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What is Umrah?

All praise is for Allah and salutations and peace be upon his Messenger ﷺ.

There is no doubt in the fact that a believer in this worldly life performs several deeds in the hope of achieving the pleasure of Allah and gaining his reward and among them is the performance of Haj and Umrah.

Significance of Umrah

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ‘Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur is nothing but Jannah.”[Al-Bukhari: 1773, Muslim: 3355].”

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The pilgrims performing Hajj and ‘Umrah are a delegation to Allah. If they call upon Him, He will answer them; and if they ask for His forgiveness, He will forgive them.” (Ibn Majah: Book of Manasik 2892)

The above narrations highlight the importance of Haj and Umrah and a believer must strive to the best of his abilities in achieving their virtues.

Arkaan (Pillars) of Umrah

There are three pillars of Umarh

  1. Niyyah: that is to make intention for performing Umrah after putting on the Ihram garments by saying “Allahumma Labbayk Umratan”
  2. Tawaf of Kaabah
  3. Saee between Safa and Marwa
Wajibaat (Obligatory Acts) of Umrah

There are 2 obligatory acts in Umrah

  1. Wearing Ihram from the Miqat
  2. Shaving the head or trimming the hair. (Shaving is better)
How to put on the Ihram

It is recommended for one who intends to perform Haj or Umrah to perform Ghusl (bathing) before putting on the Ihram at the Miqat or before it. After Ghusl, Men are recommended to perfume themselves (but not over the Ihram garments) with whatever fragrance might be available to them. Ihram for men comprises of two pieces of unstitched white clothing, whereas, women may wear whatever they wish of their daily Islamic clothing while intending to perform Haj or Umrah.

In contrast to the perception of many Muslims, there is no special prayer to be offered for making intention for Umrah or after wearing the Ihram that is found in the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. However, one may offer 2 rakahs oh Tahiyyatul Wudhu (voluntary prayer after ablution) if he wishes. To make Niyyah (intention) for Umrah the pilgrim has to say, “Allahumma Labbaik Umratan” (Here I am O Allah for umrah). If the pilgrim intends to perform Umrah on someone else’s behalf he has to say, Allahumma Labbaik Umratan An followed by the name of that person. Thereafter the pilgrim should persist in reciting the Talbiyah which is “Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka lak” (Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. Here I am, you have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, you have no partner). Men are advised to raise their voices while reciting Talbiyah while women should read in a soft tone.

If the pilgrim fears that some obstacle migh prevent him from completing Umrah he should say the following while making his niyyah, “Allahumma Mahallee Haisu Habisatni” (O Allah, if something prevents me from continuing, I will exit ihram from the point where I am prevented). Then if he is unable to complete his Umrah due to some reason, he can exit the sate of Ihram and there will be no compensatory sacrifice binding upon him.

Prohibitions during Ihram

The acts which are prohibited during the state of Ihram can be classified into 3 kinds: –

a. Those acts that are forbidden only for men:

  1. Covering the face or head with any form of headgear for example a cap or a turban
  2. Wearing any stitched piece of clothing like vest or undergarments. However, stitched belts or watches may be worn.

b. Those acts that are forbidden for both men and women:

  1. Trimming, shaving or removing of the hair from any part of the body without any valid reason.
  2. Cutting the nails without a valid reason
  3. Applying perfume on oneself or over the Ihram garments.
  4. Hunting prey or assisting or cooperating in it.
  5. Marrying, sending a proposal or arranging a marriage for oneself or another.
  6. Having intimacy or intercourse with ones’ spouse.

c. Those acts that are forbidden only for women:

