How to prepare for Umrah | Complete Guide 2023
Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, is a tremendous way to attain forgiveness for all your past sins and fetch instant rewards from Allah (SWT). As an act of worship, Umrah ought to be performed with full devotion. Prior to embarking on this spiritual journey to Makkah and Madinah, you should take the time to prepare for it as well as understand the steps involved.
This guide explains everything a pilgrim needs to know about how to prepare for Umrah, based on expert advice.
Umrah is a spiritual journey and to perform it with full dedication, you should prepare yourself mentally. This involves everything from purifying your intentions to seeking Allah’s assistance for the journey as well as seeking forgiveness from Allah and people you may have hurt in the past. You’ll also be paying a visit to Rauza of the Prophet (Salallahu alaihi wasallam) in Madinah, so you want to be doing that with a sincere heart. Let’s take a look at each aspect individually.
Make Your Intention
Your underlying intention is the most critical thing for your Umrah or Hajj journey. It must be performed solely for the pleasure of Allah (SWT), not to impress others, to escape from hectic office work, or as a vacation.
Unless it’s extremely important (such as work may be affected), don’t let others know that you’re leaving for Umrah, and do not share an update on social media such as posts saying ‘travelling to Makkah’ or ‘travelling to Madinah’. Your act of worship should stay between you and your Lord.
Nowadays, it has become the norm to organize a party after returning from Hajj or Umrah. Again, there could be a hidden intention to please or impress others through this act. Don’t do this.
Before and during your Umrah travel, keep asking yourself why you’re devoting your time, money, and effort to the journey. Regular reinforcement of your intention to please Allah (SWT) will keep you strong and maintain a strong connection with your Lord.
To make the intention for Hajj, you should have a sincere and devout intention to fulfill this religious obligation and seek Allah’s forgiveness. The intention should be solely for the sake of pleasing Allah and not for any other worldly motives. It is important to remember that the intention should be made in your heart and does not require any specific words or actions.
Part of your mental preparation for Umrah is to seek repentance for all your major and minor sins. There are four conditions for repentance, which include:
- Feeling regret and remorse over past sins.
- Promising to stay away from sins committed in the past.
- If a sin involves depriving someone of their rights such as money that belongs to them, you must compensate them for the loss.
Unless you fulfill the aforementioned criteria, your repentance may not be meaningful. While seeking forgiveness within your heart is also acceptable, we recommend following these steps to repent before proceeding to Makkah and Madinah for Umrah:
- Step 1: Perform Wudhu or Ghusl.
- Step 2: Perform two rak’ahs of salah of repentance.
- Step 3: Make dua and seek forgiveness with extreme humility and submission. Sincerely repent for all major and minor sins committed in the past. Try your best to cry while prostrating in front of Allah. If you don’t feel like crying, at least pretend to weep.
Once you’ve sought repentance from Allah (SWT), make an honest effort to seek forgiveness from people you may have harmed in any way; whether they’re a Muslim or a non-Muslim. As for your obligation for Huqooq-ul-Ibaad, make a concerted effort to compensate anyone whose rights you might have violated at some point in the past.
Make Sure You’ve Done Your Homework
Apart from preparing yourself mentally, be sure to conduct the necessary planning for your Umrah journey. Planning your Makkah trip beforehand relieves you of all the tension and stress associated with travel. This way, you should be able to focus on prayers and supplications during your journey.
Although your travel agent will have you covered for tickets and accommodation in Makkah, getting to know the place you’re going to proves extremely valuable. Learn about Makkah and Madinah, including the sacred places you plan to visit.
It goes without saying that you should understand the procedure to perform Umrah as per the sunnah of the Prophet (Salallahu alihi wassalam). As you go about researching, you’ll find that the majority of resources are related to Hajj. This shouldn’t worry you because Umrah forms part of Hajj so you’ll find the Umrah procedure in every Hajj-related guide.
“When picking the best Umrah package, consider factors like the costs, accomodation, and even the ministry affiliation which ensures that the provider follows official guidelines and regulations.”
