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What is Umrah and How Do You Perform It?

What is Umrah and How Do You Perform It?

It’s the duty of every Muslim to do all they can to improve themselves and please Allah (SWT). This form of self-improvement and submission to the Creator can come in the form of Umrah, but what exactly is this, and how do you go about performing it? 

What is Umrah in Islam? 

The Umrah meaning is typically referred to as the “lesser” or “minor” pilgrimage, and it’s an act of worship undertaken by Muslims. Umrah requires Muslims to travel to the holy city of Makkah, where the exalted Ka’aba can be found. This is essentially the centre of the faith and the focal point of worship. 

Ultimately, the journey of Umrah is sacred, and it boasts great significance in the lives of Muslims everywhere. It’s a treasured Sunnah that provides an individual with the unique opportunity to refresh their faith and cleanse their soul. On this journey, Muslims strive to obtain forgiveness, recite sincere dua, and ultimately strengthen their bond with Allah (SWT).

How to Perform Umrah 

The Umrah guidelines state that Pilgrims must make their intention and enter into Ihram. Ihram is a sacred state that Muslims must assume during the rituals and events that are required of Umrah. If you’re wondering how to do Umrah, Muslims must follow specific cleansing rituals and dress correctly. As a result, the ceremonial clothing that’s worn during Umrah is sometimes called Ihram. The purpose of this clothing is to strip away all societal representations of wealth or social differences. 

After assuming Ihram, pilgrims enter the Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque of Mecca) and perform Tawaf - this is to walk the seven anti-clockwise circuits of the Ka’aba. Following this, Pilgrims perform two Rak’ah (the sequence of movements that are performed as part of prayer) at the Maqam Ibrahim (the small square stone with the footprints of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS)) and drink water from the Zamzam Well. 

Next, pilgrims are required to walk or run between Safa and Marwa for seven circuits, and this is known as Sa’i. Last but not least, men must shave their heads and women must cut their hair by the length of a fingertip to break the state of Ihram.

How Long Does Umrah Take? 

The entire ritual of Umrah can take anywhere from three to six hours. 

Duas for Umrah 

In order to keep safe, Muslims are encouraged to recite Dua during Umrah. Different duas apply to different parts of the journey: 

Dua for Travelling: 

Bismillah, tawakkaltu ‘alallah, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. 

“I begin with the Name of Allah; I trust in Allah; there is no altering of conditions but by the Power of Allah.” 

Dua When Boarding a Vehicle: 

Bismillah, walhamdulillah. Subhanal-ladzi sakh-khara lana hadza wa ma kunna lahu muqrinin. Wa inna ila Rabbina lamun-qalibun. 

“In the name of Allah, and all praise is for Allah. How perfect He is, the One Who has placed this (transport) at our service, and we ourselves would not have been capable of that. To our Lord, this is our final destiny.” 

Dua Upon Arrival: 

A’udzu bikalimatillahit-tammati min sharri ma khalaq. 

“I seek refuge in Allah’s perfect words from every evil (that has been created).” 

Talbiyah Dua (intention to start worship) for Hajj or Umrah: 

Labbayka Allāhumma labbayk. Labbayk lā shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-amda, wa n-‘imata, Laka wal mulk. Lā shareeka lak. 

“Here I am, O Allah, 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.” 

Dua for return: 

Ayibun, ta’ibun, ‘abidun, sajidun, lirabbina hamidun. 
“We return, repentant, worshipping, prostrating and praising our Lord.” 

The Difference Between Hajj and Umrah  

Although both Umrah and Hajj require a journey to the sacred sites of Makkah, there are multiple differences between the two: 

Obligation – Umrah is a voluntary pilgrimage and optional act of worship, whereas Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. As a result, every Muslim who is both physically and financially able must partake in Hajj at least once in their life, while this isn’t the case for Umrah. 

Time and duration – As previously mentioned, Umrah can last anywhere from three to six hours, and it can take place at any time of the year. In contrast, Hajj takes place from the 8th to the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah.

Rituals – Additional rituals are required of those partaking in Hajj. For instance, Hajj pilgrims need to spend time in Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, perform specific prayers and supplications, and stone the pillars representing Shaytaan (Rami). 

Keep the Spirit of Umrah Alive with Muslim Aid 

Umrah is all about becoming a better Muslim, and one way to do this is by sharing your wealth with those who need it most. In the spirit of Umrah, Muslim Aid invites you to make a donation today.

We are a faith-based British international charity that provides help to people who are victims of natural disasters or conflict or suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, injustice, deprivation or lack of skills and economic opportunities.

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