Umrah is a Muslim pilgrimage and, in short, an act of worship of Allah (SWT). It is based on the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his Sunnah. The pilgrimage to the shrine is a visit to the House of Allah (SWT) and can be performed at any time of the year. It is known as the ‘holy pilgrimage’ compared to the ‘holy pilgrimage’ of the Hajj. However, it holds great value and beauty in the eyes of Allah (SWT).
If you fly to Makkah, your Ihram will start on a plane outside Makkah. This will usually be an hour and a half before you enter Makkah, and you will be notified of the announcement. These places where Ihram originated are known as the Meeqats.
“O ALLAH! I intend to perform Umrah, please make it easy for me and accept it from me”
(In the name of ALLAH, I place my trust in ALLAH, and there is no might nor power except with ALLAH)
(In the name of ALLAH! O ALLAH! Exalt the mention of your Messenger. O ALLAH! Forgive my sins, and open the gates of Your mercy for me).
(ALLAH is the Greatest, ALLAH is the Greatest, there is no God, but ALLAH, ALLAH is the Greatest, ALLAH is the Greatest, to Him belongs all Praise.)
• Do not fight or quarrel with others.
• Do not panic, speak in a sinful way, or use bad language.
• Do not use perfumes. This includes scented soaps, shampoos, detergents, lotions etc.
• Do not cut, straighten or remove any hair or nails. (Broken nails can be removed).
• Do not engage in any sexual activity.
• Do not kill, hunt or help others by hunting any animals.
• Do not marry, suggest or help others get married.
The pilgrim must then enter Masjid al-Haram, and that too with his/her right foot and recite:
“Bismillaah wa’l-salaatu wa’l-salaam ‘ala Rasool-Allaah. Allaahumma ighfir li dhunoobi waftah li abwaab rahmatika. A’oodhu Billaah il-‘Azeem wa bi wajhih il-kareem wa bi sultaanih il-‘qadeem min al-Shaytaan il-rajeem”
(In the name of Allah, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the gates of Your mercy. I seek refuge with Allah the Almighty and in His noble Countenance and His eternal power from the accursed Satan).”
Before starting Tawaf:
• You must have wudu. (Menstruating women cannot perform Tawaf).
Men should wear their Ihram so that the right shoulder is naked. This is known as Idtiba’a. Men should also cover their shoulders after their Tawaf is over (i.e. after seven tawaf).
The pilgrim can then touch the Black Stone (Hajr e Aswad) and start the Tawaaf. Ideally, the traveler should touch it with his right hand and kiss it. If, however, he is unable to kiss directly, he may touch it with his hand and then kiss his hand. There is great goodness in touching the Black Stone. If he cannot even touch the stone with his hand, the traveler must point his hand toward the stone and say “Allahu Akbar”. Then the traveler begins the Tawaaf - around the Ka'bah, the Ka'bah to the left. One should be careful not to touch the cloth of the Ka'bah during Tawaaf as it smells good and touching it may give off some fragrance to you and make the state of Ihram useless.
Men should keep the right shoulder open during Tawaaf, known as Idtibaa. This is done by placing the Ridaa under the right armpit and lifting it to the left shoulder. In addition, men should practice 'raml' in the first three rounds of Tawaaf, which move faster while taking smaller steps. In all other cycles, they may be able to move in their normal position.
• Do not enter Hateem. If you do it on Hateem, that particular tawaf does not count, so you will have to repeat it.
• For the first three tawafs, men should only run a little. This is called Ramal.
• Women should walk normally for all seven tawaf. Men should go normally for the last four tawaf
What to do in Maqam Ibrahim?
• After completing Tawaf, go towards Maqam Ibrahim repeating the above ayah.
• Stand so that Maqam Ibrahim is between you and the Ka’bah. Do not try to stand in front of it - it will be too tight. Anywhere in Al-Masjid Al-Haram is fine, as long as the Maqam is between you and the Ka'bah.
• Pray for two rakats. It is recommended to repeat Surah Kafiroon in the first rakat and Surah Ikhlas in the second rakat (after Surah Fatihah, of course).
• Go to any water source in Zamzam.
• Drink Zamzam water while standing. Pouring water on your head is also recommended.
• Recite this du’a while drinking Zamzam.
• Now you need to leave Al-Masjid Al-Haram and go to Sa’ee - so repeat the du’a by leaving the masjid.
While this may seem like a lot to remember, the steps are actually easy once you have memorized them. Summary - previously, you entered the region of Ihram. Now you go around the Ka'bah seven times while performing du'a, praying two rakat and drinking Zamzam water.
How does Sa'ee do?
• It is recommended to have wudu, but it is not obligatory. Menstruating women should do Sa'ee.
• When you go to Sa’ee, you may read this ayah about Safa and Marwah.
• Start Sa’ee in Safa.
• You should make seven rounds between the Safa hills and Marwah. From Safa to Marwa counts one round, and Marwah goes to Safa for another round.
• Only men should run part of the road. This area is clearly marked with green tubelights.
And that's it! Sa'ee is finished after seven rounds, so you will end up at Marwah. You have now completed the first part of the Hajj, such as ‘Umrah. When you perform Hajj Tamattu ’(which most pilgrims do) it is time to complete your Ihram.
Finally, after the seven circuits have been completed, the traveler needs to cut his hair. Men need to shave their heads or cut their hair all over their heads evenly. Women need to cut their hair to the size of their finger.
With this last act, the pilgrim officially ends his Umrah.
Hopefully, this article will be helpful to those who are planning to perform Umrah soon. May Allah (SWT) accept your duas and good deeds. Ameen!
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