The point I am trying to make here is that you should learn about the experience before you go. If you’re proceeding with an Umrah or Hajj group, you also have the opportunity to discuss the rituals with other members of the group to remember and memorize them.
Besides this, be particularly careful about the documentation such as your passport and other critical documents. As a safety precaution, you should email them to yourself so you can access them in Makkah, or Madinah anytime during your trip via your smartphone.
It’s important to understand that performing Umrah requires a lot of stability and energy. As a long process, it involves considerable walking across many miles/ kilometers, especially in Makkah. This can all be in the scorching heat of the sun, depending on the month in which you’re travelling. While the exact distance can significantly vary depending on how close your round is with the Ka’abah, the entire Umrah can take 35 km or 20 miles, on average.
To prepare yourself for this challenge, begin walking short distances and start exercising two to three months before your Umrah trip. To change your eating and sleeping habits and adjust them to the tough Umrah trip, start eating less and make changes to your bedtime. Staying healthy and fit goes a long way to physically prepare you for the demanding journey.
For those who’re disabled, special facilities such as wheelchairs are available. The weather in Makkah typically remains hot around the year so be prepared for it.
Keeping in mind the current scenario, you’ll need to get your COVID-19 vaccination in addition to the Meningitis ACWY Vaccine and others. Wear a mask and try your best to maintain distance from others throughout your Umrah trip.
Other Information Related to Umrah Preparations
Keep in mind that you must only use halal earnings for your Umrah expenditures. Even 1% of haram money spent on your Umrah endeavors will render the worship unacceptable. This also means you shouldn’t use a bank loan to cover your Umrah expenses because it involves interest.
When deciding how much money to carry for your Umrah journey, keep in mind the exchange rates for your currency against Saudi Riyal. The exact costs other than visa and ticketing will vary from one person to another but don’t forget to account for the expenses pertaining to the animal sacrifice that you’ll perform there.
Apart from this, men should learn how to wear Ihram. You can easily find Ihram-related guides for men on the internet. For better understanding, see Ihram videos targeted to men.
What You Need to Pack for Umrah
Not sure what to pack for Umrah? Here is a comprehensive list of items you need to pack before embarking on your journey to Makkah:
- Your filled and signed Umrah visa application form;
- Your passport, which must be valid at least up to 6 months from the day of submission;
- A passport-size photograph with white background;
- Round-trip tickets to Saudi Arabia;
- Proof of prearranged accommodation;
- Vaccination certificates;
- For recent converts who still have a non-Muslim name on their documentation, a certificate from an Islamic center or a mosque is mandatory.
- Pocket Quran
- Prayer mat
- 2 pieces of Ihram
- Umrah Guide that includes a list of duas
- Compass for Qibla
- Waist Pouch
- Comfortable sandals and other clothing
- Basic Medicine such as Panadol, Ponstan, Dispirin, Strepsils, and others specific to your needs.
- Toothpaste, tooth brush, and mouth wash
- Fragrance-free soap and shampoo
- Dry food items and biscuits
- An umbrella
- Packets of tissues and toilet paper rolls
- Pairs of socks
- One or two travel bags if you plan to bring gifts for your loved ones
- Nail cutter
Check Out Other Articles Related to ‘How to Prepare for Umrah’
After going through this guide, you should have obtained an in-depth idea about how to prepare for Umrah travel. However, it’s understandable that you want to seek more advice. Here is some other information to look for during your preparation for Umrah:
This information will include all the steps involved in performing Umrah. You’ll know exactly what to do at different points during the journey.
Although the basic steps to perform Umrah are similar for both men and women, there are certain differences associated with Ihram and other aspects. If you’re a lady or a man accompanied by a lady, you should be aware of these differences too.
Discusses the virtues of performing Umrah in holy month of Ramadan.
During your Umrah, you’ll want to make as many Umrah duas as possible because it’s a great time for the acceptance of duas. Some of these duas form part of the Umrah procedure, many are Sunnah of the Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and others can just be associated with your needs.
For instance, it is believed that the dua you make upon spotting the Ka’abah for the first time in your life is sure to get accepted. Before your Umrah, you need to be aware of all these duas and the best spots for making duas.