What is Umrah?HOW TO PERFORM UMRAH?
Umrah is a small Hajj(pilgrimage) that can be performed at any time of the year. Thus Umrah can be performed along with Hajj and in other days as well.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
"---fulfill Hajj and Umrah to Allah". (Qur’an 2: 196)
Great Virtues of Performing Umrah
Prophet (peace be upon him) has described the great merits of performing Umrah saying:
1- "The people who come to perform Hajj or Umrah are the guests of Allah because they visit His House on His Call; therefore, Allah grants them what they ask for"
2- "One Umrah becomes an atonement for the sins committed up to the next Umrah"
Performing Umrah in Ramadan
Performing Umrah during the Holy month Ramadan is most commendable and equal to Hajj in merit and excellence. Meaning that Umrah in Ramadan is equal to Hajj in terms of rewards, but it does not substitute the performance of Hajj which is Fard (imperative), once in a life time if one is financially and physically capable (as it is one of the basic Five Pillars of Islam).
RULES FOR UMRAH
1- Umrah is a Sunna (Sunna is following prophet Mohammad (PBUH)):
Umrah is neither imperative (Fard) nor obligatory (wajib), but performing Umrah once in a life time is a Sunna. However, once or more than once, whenever it is performed, it fetches great rewards.
2- No Fixed Time:
Umrah can be performed during anytime in the year, there is no fixed month, day or time for Umrah as the case with Hajj, as said earlier.
3- The station of Ihram (Miqat):
The station of Ihram (Miqat) for Umrah is Hill for the residents of the Haram of Mecca and the people of Hill. As mentioned later, the area between the five appointed Miqats of Hajj and the bounds of the Haram of Mecca is called Hill. The outsiders, (comers) who come to Mecca for Hajj and Umrah should already be in Ihram before entering into Mecca. However, for subsequent Umrahs, even they have to go to Hill to put on Ihram. For this purpose, buses outside Bab Abdul Aziz of al-Haram take pilgrims to Masjid Aicha which is in Hill on Madinah Road at Tan’eem, not far from Mecca.
3.The Rites of Umrah:
The only rites of Umrah are:
- Entering the state of Ihram
- Tawaf of Ka’bah
- Sa’yee (running) between the hills of Safa and Marwah
- Shaving and clipping of the hair (after you finish the Umrah)
In Umrah, pilgrims do not go to Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa or throw pebbles on the Jamrahs (stone pillars representing devils) or offer animal sacrifice. These rites are only performed during Hajj.
Ihram for Umrah and entering Masjid (Mosque) Al Haram
You should be already in Ihram for Umrah before entering Mecca or as mentioned earlier, enter the state of Ihram at Masjid Aicha in Hill if it is your subsequent Umrah or if you are the resident of the Haram of Mecca or of Hill. If you are entering into Ihram now, your next step is to cover your head and pray two rak’ahs. Then uncover your head, intend to perform Umrah and proclaim Talbiyah three times and as often afterwards as possible. This starts all the restrictions of Ihram which are listed in the description of Hajj. You may review the complete procedure to enter into Ihram discussed earlier.
Entering Masjid al-Haram:
While reciting Talbiyah, enter Al- Masjid Al-Haram preferably through Bab Al Salam. Supplicate to Allah and proceed towards Ka’bah. You may recite the following supplication which is usually used before entering a mosque:
1. Allahumma eftah li abwabe rahmateka (Allah, open to me your doors of mercy)
2. First Sight: At the first sight of Ka’bah, keep your eyes fixed at it and standing at one side, it is suggested that you do the following:
- Say Allahu Akbar: three times (Allah is the Greatest)
- Say La-Ilaha-Illa-Allah: three times (There is no god but Allah)
- Say May peace and blessings be upon Prophet Mohammad)
- Then supplicate to Allah as you wish. This is a special time for the acceptance of prayers.