Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage that holds great significance in the eyes of Allah Ta’ala. It is a convenient way for Muslims to seek pardon, renew their faith, and make a request for assistance. Whoever does it is said to be cleansed of their sins. Unlike Hajj, it is also not obligatory and is short and simple to perform. In fact, depending on how busy you are, this quick spiritual fix can be finished in as little as two hours. However, in order to complete Umrah effectively, you must repeat a set of practices that our beloved Prophet(PBUH) undertook beforehand. This comprehensive guide outlines all the necessary information about Umrah including the rituals, rules, and benefits. Give it a read!
How to perform Umrah
Umrah is based on the teachings of Mohammad (PBUH) and can be performed any time of the year. The four main pillars of Umrah that one should be aware of are as follows:
- Enter Ihram and Chant Your Willingness
- Do the Tawaf properly
- Perform Sa’ee
- Consider Halq or Taqseer
Enter Ihram and Chant Your Willingness
First, Rinse your body and enter the state of Ihram (purity and dedication). For men, this entails wrapping one white sheet-like cloth around the shoulder and the other around your waist. Ladies, however, are free to wear whatever they choose, as long as they follow the hijab requirements. Note that face coverings are prohibited for both genders. Also, shoes that cover the entire foot are disallowed. Both men and women must wear sandals as their footwear.
As you travel towards the Kaaba, recite the Talbiya, announcing your arrival and declaring God’s oneness, as did Islam’s beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Say the following:
“Labbayka llāhumma labbayk(a), labbayka lā sharīka laka labbayk(a), inna l-ḥamda wa n-ni’mata, laka wa l-mulk(a), lā sharīka lak.”
Enter Masjid al-Haraam, the mosque complex that houses the Kaaba, with your right foot and make a supplication to Allah, seeking mercy and forgiveness. And say:
“In the name of Allah, may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah. Oh Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your mercy. I seek refuge in Allah the Almighty and in His Eminent Face and in His Eternal Dominion from the accursed Satan.”
Do the Tawaf Properly
Then, in sincere devotion, circumambulate the Kaaba seven times in an anti-clockwise manner. It should begin at the eastern end of the Kaaba, where the Black Stone, which is highly treasured by Muslims, is located.
If at all feasible, kiss or make a gesture towards the stone. If not, simply touch it with your right hand and commence circumambulation while saying du’aa with the holy Kaaba on your left. It is preferable not to push and shove anyone in the crowd, as causing injury to others is a forbidden act. Also, when the place is fully packed, pointing to the Hajar al-Aswad with a stick while saying the Takbeer and kissing the stick will also suffice.
In any case, don’t forget to recite your Adhkars while kissing or touching the Hajar al – Aswad. Say the following:
“In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest. Oh, Allah, with faith in you, belief in Your book, loyalty to you, compliance to the way of your Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).”
During the first three circumambulations, you (men only) must make Ramal. Raml is a practice that involves fast walking, elevating the knees with force, and pushing out the chest while moving the shoulders. Also, each time you pass the Black Stone, you should say:
“Allah is the Greatest.”
Then, between the al Rukn al Yamani and the Black Stone, simply walk at a normal speed to finish the remaining four circumambulations.
The final circumambulation begins where the first one ended which ensures that you completed all seven circles without advancing or falling behind a single step or more.
The state of Tawaf comes to an end with the seventh round of circumambulation and the performance of Istilam. At this point, men must wrap their shoulders with the upper portion of the Ihram sheet.
After this, you should approach Maqam Ibrahim and recite:
“And take ye the station of Abraham as a place of Prayer”.
Moreover, pray two short Rakaas in front of Maqam Ibrahim, as close as feasible. Surah Al-Kafirun must be recited during the first Rakaa, and Surah Al-lkhlas during the second.
Upon completing performing two short rak’aa’s, drink the holy Zamzam water from the Well of Zamzam in the basement of the Sacred Mosque while supplicating to Allah, and then go to the Multazam, a part of the holy Kaaba between the Black Stone and the Kaaba’s entryway, to make du’aa.
You must proceed to “Masa” after finishing the tawaf prayer at Maqam Ibrahim. Masa is the space between the mountains of Safa and Marwa and it is about 1/4 mile. This ritual is usually performed to commemorate mother Bibi Hajra’s undying love for her thirsty son Ismail.
Doing Istilam of Hajra e Aswad for the ninth time is principally the first step before beginning Sa’ee. After this, you must proceed to Safa Hill. Safa is the place from where the Holy Kabaah can be seen. Climb the hill, face the direction of the Kaaba and raise your hands in supplication. Make Niyyah for Sa’ee by reciting the following:
“Inn-as-Safa wal Marwah min Sha’a’irillah”
After doing this act, come down from Safa hill and begin walking towards Marwah, chanting the above-mentioned prayer or third Karma.
While performing Sa’ee, make sure you complete the seven rounds between Safa and Marwah. Men must run, though ladies can walk at their own pace. And as the Sa’ee area is around 0.5 kilometers, the seven rounds are approximately 3.5 kilometers. Each round generally takes about 5 minutes.
After the first round is completed, repeat the process such that your second round ends in Safa and your third round ends in Marwah, and so on for the next seven rounds.
It is recommended to conduct two rakats of Nafil Shukrana at the end of Sa’ee but it is not compulsory. The sacred ceremony of Sa’ee in Umrah comes to a finish here.
Halq or Taqseer
This is Umrah’s fourth and final phase. Men must shave their tops and women must clip their hair to the length of a fingertip in order to contribute. This step represents one’s total submission to Allah and isolation from outward appearance.
Note: Head Shaving is preferred unless Hajj is approaching and there isn’t enough time for hair to regrow. It’s advisable to clip in this scenario so that hair can be shaved for Hajj.
As your Umrah has been completed with all of your duties and responsibilities, all of Irham’s rules on pilgrim behavior are abolished. However, If you want to conduct another Umrah, return to the Haram’s boundary and enter Ihram once more. Generally, people chose Masjid Aisha as their Ihram destination since it is the closest and most accessible to Masjid al-Haram.
Benefits of Performing Umrah
Each year, millions of people undertake the spiritual journey to Makkah to perform Umrah. Those who do it with a genuine intention receive great rewards and benefits. Some of the noteworthy advantages of performing Umrah include:
- The first and greatest benefit of conducting Umrah is that you will be welcomed as guests of Allah Almighty, the King of All Kingdoms.
- When you carry out Umrah with sincere and pure intents solely for Allah Almighty’s benefit and complete all of the Umrah rituals correctly, you are undoubtedly brought closer to Allah SWT and your Eman strengthens.
- Umrah will provide you an opportunity to get forgiveness and benefits in exchange for your mortal sins. With that, you can cleanse your body and spirit of the burden of past trespasses with that.
- Your body will lighten as your soul lightens. In other words, umrah can help you overcome physical problems.
- Umrah is a means of poverty alleviation as well. Allah SWT provides you with wealth because you spend your money to honor your Lord.
Umrah is a visit to Allah SWT’s House or, to put it another way, a condensed and simplified version of the annual Hajj gathering. Its main objective is to show devotion to Allah and demonstrate unity among the worshippers. However, you must acquire a spiritual state of near-human perfection while performing it. Furthermore, there should be no bickering, cursing, or profanity. May Allah fulfill your every prayer and desire during Umrah!