Umrah (Arabic: عمرة), sometimes referred to as the ‘lesser’ or ‘minor’ pilgrimage, consists of carrying out a set of rites in the precinct of Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. It consists of four essential practices and can be carried out at any time of the year.
1. Meaning of Umrah
2. Obligation of Umrah
3. Virtues of Umrah
4. Types of Umrah
5. Conditions of Umrah
6. Time for Umrah
7. Summary of Umrah
Linguistically, Umrah means to visit a particular place. In terms of Shariah, Umrah comprises of passing the Miqat in the state of Ihram, performing Tawaf of the Kaaba, doing Sa’i of Safa and Marwa and carrying out Halq (shaving) or Taqsir (shortening) of the hair.
Umrah can be performed throughout the year, although it is disliked to carry out the pilgrimage during the days of Hajj which take place between the 9th and 13th of Dhul Hijjah. The rites carried out during Umrah also form an integral part of Hajj itself.
The Prophet ﷺ performed Umrah four times during his life. There is a difference of opinion among the four Sunni schools of thought as to whether performing Umrah at least once in a person’s lifetime is compulsory or not.
According to the Hanafi and Maliki schools of thought, Umrah is not Fardh (obligatory), but is considered a Sunnah Mu’akkadah (emphasised Sunnah). On the other hand, the performance of Umrah is considered Fardh according to the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, just like Hajj.
Although Umrah isn’t an obligation for those who follow the Hanafi and Maliki schools of thought, there is still tremendous benefit and blessing in its performance as mentioned in the following Hadiths:
Abu Hurairah I narrates:
“Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘(The performance of) Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing except Paradise.’
[Narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari]
Abdullah ibn Abbas I said:
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Perform Hajj and Umrah consecutively; for they remove poverty and sin as the furnace removes impurity from iron.’
[Narrated in Sunan al-Nasa’i]
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah I that 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.
[Narrated in Sunan Ibn Majah]
There are two types of Umrah:
There are a number of conditions that need to be met in order to perform Umrah. These conditions are exactly the same as those for performing Hajj:
Legally, there is no specified time during which Umrah must be performed; it can be performed throughout the year. However, it should not be performed during the days of Hajj.
Although there isn’t a specified time, performing Umrah during Ramadan is deemed very virtuous, as indicated by Abdullah ibn Abbas I who said:
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to a woman from among the Ansar: ‘When it is Ramadan, perform Umrah then, for Umrah during it is equivalent to Hajj.’
[Narrated in Sunan an-Nasa’i]
Below is a brief overview of the rites of Umrah. Refer to the article above for an in depth look at how to perform Umrah.
Sa’i of Safa and Marwah
Halq or Taqsir
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