Umrah Travel Guide

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How to Perform Umrah

Now that we have discussed the virtues and great rewards of Umrah, we must properly learn the exact method of performing Umrah and what acts are desirable while performing such a virtuous act. Whichever Umrah group you choose to go with, they will indeed have a leader that will explain the rituals of Umrah , but we at Hajjplans.com have summarized the the various rituals in four main pillars, followed by desirable acts to do in each. All of the pillars are backed up with proper references to the Ahadeeth of the Prophet (S). We hope that you find this information beneficial and easy to comprehend, inshaAllah.

The Four Pillars of Umrah

  1. Ihram - The first pillar of Umrah is the state of Ihram. Although, the word Ihram is often referred to as the two pieces of white cloth that men wear while doing Hajj and Umrah, it is more than that. Ihram is actually a state one is in while performing the rituals of Hajj and Umrah. The dress of Ihram just represents the state that one is in; two unstitched cloths for men, and regular loose clothing for women. However, it is important to note that the pilgrim is allowed to bathe and use the washroom as they require so the Ihram may be removed and put back on for such circumstances. The key element to the Ihram is to make the intention of Ihram, after taking a bath and praying two raka'h of prayers. Once the intention is made, and the necessary clothing are put on, one must adhere to the following rules:
    • Recite the Talbiyyah saying:

      "Labbayka-Allahummma labbayk, Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-Hamda wanni'mata laka wal-Mulk, laa shareeka lak!"

      "Here I am O Allah! Here I am! Here I am, there is no partner for you, here I am! Surely, all praise, blessings, and dominion are for You. There is no partner for you!"

      It is recommended to keep repeating the Talbiyah occasionally on the way to Makkah especially after prayers or when meeting other pilgrims or when ascending and descending...etc.
    • The pilgrim should avoid arguing, slandering, acting without humility and decency, and harming others with the hands and the tongue.
    • The pilgrim is also restricted from showing love and affection to his/her spouse while in Ihram, which could lead to intercourse. The unmarried pilgrim is restricted from getting married or asking for someone's hand in marriage while in Ihram.
    • It is undesirable to joke around in the state of Ihram, since the pilgrim should be reciting the Talbiyah and submit themselves to Allah (SWT).
    • Shaving or cutting hair from any part of the body, clipping the nails of the fingers or the toe, and wearing or even touching perfume are all forbidden acts while in Ihram.
    • Men are not allowed to cover their heads by anything except for an umbrella provided that it does not touch the head or wearing seamed and perfumed clothes, socks and shoes. Women may wear socks. Both, men and women are permitted to wear a watch, or glasses on their face.
    • It is not permissible to hunt, kill, or harm animals unless they are harmful insects such as lice, fleas, beetles and also ants if they stick to the body. It is better to throw them away, but if they represent a harm and disturbance they can be killed. Harmful and dangerous animals can only be killed if they become a threat to one's life such as snakes, scorpions, rats, desert crows and any dangerous wild animals or birds.
  2. Tawwaf - The second pillar of Umrah is Tawwaf. Tawwaf is the action of circuiting and circumambulating seven times around the Ka'bah in an anti-clockwise direction. Allah Almighty says, "Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and (again) circumambulate the Ancient House." (22:29). In order to have the Tawwaf properly completed one must adhere to the following:
    • Make intention for Tawaaf as an act of obedience dedicated to Allah alone.
    • Cleanliness with Wudu as for prayer.
    • Covering 'Awrah - private parts - for both men and women. Anything, which is considered a 'Awrah cannot be displayed otherwise the Tawwaf becomes null.
    • Tawaaf should be inside al-Masjid al-Haraam.
    • The number of rounds should be exactly seven beginning from the Black Stone and ending at it. These rounds should be continued without interruption except in the case of an extreme necessity.
    The following are some desirable sunnah acts while performing the Tawwaf:
    • Performing the first three rounds hastily, almost jogging for men who are capable of doing so, and if the circumstances permit it. Do not try this if there are way too many people around.
    • Uncover the right shoulder for men, and place the cloth underneath the armpit.
    • Kissing the Black Stone in the beginning of Tawwaf if possible. Otherwise, if it's impossible to touch it or because the pilgrim fears harming others by pushing them, it is better to raise the hands to make Istilaam - salutation - to the Black Stone starting Tawwaf by saying, "Bismillahi w-Allahu Akbar! Allahumma Imaanan bika wa-tasdeeqan bikitaabika wa-Wafaa'an bi'ahdika wat-Tibaa'an lisunnati Nabiyyika Muhammadin Salla Allahu 'alayhe was-Sallam" "In the Name of Allah, Allah is The Greatest! O Allah I have faith in You, I believe in Your Book, I am fulfilling the promise made to You, and following the Sunnah of Your Prophet (S)".
    • The pilgrim can make a lot of dhikr such as: "Subhaana Allah wal-Hamdu-lillah wa-Laa ilaaha ill-Allah w-Allahu Akbar walaa Hawla walaa Quwwata illaa billaahi!" "Glory be to Allah! All Praise is due to Allah! There is no god except Allah! Allah is the Greatest! There is no Power or strength except with Allah!" There are no specific du'aas for circumambulating. However, the best thing to say is the word of Allah; the pilgrim can recite without disturbing the others some chapters of the Qur'an he, or she, memorizes.
    • When the pilgrim passes by the Rokn al-Yamaani - the fourth corner of the Ka'abah right before the black stone corner - it is good that he, or she, touches it with the hand if possible in every round, and then recite the following dua until they reach back to the black stone: "Rabbanaa Aatinaa fid-Duniaah Hasanatan wafil-Aakhirati Hasanatan waqinaa 'adhaaban-Naar" "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire!" (2:201).
    • Being in a state of serenity, concentration, and humbleness. The pilgrim should avoid harming others and should also refrain from talking to others unless it is necessary.
    • Making dua after finishing Tawaaf at the Multazam - the spot between the Black Stone and the Ka'bah's door. Praying 2 Rak'aas behind the Maqaam -station- of Ibraaheem (A), then drinking from Zamzam water in three sequences while having the intention to be cured with the blessing of Allah from any disease and facing Qiblah. The pilgrim can make the following du'aa: "Allahumma inni as'aluka 'ilman naafi'an wa-rizqan waasi'an was-shifaa'a min kulli dhaa'in wa saqam!" "O Allah! I beseech You to bless me with a useful knowledge, a generous subsistence, and a cure from any ailment and disease!"
    • Finally going back to the Black Stone and salute it before leaving to Safa and Marwaa for Say'ee.
  3. Say'ee - The third pillar of Hajj is the Say'ee which is the walking between mount safa and marwa. Although the history of such a noble act is very rich and enlightening to know, Hajjplans.com will only look at the required acts in this section. Further information should be studied under your leader/teacher.