  1. Wearing a Niqab or a Nose piece. (However, women are supposed to cover their faces in the presence of non-mahram men with part of their headcover.
  2. Wearing gloves
  • A pilgrim must enter Masjid Al Haram with his right foot first and read the following dua, “Aoozu Billahil Azeemi Wa Bi Wajhihil Kareemi Wa Sultanihil Qadeemi Minash Shaitanir Rajeemi Allahumma Aftahlee Abwaba Rahmatika”
  • If it is not the time of a fard prayer, the first thing the pilgrim has to do after entering the haram is perform tawaf, not offer Tahiyyatul masjid.
  • Wuzu (ablution) is an obligation for Tawaf. Therefore, a pilgrim must perfect his wuzu before performing tawaf.
  • Before beginning Tawaf, the pilgrim has to perform Idhtibaa (uncover the right shoulder). The right shoulder must be uncovered throughout the Tawaf. Tawaf begins from Hajar al Aswad (Black Stone). The pilgrim should touch the Stone with his right hand and kiss it; if he cannot kiss it then he should touch it with his hand and kiss his hand. If he cannot touch it with his hand then he should face the Stone and point to it with his hand and say “Bismillahi Allaahu akbar”, but he should not kiss his hand. Then, he should begin the Tawaf and perform seven circuits with every circuit starting and ending at the Black Stone.
  • In the first three circuits, it is sunnah for men to do Raml (walking quickly with short steps).
  • There is no specific dua for each circuit of Tawaf. Therefore, one may say whatever he likes of dhikr (remembering Allah) and dua or recite the Quran.
  • Between the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone, he should say, “Rabbanaa aatina fi’l-dunya hasanah wa fi’l-aakhirah hasanah wa qinna ‘adhaab al-Naar (Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter, that which is best, and save us from the torment of the Fire).”
  • After completing seven circuits of Tawaf he must offer two Rakats (units) of voluntary prayer behind the Maqam-e-Ibrahim if it that is possible. Otherwise, he may offer anywhere else in the haram. (remember to cover your right shoulder after Tawaf)
  • In the first rak’ah after reciting Surat al-Faatihah he should recite Surat al-Kaafiroon and in the second Qul Huwa Allaahu ahad (Soorat al-Ikhlaas 112) as this was the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. If one has not memorized these surahs, he may recite any other surah he may have learned.
Saee between Safa and Marwah
  • Then he should go out to the Mas’aa (place for saa’i) and when he comes near to al-Safa’ he should recite “inna As-Safa wal Marwata min Sha’aairillah Faman Hajjal Baita Awi’tamara Fala Junaha Alaihi An Yattawwafa Bihima Wa Amn Tatawwa’a Kahiran Fa Innal Laha Shakirun Aleem” (Al Baqarah:158). And he should say: “Nabda’u bima bada’a Allahu bihi”. This is the supplication that is to be recited only once before the start of Saee
  • Then he should climb al-Safa and face the Ka’bah while raising his hands in supplication and say “Allahu Akbar” three times and three times “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk, wa lahu’l-hamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer. Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdah, anjaza wa’dah, wa nasara ‘abdah, wa hazamaa al-ahzaaba wahdah” Then he may make any dua for himself.
  • Then he should start walking towards Marwah. It is sunnah for men to run between the green markers present between Safa and Marwah. However, they shouldn’t cause any inconvenience or trouble to anyone else in doing so.
  • On reaching Marwah, he should read the same dua 3 times that was read at Safa. (“Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu ….”)
  • Safa to Marwah counts as the first lap and from Marwah back to Safa counts as the second lap. In this way the pilgrim must complete seven laps with the last lap finishing at Marwah.
  • There is no specific dua to be recited during Sa’ee. Therefore, one may say whatever he likes of dhikr (remembering Allah) and dua or recite the Quran.
  • There is no harm in performing Saee from the upper floors in the Haram. The pilgrim may even rest for a while during Saee if he gets tired. There is no Salah to be offered on the completion of Sa’ee. One may even speak or converse with someone during Sa’ee.
Shaving the head or cutting the hair
  • After completing Sa’ee the pilgrim must either shave his head or trim his hair.
  • Shaving is better than cutting because the Prophet ﷺ made dua three times for those who shaved their heads and once for those who cut their hair.
  • Women should cut the length of a fingertip from their hair.
  • All the restrictions of Ihram are now lifted from the pilgrim and he can now exit Ihram and his Umrah is complete.

It is Sunnah to perform Tawaf Al Wida when leaving Makkah after umrah but it is not Wajib (compulsory) unlike Haj.

May Allah accept your Umrah and make it a cause of success. Ameen!

Note: Common mistakes committed by pilgrims which one needs to abstain from as they are against the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ.

  • Along with shaving the head, trimming or shaving the beard after Umrah
  • Only cutting some hair from a part of the head and believing that this suffices the obligation of trimming the hair after Umrah.
  • Performing Tawaf on behalf of someone else.
  • Performing Umrah from Masjid Al Aishah
  • Keeping a count of ones Tawaf, recitation of the Quran or other acts of worship and then showing it off to others.

May Allah help us and all Muslims in executing our Haj and Umrah and all other deeds in the light of Quran and Sunnah.

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