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Introduction to Umrah
Umrah is an Islamic ritual and encouraged Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) composing of four compulsory pillars: Ihram, Tawaaf, Sa’ee and the shaving and/or cutting of the hair.
For any act of worship to be accepted, two conditions must be met: sincerity towards Allah alone and acting in accordance to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Umrah can be performed at any time of the year (although Umrah visas are issued from Rabi al-Awwal to Ramadan only) and usually takes about 3 hours to perform under normal circumstances. During the low season (i.e., other than Ramadan and Hajj) Makkah and Madinah are relatively quiet, allowing you to carry out your worship in a relaxed manner. Umrah during Ramadan is an extra special experience, as there is a unique atmosphere in the haramayn, particularly at iftar time and during salaat al taraweeh and qiyamal layl prayers.
Reward of Umrah
The rewards and virtues of performing umrah are many; the Prophet (SAW) mentioned in a hadith: “Between one Umrah and another is an expiation of sins” (Sunan an Nasa’i)
Performing Umrah in the month of Ramadan has a special significance, the Prophet (SAW) said:“Whoever performs Umrah in Ramadan, receives the reward like one who performs Hajj with me” (Sunan an Nasa’i)
Before assuming Ihram it is recommended to carry out the following acts: cutting the nails, removing unwanted hair, bathing, wudhu and trimming the moustache for the men.
Men are to wear:
· Clothes that have not been specifically made to fit the shape of the body. This normally consists of two white sheets; one is wrapped around the waist whilst the other is used to cover the top half of the body.
· Sandals or any other footwear may be worn that does not cover the ankle.
· It is not permissible to wear a hat or turban
· It is permissible for the men to apply perfume to their body before they make intention but not after.
Women are to wear:
- Women are allowed to wear their normal dress – with the exception of gloves and niqaab.
You may put on the clothing of Ihraam before you reach the meeqaat. For those people arriving by plane to Jeddah, the meeqat is passed shortly before landing 20-30 mins. It is important that one does not pass the meeqat without assuming ihraam.
Upon reaching the meeqat you make intention for Umrah by saying the following:
Niyah with a Stipulation
What to do if you fear some obstacles may prevent you from completing pilgrimage? At the time of entering the state of Ihram, if you fear that your illness or any other reasons [e.g. an enemy or being stopped from proceeding any further, etc] may obstruct their ‘‘Umrah performance, then you can recite a clause of stipulation (Ishtirat) to Allah by saying:
It is preferable for men to say the Talbiyyah in a loud voice and women to say quietly from this point onwards.
Talbiyyah is to be stopped when you see the Masjid al Haram.
Prohibitions during Ihram
As soon as you have made intention for Umrah, the below restrictions will apply until completion of Umrah
- Removal of hair, cutting the nails
- Cutting trees and tearing leaves, hunting game
- Using perfume after entering Ihram
- Marital relations and anything that stimulates desire
- Getting married or proposing marriage
- For men – wearing stitched o fitted garments
- For women – covering the face and hands
Entering the Masjid al Haram
It is permissible to rest, eat and freshen up before performing the Umrah.
It is Sunnah to enter any mosque with the right foot first saying the following:
Upon seeing the Ka ‘bah you may raise your hands and make any supplication.
Exiting the Masjid al Haram
It is Sunnah to exit a mosque with the left foot first saying the following:
Performing the Tawaaf
One must be in a state of wudoo while performing tawaaf.
During the tawaaf the man wears his ihraam under his right arm pit and over the left shoulder (with the right shoulder bare). The man completes the first three circuits walking quickly with boldness (but not running).
Starting at the black stone and say while face it:
Then touch the Black Stone with your hand, kiss it and make sajdah upon it. If however this is not possible then touch it with your hand and kiss your hand. If even this is not possible then just point towards it with your right hand only (not kissing your hand) – this is to be done at the beginning of each circuit of tawaaf. Thus you begin your tawaaf at the Black Stone, circling the ka ‘bah, with the ka ‘bah on your left. Each time you reach the Black Stone to begin your next circuit repeat the same as before. Seven circuits are to be completed.
Each time one passes the Yemeni corner of the ka’bah (this is the corner before the corner of the Black Stone) it is preferable to touch it with ones hand, if this is not possible due to the crowds then one is not to point towards it.
The following supplication should be recited between the Yemeni corner and the Black Stone:
There are no particular du ‘aas (supplications) [apart from what is mentioned above] to be recited during tawaaf- therefore one may recite the Qur’aan, or supplicate with any other du’aa from the sunnah or from ones heart in any language.
After the Tawaaf
After the tawaaf one should cover both of his shoulders and proceed to the Station of Ibraaheem (Maqaam Ibraaheem) and recite: Now proceed towards the Maqaam Ibraheem reciting the following verse:
One should offer a two rak ‘aat prayer with the Station of Ibraaheem between oneself and the ka ‘bah. It is preferable to recite Soorah Kaafiroon in the first rak’ah and Soorah Ikhlaas in the second rak’ah.
Next proceed to Zam-Zam and drink the water of zam-zam facing the Ka’bah and one should also pour it over ones head.
Return to the black stone and touch it saying: Allahu Akbar – Allah is the greatest. If this is not possible due to the crowds it may be left out.
Sa’ee is the running between the two hills. Starting from mount Safa you go to mount Marwa. You walk back from Marwa to Safa, then Safa to Marwa, then Marwa to Safa, totaling 7 circuits, finishing at Marwa. There are no particular supplications to be recited between Safa and Marwa.
Upon starting at Safa the following should be recited:
Then one is to climb unto Safa until the ka ‘bah is visible. Facing the Qiblah the following is to be said 3 times, and between each time one is to make one’s own supplication (in any language):
Raising your hands, you may make the above supplications three times. You may also add your own supplications in between these three times.
Then descend and go towards Marwa, running between the flourescent green lights, upon reaching Marwa one is to climb upon it and make duaa. This is your first circuit finished. Then go back to safa, and repeat the abovementioned duaas. This is your second circuit finished. Do this until you finish round seven at Marwa. Make your final duaa facing the Ka’bah for as long as you like.
Men go to the barbers and shorten, or shave their heads. Women go back to the hotel and get their mahram to snip a fingertips length off their hair length.
After the cutting of the hair, your Umrah rites are fully complete. All restrictions are lifted and you are out of Ihram.
May Allah accept your Umrah.