Umrah Guide; Step-by-Step
In Arabic, “UMRAH” means “to visit a populated place”. In this blog, you will find comprehensive information about Umrah in Islam.
What is Umrah in Islam
This event is an important but optional pilgrimage for Muslims to Mecca’s holy city of Masjid al-Haram. Most pilgrims make the Umrah journey during Ramadan or in Rajab and Sha’ban, the two Islamic lunar months that follow it. Muslims believe that there is more mercy, greater acceptance of prayers, and a higher reward for worshipping during these holy months.
Narrated Abu Huraira (R.A):
Allah’s Messenger (S.A.W.) said, “(The performance of) `Umra is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing except Paradise.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1773)
What Is the Purpose of Umrah
The purpose of Umrah is to seek the blessings of Allah, pray for forgiveness, and refresh the faith in Islam. One who performs Umrah is said to be cleansed of their sins and rewarded with many benefits. Umrah involves performing certain devotional acts around the Kaaba, the black cubical structure that is the direction of prayer for Muslims. But Umrah is a shorter and less rigorous version of Hajj.
Umrah Rituals – How to Perform Umrah
Umrah and Hajj are quite similar but Umrah can be performed at any time, as compared to the Hajj. In the following section, you can learn about how Umrah is performed step by step.
- Ihram from Miqat
- Halq (head shaving) or Taqsir (hair trimming or shortening for both males and females).
How to do Umrah
Dua for Umrah
Bismillahi wal hamdulillahi wassaulatu a’laa rausulillah, Allauhummaghfirlee zunoobee waf tahlee abwaaba rauhmatik.
I begin in the name of Allah, all praise be to Him, and Blessings be upon the Prophet of Allah; O Allah, forgive my sins and open for me the gates of your mercy.
Step 1 – Ihram
This is the state of consecration that one must enter before performing Umrah. It involves wearing two pieces of white cloth for men, and loose-fitting clothes for women, as well as abstaining from certain actions such as cutting nails, wearing perfume, hunting, etc. One should also make the intention (niyyah) to perform Umrah and recite the Talbiyah, which is a prayer that declares one’s submission to Allah.
It’s Sunnah to perform two Rakahs of Salah before entering into the state of Ihram. This can be performed after getting changed at the airport or in-flight before crossing the Miqat, provided there are prayer facilities on board. To complete two Rakahs Nafl for Ihram, observe the prayer.
When pilgrims performing the Hajj or Umrah come up at Allah’s residence wearing the same Ihram, all social and financial differences between them disappear, creating complete equality. When you travel for the Umrah or Hajj, you are unable to tell the rich from the needy. It’s also important to realize that entering Ihram imposes some limitations on you, which you should be aware of. Among them are the following:
- Men are not allowed to cut their nails or shave their beards.
- Men are not permitted to wear clothing that is woven or stitched. An Ihram is any completely white or black garment that covers a woman’s entire body, except her face and hands. Therefore, during the Umrah or Hajj, ladies are allowed to wear clothing with stitching.
- A woman’s hands and face should be the only parts of her body that are visible.
- All scent-producing products, such as perfumes, deodorants, aftershaves, and scented soaps, are inappropriate for wear by men or women. Unscented soaps will be given to you to use on the journey.
- It is not permissible for pilgrims to have sexual relations.
- It is not permissible for pilgrims to kill or cut down trees.
Niyyah for Umrah
Niyyah for Umrah is the intention in one’s heart to perform the act of worship for the sake of Allah. It is an essential prerequisite for entering the state of Ihram, which is a sacred state of purity and devotion. Niyyah for Umrah should be made before crossing one of the Meeqats, which are the designated stations for putting on the Ihram garments and declaring the intention. Niyyah does not need to be uttered verbally, but it can be made in one’s native language or Arabic.
Following are three examples of intentions that may be uttered in Arabic:
O Allah, here I am to perform Umrah
O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah
O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah, so accept it from me and make it easy for me
The Talbiyah is a special prayer that Muslims recite when they perform Hajj or Umrah. It is a way of expressing their devotion and submission to Allah, the only one worthy of worship. The Sunnah method of reciting the Talbiyah is to pause at four places, indicated by the dashes briefly. The prayer is as follows:
O Allah, I respond to Your call. I do respond. I respond to Your call. You have no partner. I do respond. Praise, blessings, and sovereignty are only Yours.
Step 2 – Tawaf
Tawaf is the circumambulation of the Kaaba that is performed by those who are doing Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca. It is one of the main rituals of Umrah in Islam and it involves walking around the Kaaba seven times in an anti-clockwise direction, starting and ending at the Black Stone. Tawaf is a way of expressing devotion to Allah and following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and his companions who performed Umrah before him. Tawaf also symbolizes the unity of the Muslim community and the submission to the will of Allah.