    Describing the Hajj performed by the Prophet (S), Jabir (r) narrated, "Then, he - the Prophet (S) - got out from the door heading for As-Safaa, then, recited the above Qur'anic aayah: "Innas-Safaa wal-Marwata min Sha'aa'iril-Laah. Faman hajjal-Bayta awi'atamara falaa junaaha 'alayhi an yattawwafa bihimaa. Waman tattawwa'a khayran fa'inna Allaha Shaakirun 'Aleem."(2:158)

    Then, he (S) said, "We begin with what Allah began." Then, he mounted as--Safaa until he faced the House and there he glorified Allah (i.e. raised his voice) saying "Allahu Akbar!" three times then" Laa ilaaha illa Allah wahdahu laa shareeka lah. Lahul-Mulku walahul- Hamdu wa huwa 'alaa kulli shay'in Qadeer. Laa ilaaha illa Allahu wahdahu, Sadaqa Wa'adahu, wa nasara 'abadahu wa hazamal-Ahzaaba wahdah!."

    "There is no god but Allah. He is One and has no partner, to Him is the dominion and all praise is due to Him. We are returning, repenting, worshipping, prostrating, and to Allah we are very grateful. Allah is true to His promise, He gave victory to His servant and defeated the confederates all by Himself."

    Habibah bint Abi Taghrah (r) heard the Prophet (S) saying to his companions,

    "Perform Say'ee for Allah Almighty has ordained it upon you." [Ahmad].

    In order to have the Say'ee properly completed one must adhere to the following:
    • Being after Tawwaf not before and make proper intention for beginning the Say'ee.
    • Continue doing the Say'ee without interruption except when it is extremely necessary.
    • Stand on as-Safaa and al-Marwa by going back and forth seven times- 4 stops at each hill - and make the above-mentioned du'aa facing Qiblah.
    The following are some desirable sunnah acts while performing the Tawwaf:
    • Khabab, which is fast walking that is closer to running, between the two green signs on the sides of the way as Haajar (A) did and as it is recorded about the Prophet (S).
    • Making dhikr and du'aa or reading Qur'an.
    • To be clean and have Wudu is recommended but not compulsory as in Tawwaf.
    • To walk unless the pilgrim is weak.
    • To lower the gaze and abstain from talking to others, harming others, and try to be humble and serene and to remember the Day of Judgement.
  4. Shaving of the Head – Once the Say’ee is complete (ie. The seventh round is done and the pilgrim is standing on mount Marwa), it is time to cut the hair. Men are encouraged to have their hair shaven completely although trimming is also permitted but there is less reward in this. Women, however, only trim their hair slightly. Having done this, you may remove your Ihraam and revert to wearing your normal clothes. This final pillar completes your Umrah.

Next Section: The Visit to Medinah...


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