If you have resolved to undertake the sacred journey of Umrah this year, it is imperative to recognize the significance of this opportunity. I gratefully acknowledge that you are among the fortunate few Allah chose for this honour. Show appreciation to Allah with the help of this umrah guide for providing you with the means and placing you in a position to embark on this spiritual journey.

Planning for Umrah

Having made this crucial decision, it is time to meticulously plan how to make the most of this sacred experience. To maximize the benefits and rewards, it is essential to have a profound understanding of the proper procedures for performing Umrah. To facilitate this, we have compiled a detailed step-by-step Umrah guide. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge necessary for performing Umrah before embarking on your spiritual journey to Makkah.

Understanding Umrah

Umrah, derived from the Arabic word ‘i’timar,’ translates to ‘a visit.’ In Islamic terminology, Umrah signifies the pilgrimage to the Holy Ka’abah for the performance of the lesser pilgrimage in Makkah. It is an act of worship based on the teachings of Allah’s Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Unlike Hajj, the more extraordinary pilgrimage performed during the specified days of Dhul Hijjah, Umrah can be undertaken any time throughout the year.

Now that we have discussed the concept of Umrah let us delve into the procedural aspects of performing Umrah:

The Umrah ritual has four fundamental pillars: Ihram, Tawaf, Sa’ee, and Halq. Each of these pillars will be examined in detail:

Step 1 – Ihram

Ihram is an essential ritual for individuals intending to undertake Hajj or Umrah. The validity of Umrah or Hajj is contingent upon the observance of Ihram. But what exactly does Ihram entail? Ihram denotes a specific state pilgrims enter and maintain while participating in Hajj or Umrah. Achieving this sacred state involves undertaking specific purification rituals and donning appropriate attire.

Donning identical Ihram attire by all Hajj or Umrah pilgrims fosters a sense of complete equality, thereby eliminating any financial or social disparities among them. During Umrah or Hajj, it becomes indistinguishable between the affluent and the less fortunate. It is crucial to note that entering the state of Ihram imposes specific restrictions that demand awareness, including:

  1. Men are prohibited from shaving their hair or beards and trimming their nails.
  2. Men are restricted from wearing stitched or woven garments. Conversely, women may wear white or black clothing covering their entire body except for the face and hands, permitting the use of stitched clothes during Umrah or Hajj.
  3. Women are advised to conceal all body parts except the face and hands.
  4. Both men and women should refrain from using any fragrance, including perfumes, deodorants, aftershaves, and scented soaps. Unscented soaps will be provided for use during the journey.
  5. Pilgrims are prohibited from engaging in sexual activity.
  6. Hunting animals or cutting plants and trees is strictly forbidden for pilgrims.

Formulate the Niyyah for Umrah

A fundamental guideline that pilgrims need to grasp is making the niyyah (intention) for Umrah or Ihram before crossing one of the designated Meeqats. Niyyah represents the sincere intention to engage in any act of worship, a precursor to which is the recitation of Talbiyah an exclusive prayer that pilgrims must continuously recite until they arrive at Masjid Al-Haram.

Meeqats are designated points established by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for assuming the state of Ihram for individuals embarking on Hajj or Umrah. There are five such stations, and the applicable one depends on the pilgrim’s point of departure. The following are the five Meeqat locations:

  1. Rabegh or Al-Juhfah – Pertaining to West, Syria, and Egypt travellers.
  2. Yalumlum – Applicable for those journeying from Pakistan, India, or Yemen.
  3. Abyar Ali or Dhul-Hulaifah – Designated for those arriving from Madinah.
  4. Qarn-Al-Manazel – Allocated for those coming from Taif and Najd.
  5. Dhatul-Irq – Prescribed for pilgrims travelling from Iraq.

It is crucial to harbour the intention for Umrah within one’s heart and to articulate it actively.

Initiate the State of Ihram

For air travellers, the commencement of the state of Ihram is imperative before crossing the designated Meeqat corresponding to their point of entry. In the case of Saudi Airlines passengers, announcements regarding the relevant Meeqat will be made in due course before reaching Makkah. They are donating the Ihram attire at home, and postponing the niyyah (intention) until approaching the Meeqat while aboard the aircraft is advisable. It is important to note that the official induction into the state of Ihram occurs only upon the formalization of the niyyah.

