel or a thick cotton fabric.

  • Safety Pins:

The upper piece of Ihram must be fastened so that it does not slip from the shoulders by this small but necessary item.

  • Waist Pouch:

Keep valuable items such as money, credit cards/debit cards, papers, and keys in a good quality waist or neck pouch. Have your pouch with you at all times and don't leave it at your accommodation.

  • Comfortable Clothes:

Pack light-weight, loose-fitting clothes that don't need to be ironed and can be washed quickly, as well as clothes that are suitable for the journey.

  • Headwear:

Men wear a prayer hat, while women wear hijab. So, keep them in your luggage.

  • Light Jacket:

If you’re performing Umrah in winters, must pack a light jacket as nights and early mornings becomes cold.

Medication:

Your current medication recommended by your physician, cold and flu relief medication, pain relief pills, travel sickness tablets, moisturizing cream, lip balm, Vaseline, cough syrups, diarrhea tablets, bandages, sunblock, muscle pain ointment, and antibiotics all must be included in your bag.

Electronics:

Electronics such as a universal travel adapter, a cell phone, a Saudi SIM card, a cell phone charger, headphones, a wristwatch, an alarm clock, and a travel iron must be packed.

Umrah Packages:

Depending on your needs, several travel agencies provide 3- to 5 star Umrah packages.

3-star Umrah Packages:

By recognizing the needs of each consumer market, the best opportunities for an inexpensive stay are also designed for the Umrah Packages.

4-star Umrah Packages:

Affordable, Deluxe, or even more luxurious 3 to 4-star hotels, and all the facilities are available according to budget preferences.

5-star Umrah Packages:

The best service providers meet all requirements and improve the affordability aspect for all pilgrims with 5-star accommodation. Hotels and accommodations in the immediate vicinity of Makkah and Medina are equipped with modern amenities.

Cheap Umrah Packages:

These packages are designed for those who are passionate to perform the Umrah but not have enough money to perform it. Cheap Umrah Packages comes with many luxurious facilities in affordable prices.

Virtues and Benefits of Performing Umrah

Whereas the Hanafi and Maliki schools of thought do not consider Umrah to be obligatory, there are numerous benefits and blessings to performing it, as mentioned below.

To be Allah's Guest:

This is a fantastic opportunity for Muslims to become a guest of Allah is a blessing. On this journey, pilgrims experience peace and quit all bad habits to seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah. Then Allah will certainly hear them and will never abandon them.

According to Abu Hurairah (RA), The Allah's Messenger ? said:

Abolition of Poverty:

Umrah is performed by any Muslim in order to receive Allah's forgiveness and blessings. Muslims who are having financial difficulties will be able to resume their normal lives after Umrah. People do not conduct Umrah for the sake of escaping poverty, but Allah will show His grace and blessings on the Muslims, which is an unintended reward.

It was narrated that 'Abdullah said:

"The Allah’s Messenger ? said:

Acquire Worldly Benefits:

Umrah is not only purifying the soul and mind but also offers numerous worldly benefits and rewards for every good act. Muslims renew their sense of life in this world and discover the true meaning of their lives. As a result, Allah bestows lots of worldly blessings upon Muslims who devote their time and resources for the sake of Allah SWT.

Muslims believe that investing everything for Allah's sake and in Allah's way results in more blessings and rewards. As promised in the Quran, Allah bestows all of his blessings and rewards on his followers and true lovers. Ramadan Umrah is a wonderful journey through which Muslims seek Allah's blessings and safety during this holy pilgrimage and receive the Umrah blessings.

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