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What is Umrah?

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What is Umrah?

Umrah, also known as the ‘Minor Pilgrimage’ or ‘Lesser Pilgrimage’; is a religious Ibadah of Muslims. It is a pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudia Arabia, one of the three holiest cities in Islam. Unlike Hajj, umrah can be performed by pilgrims any time of the year because it is a sunnah pilgrimage and not an obligatory one. That’s why millions of Muslims arrive throughout the year in the holy with cheap Umrah packages and offer the rituals. 

Therefore, one can travel to Umrah at any time and perform the holy rituals individually. Here’s what you need to know about Umrah.

Obligation.

Umrah is not an obligatory pilgrimage but a sunnah of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW). Even if a Muslim is financially, physically, and mentally capable of it, performing Umrah is solely a voluntary act. Therefore, if one doesn’t perform umrah despite being able for it, it’s not a sinful act.

However, due to the rewards and bounties associated with the Umrah pilgrimage, it is advised to opt for the holy rituals when you easily can.

Performance.

Umrah performance is voluntary and individual for every pilgrim. Therefore, you have to assume Ihram and offer all the other rituals of minor pilgrimage yourself.

Time of year.

Unlike Hajj which is performed during the specific days in the month of Dhul-Hijjah, Umrah can be performed at any time of the year. However, the days of Hajj are excluded in this regard. That’s why Muslims keep on arriving in the region throughout the year for the holy rituals.

The month of Ramadan is the busiest for Umrah performance because it has been narrated in the hadith that Umrah performance in Ramadan holds an equivalent reward of performing Hajj. So, millions of Muslim pilgrims arrive for it during this holy month. On the other hand, the summer months are quite relaxed for Umrah performances as the weather is intensely hot in Makkah and Madinah.

Rituals.

Umrah consists of four primary rituals;

  1. Assuming the state of Ihram.
  2. Tawaf of the Holy Kaabah.
  3. Sayee of Safah and Marwah Hills.
  4. Tahallul.

All of these four rituals are obligatory to perform in order to make your Umrah pilgrimage valid.

Assuming the state of Ihram.

Upon arrival in Makkah, pilgrims must assume the state of Ihram before they can enter the Masjid al-Haram (the Grand Mosque of Makkah) and cross the Meeqat boundary.

Meeqat boundaries are specific places that lie outside the premises of Makkah city where pilgrims arriving for Umrah must assume their Ihram and then proceed towards Masjid-al-Haram. Otherwise, crossing the Meeqat boundary without wearing Ihram results in a penalty.

Assuming Ihram must begin by;

  • Trimming your nails.
  • Shaving unnecessary body hair.
  • Performing ghusl.

Afterwards, you can wear your Ihram clothes.

  1. For men, Ihram is two sheets of unstitched cloth (white color). No other piece of stitched clothing can be worn as Ihram.
  2. For women, Ihram is their modest, loose fit, and ordinary clothes. They must only wear stitched clothes for Ihram.

After wearing the Ihram, one must offer two Rakat Salat-al-Ihram and then make Niyyah for Umrah before exiting the Meeqat boundary.

Circumambulation (Tawaf).

Pilgrims perform Tawaf by walking around the Holy Kaabah for seven rounds in a counterclockwise direction, such that each round starts as well as ends at the place of Hajar-al-Aswad; symbolizing Muslim unity as they worship the one true God, Allah.

Walking Between Safa and Marwah (Sayee).

After the completion of Tawaf, pilgrims walk seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah to remember Hagar’s search for water for her son Ismaeel (AS); emphasizing themes of faith and perseverance. Both of these hills are present inside the Grand Mosque of Makkah.

The first lap of Sayee must be from Safah towards Marwah and then proceed in such a manner that the 7th round ends at Marwah Hill.

Tahallul (also known as Halq or Taqsir):

After the completion of Tawaf and Sayee, pilgrims must opt for Tahallul which is the last ritual of Umrah. Male pilgrims are recommended to shave their heads completely (Halq), however, if one doesn’t want to, then trimming the hair from all sides equally (Taqsir) is also permissible. On the other hand, women are only allowed to cut a fingertip’s length of their hair. 

So, that’s how, when, and where you can perform Umrah with your Last 10 Days Ramadan Umrah Packages or the rest of the year.

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