Preceding the donning of Ihram clothing, observe a state of physical cleanliness by performing ghusl, a ritual bath conducted in a prescribed manner. Alternatively, wudhu, a ritual ablution, may be performed. Ihram attire consists of two white sheets of cloth, one for the upper body and the other for the lower half. After donning the Ihram clothing, offer two rakahs of Salah Al Ihram, refraining from formalizing the niyyah for Ihram or Umrah at this juncture, as previously mentioned.

As you approach the designated Meeqat, articulate your intention for Ihram and Umrah using the method elucidated in the preceding section, followed by the recitation of Talbiyah. The recitation of Talbiyah is obligatory, validating your intention to enter the state of Ihram. The prescribed Talbiyah prayer is as follows:

Labbayka llahumma labbayk(a), Labbayka la sharika laka labbayk(a), inna l-hamda wa n-ni’mata, laka wa l-mulk(a), la sharika lak.”

Having recited Talbiyah, you have officially entered the state of Ihram and are now identified as a Muhrim.

Step 2 – Tawaf Al-Umrah

Muslims are participating in Tawaf around the Kaaba. “Tawaf” originates from the Arabic word ‘Taafa,’ signifying ‘to encircle something.’ In the context of Umrah or Hajj, Tawaf involves the ritual of completing seven anti-clockwise circuits around the Kaaba. While there are five distinct types of Tawaf, we focus on Tawaf Al-Umrah, an indispensable component of the Umrah pilgrimage.

Preparation

Engaging in Tawaf is imperative to be free from both major and minor impurities and to be in a state of wudhu (ablution). If the state of wudhu lapses during Tawaf, it is essential to perform ablution again and resume Tawaf from the point of interruption. Participants will naturally be attired in Ihram clothing, which should be immaculate. The area between the navel and knees must be covered for men, while women must conceal their entire body except for the hands and face.

Starting Point

Upon entering the Mataf, adhere to the practice of Idtiba, which entails uncovering the right shoulder by the Sunnah tradition for Tawaf Al-Umrah. This is achieved by passing the upper sheet of the Ihram under the right armpit and draping it over the left shoulder. The right shoulder should remain exposed throughout the Tawaf.

The starting point for Tawaf is the corner of the Kaaba where Hajr Al-Aswad, or the black stone, is situated. Stand facing the Kaaba with the black stone on the right side. This is where you will formulate the niyyah (intention) to perform Tawaf. 

Recite the following words to express the intention:

Bimillahi Wallahu Akbar, Allahumma Imanan bika wa tasdiqan bika kitabika wa wafa’an bi ahdika wattaba’an li sunnati nabiyyika Muhammad (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam)”.

Commence your Tawaf by orienting yourself to the right, ensuring the Kaaba is positioned on your left. This orientation facilitates the circumambulation in an anti-clockwise direction. Additionally, incorporate the Sunnah practice of Raml while performing Tawaf Al-Umrah. Raml entails walking briskly, lifting the feet forcefully, and projecting the chest forward, emulating the gait of a warrior. Implement this practice for the initial three rounds of your Tawaf, resuming normal walking for the subsequent four rounds.

Conduct your Tawaf with a demeanour of utmost humility, acknowledging the grandeur of the Kaaba. Refrain from eating, drinking, and engaging in unnecessary conversations about worldly matters.

Duas to Recite during Tawaf

During your Tawaf, you can recite any supplications and duas that come to mind, as this is a time when prayers are accepted. You may recite Arabic duas or supplicate in your native language. Nevertheless, it is highly advisable to familiarize yourself with the Arabic Sunnah duas and recite them during your Tawaf. It is crucial to comprehend the meaning of each dua to ensure a sense of humility during prayer and to avoid mere repetition of words.

One of the recommended duas to recite between the Yamani corner and Hajr Al-Aswad, by the Sunnah, is:

Rabbana Atina Fid Dunya Hasanah, wa fil akhirati hasanah, wa qina Azab annar.

Upon reaching Hajr Al-Aswad, the completion of each round is marked. To proceed to the next round, engage in the practice of Islam by either kissing, touching, or saluting the black stone.

