Umrah consists of four religious practices that pilgrims perform at Masjid al-Haram during any time of the year.
Umrah: Its meaning
In linguistic terms, Umrah refers to the act of visiting a certain place. According to Islamic law, Umrah consists of passing the Miqat in Ihram, performing Tawaf at the Kaaba, doing Sa’i as well as Halq and Taqsir of one’s hair.
During the month of Dhul Hijjah, between the 9th and 13th, pilgrims can do Umrah, although it is disliked to perform the pilgrimage during Hajj. The rites performed during Umrah are also integral to Hajj.
Importance of Umrah
Umrah was performed by Prophet Muhammad four times during his lifetime. It is unclear whether the Umrah must be performed at least once during a person’s lifetime among the four Sunni schools of thought.
Hanafi and Maliki schools believe that Umrah is not Fardh (obligatory), but Sunnah Mu’akkadah (emphasized) based on the Sunnah. However, Umrah is considered Fardh in the Shafia and Hanbali schools of thought, along with Hajj.
Benefits of Umrah
Umrah isn’t an obligation for Hanafi and Maliki scholars, but it still carries many benefits, as you can see from the following Hadiths.
A list of types of Umrah is as follows:
- Umrah al-Mufradah: An Umrah al-Mufradah is independent of Hajj and performed at any moment during the year, except on Hajj days.
- Umrah al-Tamattu: In the month of Dhul Hijjah, just before Hajj starts, Umrah al-Tamattu is usually performed as part of the Hajj. Most pilgrims perform Hajj, the most common and simplest.
What are the conditions of Umrah?
You must fulfill several conditions in order to perform Umrah. They are similar to those required for Hajj:
- Islam: to perform Hajj one must be Muslim.
- Matured- You must be of mature age, which means you are Baligh.
- Metal Fit: Your mental faculties must be in full control, and you must be mentally sound.
- Wealthy: You must be financially capable of covering all travel expenses, accommodations, and other expenses during your Umrah. It is also vital you have enough money to support your dependents during your Umrah. Having no debt before going on Umrah isn’t a requirement, but arrangements should be made to fulfill debts before going on Umrah.
- Physically Fit: It is important that you are physically able to travel to Makkah and perform Umrah. You should not be restricted by illness or disease.
- Transport – Access and affordability are crucial factors for performing Umrah. It must also be safe for you to travel, which means you won’t be in any danger while you are on your trip.
- Mahram (required for women) – A Mahram must accompany a woman.
- Iddah period (only for females) – women must be free of their Iddah period.
When is the right time to perform Umrah?
The Umrah can be performed at any time; there is no specified time when it must be performed according to Islamic law. This exception applies to the days of Hajj.It is considered very virtuous to perform Umrah during Ramadan, according to Abdullah ibn Abbas I, who said:
Detailed explanations of Umrah’s rites follow.
- Maintain your purity – Trim the moustache, clip the nails, and remove any unwanted hair under your armpits and around your navel.
- Ghusl — Bathe or at least abitate, or at least make wadhu(bath).
- Wear Ihram:-The Ihram should be worn before you reach the Miqat. For men, the Ihram is composed of two white pieces of cloth. A modest dress for women will suffice for this purpose. It is recomended you should put your Ihram on before departing from the airport.
- Ihram Ki Namaz:-After putting on Ihram, perform two rakah of Salah. The first Rakah should be Surah al-Kafirun (Surah 109) and the second Rakah after al-Fatiha should be Surah al-Ikhlas (Surah 112). Dua should be made after the Salah.
- Make Niyyyat:-The first step in preparing for Umrah is to make your Niyah as you approach the Miqat, preferably in a plane. You must remove any clothes that violate Ihram requirements. Clearly expressing your intention verbally is recommended. You may do so in any language.
- The Talbiyah should be recited:
- You should recite the Talbiyah, the Dhikr, and the Salawat before entering Makkah.
- Entering Masjid Al Haram:- Upon reaching the mosque, recite the Dua to enter the mosque. Enter the mosque through the Bab al-Salam, preferably with your right foot.
- Dua at the Kaaba – Keep your gaze downward while you gaze at the Kaaba. As soon as you see it, say Allahu Akbar. Allahu akbar. Lā ilāha illa-llāh three times. Raising your hands, making an abundance of Dua, and sending Salawat to the Prophet SAW.
- Idtiba – When wearing Ihram garments, men should expose their right shoulder by passing their garments under their right armpit (Idtiba).
- Step 1- Put yourself in the position of the Hajar al-Aswad. From here, the Tawaf begins. An illuminated green light will lead you to this position.
- Niyyah – Perform the Niyyah for Tawaf. Make your Niyyah verbally. You may do this in any language.
- Istilam – If you can reach it, kiss or touch the Hajar al-Aswad. If not, gesture at it from a distance. This is known as Istilam. Doing Istilam involves raising your hands above your ears and saying the greeting Bismillahi wallahu akbar.
- Start – Be sure the Kaaba is on your left as you begin the circuit of the Tawaf.
- Raml – When walking the first three circuits, men may walk briskly with their chests held out (Raml). If congestion is high, avoid this.
- Dhikr & Dua – As part of Tawaf, you are allowed to read the Quran, make dua, make Dhikr, or send Salawat. Recite the following between Rukn al-Yamani and Hajar al-Aswad:
- End of circuit – After completing one circuit, you return to the Hajar al-Aswad. Do the Istilam of the Hajar al-Aswad and say Allahu akbar before the second part.
- End of Tawaf – Perform seven rounds continuously (except when Salah is performed). After eight rounds, you have made eight Istilams altogether.
- Stop Idtiba: Putting your Ihram over your right shoulder will stop Idtiba.
- Salah of Tawaf – Do two Rakahs of Salah after Tawaf, preferably with the Kaaba in view between you and Maqam Ibrahim. You may pray anywhere in the Masjid if this is not possible. Surah al-Kafirun (Surah 109), after al-Fatiha, should be recited in the 1st rakath and Surah al-Ikhlas (Surah 112) in the 2nd rakath. After the Salah, make a Dua.
- Zamzam – Drink Zamzam water and recite Dua.
- Multazam – It is recommended that you walk between the Hajar al-Aswad and Kaaba door (Multazam). You should hold onto the wall as you say the Dua. You can make Dua if it is inaccessible.
- Final Istilam – In order to prepare for Sa’i, a ninth time of Istilam is recommended.