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Umrah
How to Perform
Glossary

 

The Umrah
cumrah
Pilgrimage in Islam, going to Mecca, second to the main pilgrimage The Hajj. Umrah is often referred to as the "little pilgrimage", and while the Hajj is compulsory, the umrah is not. However it is recommended by the Quran, as well as within Islamic practice.

2, 153Truly, As-Safa and Al- Marwa are among the landmarks of God, therefore anyone who performs the hajj or the umrah he does no harm if he circumambulates them both…..

There is a close connection between the rituals of the umrah and the hajj, to the extent they are often mingled together. There are only minor differences between the first part of the hajj and the entire umrah, and according to some views a hajj automatically includes the umrah, while according to other views, the umrah is only performed when it is as an independent ritual.
The umrah, which is a strong symbol of Muslim piety, is a highly individual ritual, as there is practically nothing of its acts that requires the presence of other people. The only part, which cannot be done all alone, is the shave afterwards, but that is also not really a part of the umrah — it only serves as a symbol of leaving the ritual of the umrah.
Umrah can be performed all through the year, with the exception of the days of the hajj.
Rituals more or less similar to the umrah were performed in Mecca also in the era before Islam became the religion of the city. From early Islamic sources we learn that the first part, the tawaf, was most certainly performed even if we do not know if there were seven circumambulations or not. As for the other part, the sacii, the accounts are more loose, but the hill tops of As-Safa and Al-Marwa were considered sacred. Early Muslim scholars were divided of the importance and necessity of the umrah, but soon it was well established as a ritual with an importance similar to what it has today.

Preparations

a.

The pilgrim assumes ritual purity, ihram, in a place, which can be inside Mecca if he / she intends to perform both umrah and hajj in one go, or outside Mecca (meeqat) if only the umrah is to be performed. For the residents of Jeddah (and those residing within the meeqat limits) meeqat is their home. For the residents of Makkah meeqat is Masjid Al-Ayesha.

b.

Uttering of the niya, which is the statement that says what the pilgrim is about to do. For the umrah there are two possible niyas, either he / she could be doing only the umrah, or he / she could be doing both.

c.

Uttering of Labbaik, which is Arabic and normally translated with "at your service". The labbaik is followed by numerous sentences, all dealing with God or / and the prophet, Muhammad (PBUH).

Part I: Tawaf

a.

The pilgrim enters the main mosque in Mecca, preferably through Bab-Al-Umrah.

b.

Passing through the port of Banu Shaiba.

c.

Coming up to the Black Stone in the Ka'aba.

d.

Starts to circumambulate the Ka'aba seven times, walking against the clock. While doing this, prayers are said. The 3 first circumambulations are done at a speed of nearly running, while the last 4 are done at a normal walking speed.

e.

The pilgrim presses his chest against the Ka'aba at a point midway between the Black Stone, and the door of the Ka'aba.

f.

A short prayer, Wajib Al-Tawaaf, consisting of 2 raka'as is performed at Maqam-e-Ibrahim.

g.

Water is drunk from the well of Zamzam.

Part II: Sacii

a.

The pilgrim leaves the mosque courtyard of the Ka'aba, and enters the lane that runs between two points right outside, called 'As-Safa and Al-Marwa. The pilgrims embark from 'Al-Safa.

b.

The pilgrim walks back and forth between these two points seven times (a trip from As-Safa to Al-Marwah and back to As-Safa is considered as 2 laps). At each point he / she stops for a moment, in order to say a few prayers, and then continues. This ritual ends at Al-Marwa.

Conclusion

a.

The pilgrim leaves Al-Marwa.

b.

He / she will have his / her hair cut by a local barber, in order to mark the end of the umrah.