Post-Tawaf Procedures

Upon concluding the seven rounds of Tawaf, adhere to the following steps:

Salah Al-Tawaf

This entails performing two rakahs of Salah after completing your Tawaf. While conducting this Salah near Maqam-e-Ibrahim is preferable, it may not be feasible due to its location within the Mataf. Therefore, you have the flexibility to perform this Salah anywhere within the Masjid.

Zamzam

Following Salah Al-Tawaf, proceed to the well of Zamzam water within Masjid Al-Haram. You can acquire water from any of the nearby dispensers or fountains. This station is also conducive to accepting duas, so take the opportunity to supplicate. Additionally, you may recite the following dua after consuming Zamzam water:

Allahumma Inni As’aluka ‘ilman nafi’an, wa rizqan wasi’an, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan, wa shifa’an min kulli da’.

Step 3 – Sa’ee

Like Tawaf, Sa’ee constitutes a crucial and obligatory stage in the Umrah pilgrimage. It involves walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times. Following the completion of Tawaf and the performance of Salah Al-Tawaf, return to Hajr Al-Aswad to perform Istilam once again before proceeding towards the Safa hill to initiate Sa’ee. While approaching the Safa hill, recite the following verse from the Quran:

Inna s-safa wa l-marwata min sha’a’iri llah

Then, recite the following dua:

Abda’u bima bad’allahu bihi”.

When you reach the Safa hill, recite the following duas:

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa lillahi l-hamd”.

Various Sunnah supplications can be recited before initiating your Sa’ee. Additionally, feel free to offer your supplications in your native language. Upon walking towards Marwah, note the presence of two sets of green fluorescent lights positioned approximately 50 meters apart between the hills of Safa and Marwah. Men are advised to run moderately between these lights, while women should walk at their usual speed.

No specific dua or dhikr has been stipulated for pilgrims during Sa’ee. You may recite any supplications or duas of your choice, such as sending Durood upon the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Upon reaching Marwah, recite the same supplications as you did upon arriving at Safa. The seventh lap will conclude at Marwah Hill. While not obligatory, performing two rakahs of Salah after completing Sa’ee is recommended.

Step 4 – Halq or Taqsir

Following Sa’ee, it is essential to perform Halq or Taqsir to exit the state of Ihram; failure to do so will result in the continuation of the state of Ihram. Halq involves shaving the head, while Taqsir entails trimming the hair.

Even if you have no hair, running a razor over your head is customary to fulfil the ritual. For Taqsir, a minimum amount of hair, equivalent to a fingertip length, must be trimmed from all sides of the head where hair is present. While you can cut your hair, assigning someone else to perform this task is also acceptable.

Women, however, are prohibited from performing Halq. They are only required to trim a fingertip’s length from the end of their hair, regardless of its length.

Step 5 – Ending of Ihram

Upon the conclusion of Halq or Taqsir, the state of Ihram is terminated. With the conclusion of Ihram, you are liberated from the associated restrictions, such as using perfumes, nail-cutting, and engaging in marital relations. At this point, you are permitted to change into regular clothing. However, if your Umrah is part of Hajj, marital relations will remain prohibited until Tawaf al-Ziyarah, although other Ihram restrictions will be lifted.

Congratulations on the Successful Completion of Your Umrah!

Congratulations on the successful completion of your Umrah. Rather than experiencing a sense of pride in your accomplishment, maintain a spirit of repentance, express gratitude to Allah for the privilege, and consistently make supplications for the acceptance of your Umrah.

Bottom Line 

Umrah comprises four fundamental practices: entering the state of Ihram, performing Tawaf, undertaking Sa’ee, and conducting Halq or Taqsir. To comprehend the intricacies of performing Umrah, it is essential to delve into the details of these practices.

The ritual of donning Ihram garments is a prerequisite before reaching one of the designated Meeqats. At this point, pilgrims perform two rakahs of Salah and articulate the intention or niyyah for their Umrah. Tawaf, the encircling of the Kaaba, is to be executed in a manner adhering closely to the practices of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Additionally, two rakahs of Salah are to be performed, ideally in proximity to Maqam-e-Ibrahim.

Sa’ee involves walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah. Lastly, Halq or Taqsir signifies the act of shaving or shortening the hair, thereby marking the conclusion of the state of Ihram and the fulfilment of one’s Umrah.

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