Umrah is a pilgrimage to Makkah that can be performed at any time of year, although many Muslims prefer it during Ramadan. It resembles Hajj on many levels and is often called “minor Hajj”. Actually, a pilgrim needs to perform Umrah before starting the rituals for Hajj.
Unlike Haj, which has to be undertaken at least once in a lifetime, Umrah is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended. It is an act of spiritual purity for a Muslim who wants to perform it to earn the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and a way to purify the mind and the soul and provides an inspiration of a lifetime.
Every good deed performed in his way is rewarded by Allah (SWT) and when a believer spends his time and wealth for His sake, He saves him from mishap and misery. The blessings of performing Umrah are immense.
The pilgrims performing Umrah also get a chance to visit Madinah- the city of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) and visit all the places related to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions including Mosque Quba, Masjid-e-Nabawi, and Jannat-ul-Baqi.
There are 2 types of Umrah depending on whether one wishes to combine Umrah with Hajj or not.
1. Umrah Al-Mufradah, which is independent of Hajj (can be performed throughout the year except on the days of Hajj).
2. Umrah Al-Tamattu, which is in conjunction with Hajj (performed only during the days of Hajj before the commencement of Hajj rituals ie. Before 8th Zul-Hijjah).
There are four important rites/acts of Umrah out of which two are Fardh (obligatory) and two Wajib (essential).
1. The Fardh acts in Umrah
• Intention / Niyyah – to assume Ihram at Miqat which is accomplished only after a person Talbiyah with the intention of Umrah.
• Perform Tawaf – seven rounds of the Sacred House (Holy Ka’bah).
2. The Wajib acts in Umrah
• Perform Sa’i between Safa and Marwah Hills
• Halq ie. Shaving the head or Qasr ie. Trimming/cutting the hair equally on all sides.
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