Before performing Tawaf, one should be in a state of ritual purity by performing ablution or bathing. One should also make the intention to perform Tawaf for the sake of Allah. Men should uncover their right shoulder by placing the upper part of their Ihram garment under their right armpit and over their left shoulder. This is called Idtiba. Men should also walk briskly with short steps in the first three rounds of Tawaf. This is called Raml. Women should cover their whole body except their face and hands, and walk at a normal pace. During Tawaf Al-Umrah, one should recite Takbir, Tahlil, Tasbih, and other supplications based on the Sunnah of the Prophet.
After completing Tawaf, one should pray two units of voluntary prayer behind the Station of Ibrahim, or anywhere in the mosque if it is crowded. Then, one should kiss or touch the Black Stone again, or point to it if it is not possible. This marks the end of Tawaf. The next ritual of Umrah is Sa’i, which is walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times.
Step 3 – Sa’ee
Sa’ee is a ritual that involves walking or running between the hills of Safa and Marwa, which are located near the Kaaba in Makkah. Sa’ee is derived from the Arabic word Sa’a, which means to strive or to pursue. It is performed after completing the Tawaf, which involves circumambulating the Kaaba. Sa’ee consists of seven rounds, starting from Safa and ending at Marwa. Each round is about 450 meters long, making the total distance of Sa’ee about 3.15 kilometers. Sa’ee commemorates the story of Hajar, the wife of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), who searched for water for her son Ismail (peace be upon him) in the desert. Allah rewarded her patience and trust by making a spring of water, known as Zamzam, gush out from beneath Ismail’s feet. Sa’i is a symbol of perseverance, faith, and gratitude to Allah.
If you want to read more about Zamzam Water then click on the given link: Zamzam Water: Its History, Significance and Benefits for Muslims
Step 4 – Halq or Taqsir
This is the act of cutting or shaving one’s hair, which symbolizes the completion of Umrah and the removal of worldly sins. Men should shave their heads or trim their hair, while women should cut a fingertip-length of their hair. One should also make dua and thank Allah for enabling them to perform Umrah.
These are the basic steps of performing Umrah in Islam, which can be done in a few hours or days depending on one’s pace and preference. Umrah is a rewarding and spiritual journey that brings one closer to Allah and cleanses one’s soul. May Allah accept our Umrah and grant us His mercy and forgiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions about Umrah
What is the difference between Umrah and Hajj?
The main difference between Hajj and Umrah is that Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and can only be performed at a specific time of the year, while Umrah is a short pilgrimage which is not compulsory and can be performed at any time of the year.
People can perform Umrah throughout the year, but Hajj can only be done during a specific period, from the 8th to the 13th of Dhul Hijah, the last month in the Islamic lunar calendar.
Umrah in Islam serves as a spiritual “quick fix,” and depending on how busy it is, people can complete it in less than two hours. Over several days, the Hajj is a more intensive occasion.
With approximately two million pilgrims from about 188 nations participating in the Hajj each year, it is one of the largest yearly gatherings of people in the world. Several million pilgrims probably perform the Umrah, also referred to as the “smaller” pilgrimage, annually because it is cheaper and takes less time to complete.
The Kaaba, a black-boxed structure located in the expansive Masjid al-Haraam mosque complex in Mecca, serves as the focal focus of both pilgrimages. Regardless of where they are in the world, Muslims face the Kaaba when they perform their five daily prayers.
How Long is Umrah
The duration of Umrah depends on several factors, such as the number of pilgrims, the time of the year, the day of the week, and the time of the day. However, generally speaking, people can complete Umrah in 4 to 5 hours, as it involves only four rituals. Some pilgrims may choose to stay longer in Makkah and Madinah to visit other sacred sites and perform optional prayers. Seven days is the minimum day package allowed for Umrah, and it usually consists of three days in Madinah and four days in Makkah.
Umrah is an optional but significant Islamic pilgrimage according to Islam. It involves seeking Allah’s blessings, forgiveness, and spiritual renewal. Muslims can perform it throughout the year, providing a means for them to express their devotion, cleanse their souls, and unite with the Muslim community in worship around the Kaaba in Mecca. The pilgrimage consists of specific rituals, including entering the state of Ihram, performing Tawaf, conducting Sa’i, and concluding with the symbolic act of shaving or trimming one’s hair. Ultimately, It is a deeply spiritual and rewarding journey that brings Muslims closer to their faith and seeks Allah’s mercy and forgiveness.