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What is Umrah?
Muslims around the world visit the Holy Kaaba to perform Umrah. There are many guides towards Hajj and its significance, yet Umrah is something that has not been given its due importance on electronic media. Thereby the purpose of the article is to throw light on each and every aspect of Umrah.
Umrah is an Islamic ritual that holds a significant place in Islam. The word Umrah is an Arabic word which means a visit, however, in Islamic terminology, the word is used to refer to the Islamic practice of visiting the Holy Kaaba. Umrah is a set of activities which include the Tawaf and the Sayee between Mount Safa and Marwah. The one who performs Umrah has to enter into the state of Ihram and has to cut or shave hair while leaving the Ihram.
Is Umrah different from Hajj?
Hajj is one of a pillar of Islam while Umrah is an appreciated ritual. Hajj can be performed once a year while Umrah can be performed around the year. During Hajj the Muslim has to stone the pillars of Jamarat, visit Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, offer an animal sacrifice yet none of these is to be done by the Muslim who is performing Umrah.
What are the fard acts of Umrah?
There are 4 Fard and 3 Sunnah acts of performing an Umrah. If you miss any of the Fard act of performing Umrah, your Umrah is not performed. In fact, you would be penalized for that if you have done it without any excuse.
How do we perform Umrah?
1)Enter into the state of Ihram
One needs to reach Meeqat in order to enter the state of Ihram. Ihram is a set of 2 white sheets that is the dress of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. It is better to take a bath before entering Ihram, however there is no compulsion to it. Men cannot place perfume on his ihram yet can perfume his bread and head.
The first sheet of Ihram is known as Izaar which covers lower part of body while the second sheet known as Ridaa covers upper body. Men cannot wear anything like undergarments, hat, turbans or so. Once you have enter the state of Ihram and make an intention to perform Umrah, you should recite Talbiya as much as you can. لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لاَ شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ لاَشَرِيْكَ لَكَ
You don’t need to recite the above mentioned Talbiyah once you reach the Holy Kaaba. You need to make Tawaf around the Kaaba for 7 times. You can make an effort to reach the black stone and kiss it. When you reach the stone, recite: “Bismil-laah, Allah o Akbar, Allah o Akbar”.
If not possible to touch and kiss the stone, don’t panic. You can point towards it and recite the above mentioned lines. Do not cause harm to others and yourself in effort of touching the stone. When you reach the Yamaani corner of the Holy Kaaba, you shall touch it with the right hand (if possible) yet do not kiss it.
Al-Idhtibah means to place the Redaa of ihram from the middle towards the under of right arm and placing its end on the left shoulder. This shall be done only during tawaf. Ar-Raml: During the first three tawafs one shall speed up the pace of walking by talking small and speedy steps. Recite duas and verses from Quran during tawaf, there is no limitation to what shall be recited during tawaf yet according to some authentic sources one shall recite the verses (2;201) of Holy Quran when are circulating among the two corners.
3) Wajib al Tawaf Nafal
Once you are done with the Tawaf, you need to offer 2 rakah of Nafal behind the Maqam-e-Ibrahim. These 2 Nafal are the Wajib acts of Tawaf and one has to perform it with every Tawaf. In the first rakha recite Surah Al-Kafiron while in second Surah Al-Ikhlas. The management of Masjid al-Haram has allocated a special place for pilgrims to offer Wajib al Tawaf nafal.
In the next step to perform Umrah, you need to perform the act of Saee i.e. going from Safa to Marwa and Marwa to Safa for 7 times. When you walk from Safa to Marwa, it is counted one and the walk from Marwa to Safa is counted the second. In this way, you will start your Saee from Safa mount and end it at Marwa mountain.
Performing the Qasr or cutting your hair. Qasr for men and women are different. Men need to shave their head or cut their hair from the entire head while female have to clip their hair from the bottom. If you have missed one of the rituals of performing Umrah, you need to offer a sacrifice which is called Damm or Fidya.