Saturday 3 February 2024

What is Umrah?

Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the holiest cities in Islam, and it is considered a highly recommended act of worship in Islam. While it is not obligatory like the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is mandatory for every able-bodied and financially capable Muslim at least once in their lifetime, Umrah holds significant spiritual value and can be performed at any time of the year.

Here are some key points about Umrah:

  1. Voluntary Pilgrimage: Umrah is a non-mandatory pilgrimage but holds great spiritual significance. It can be undertaken at any time of the year, unlike Hajj, which has specific dates during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah.

  2. Ihram: Like Hajj, the pilgrim undertaking Umrah enters a state of consecration known as "Ihram." During this state, certain actions and behaviors are restricted, such as cutting hair and nails, using perfumes, and engaging in marital relations.

  3. Tawaf: One of the essential rituals of Umrah is the Tawaf, which involves circumambulating the Kaaba, the cubic structure located at the center of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. Pilgrims walk around the Kaaba seven times in a counterclockwise direction.

  4. Sa'i: Pilgrims also perform Sa'i, which involves walking seven times back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah. This ritual commemorates the actions of Hagar, the wife of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), who searched for water for her son Ishmael.

  5. Halq (Shaving) or Taqsir (Trimming): After completing the Tawaf and Sa'i, male pilgrims traditionally shave their heads (Halq) or trim their hair (Taqsir) as a symbol of humility and submission.

Umrah holds great spiritual significance, and Muslims believe that the performance of Umrah brings about forgiveness of sins and spiritual purification. While it is not a substitute for Hajj, it is an opportunity for Muslims to engage in acts of worship, seek closeness to Allah, and strengthen their faith.

One notable Hadith about Umrah can be referred to understand the importance of Umrah in the month of Ramadan.

Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "(The performance of) 'Umrah during Ramadan is equal to Hajj (pilgrimage)." Or said, "Equal to the performance of Hajj with me." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Reference : Riyad as-Salihin 1278

In-book reference : Book 10, Hadith 8



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