What is Umrah?
Umrah is among the most beautiful Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad(Peace Be Upon Him). It’s an act of worship performed by millions of Muslims throughout the year. Keeping in mind the endless rewards of performing Umrah, you should pursue it with love, gratitude, intensity, and desire. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Umrah. Let’s begin with the basics, i.e., ‘what is Umrah?’
Umrah Meaning – What Does It Actually Mean?
Also known as ‘lesser pilgrimage’ or ‘minor pilgrimage’, Umrah refers to a visit to the Holy Ka’aba (the Sacred Home of God) and can be performed by any Muslim at any time during the year. In Islamic jargon, Umrah means to perform Tawaf around the Holy Ka’aba and Sa’i between the hills of Safa and Marwah while in the sacred state of Ihram.
What Is the Purpose of Umrah?
The underlying purpose of performing Umrah is to Connect with Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala- Glory to him, the exalted), achieve Allah’s pleasure, and collect the countless rewards associated with the act of worship. Anyone who proceeds with this spiritual journey purifies their body, heart, soul and mind from their past sins.
What Are the Main Differences Between Hajj and Umrah?
The main differences between Hajj and Umrah include:
- Hajj is a mandatory act of worship that must be performed by every Muslim once in their lifetime, given that they’re financially capable and physically fit. Umrah, on the other hand, is not mandatory but highly recommended. Both Hajj and Umrah can be performed as many times one likes in their lifetime.
- As mentioned earlier, Umrah can be performed at any time during the year, whereas Hajj is pursued during the first ten days of the Islamic month of Dhul al-Hijjah.
- While Umrah involves only a few rituals and can be completed within a few hours, Hajj is more demanding and takes around 5 to 6 days to complete.
Where Is Umrah Located?
Umrah is performed at Masjid al-Haram that is located in Makkah, the holiest city for Muslims that hosts the Holy Ka’aba (the Sacred Home of God). The city is located in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia.
How Long Is Umrah?
There’s no exact answer to the question ‘how long is Umrah?’ However, it can be completed within 3 to 6 hours, depending on the crowd.
How Do I Perform Umrah?
One of the most common queries is ‘how to perform Umrah?’, so here are some steps that you must follow.
- When you reach Masjid al-Haram in the state of Ihram, announce your arrival by reciting Talbiyah (a statement stating the oneness of God) while walking toward the Holy Ka’abah.
- Then, circle the Ka’abah seven times in an anti-clockwise direction while engaging in deep prayer. Starting from the respectable Black Stone placed at the eastern corner of the Ka’abah, each circle should last for around 20 minutes if it’s not too crowded. If the area is packed with pilgrims, you’ll need to perform the circles on the top floor of the Masjid.
- Once you’re done with the circles, move on to Maqam-e-Ibrahim (The Place of Abraham), where you can pray and recite verses from the Holy Quran. Right after this practice, walk to the Holy well of Zamzam, the sacred water.
- Next, head to Mount Safa and Mount Marwa to perform Sa’i. This step involves walking back and forth between the two hills seven times. This is a necessary practice.
- After completing Sa’i, you must undergo Taqsir, the obligation to shorten one’s hair, which marks the completion of Umrah. After this step, you’re no longer required to adhere to the restrictions of Ihram.
What Are the Benefits of Umrah?
Here are some of the benefits of performing Umrah:
- The biggest benefit of performing Umrah is that you achieve Allah’s pleasure. Once you succeed in that, you get all the virtues in this world and in the life after death.
- Your sins are forgiven.
- It helps eliminate poverty.
- It strengthens your faith.
- You get a chance to be God’s guest.
These benefits highlight the importance of Umrah and indicate why it’s important for Muslims to perform this ritual.
Is Umrah Open in 2021?
After a long coronavirus-related ban on Umrah, Saudi Arabia’s government reopened the facility on November 1st, 2020. You can perform Umrah in 2021, but strict regulations have been placed. These include:
- Only those aged between 18 and 49 are currently allowed to perform Umrah.
- It must be performed in groups of 20 to 50 pilgrims.
- Pilgrims can stay in Saudi Arabia for not more than ten days and will need to spend three days in quarantine after arrival.
- A negative PCR test issued up to 72 hours must be shown before you enter the country.
Update: The Kongdom of Saudi Arabia has announced that it will be extending the ban on international flights until the 17th of May 2021.
When Is the Best Time to Go on Umrah?
While you can perform Umrah any time during the year, the best time to pursue the spiritual journey is after Hajj. Since Hajj will be performed in July 2021, the following three months of August, September, and October will be the ideal time to go for Umrah. During this time, there are fewer pilgrims, and prices for accommodation and hotels are reasonable.
Do I Need an “Umrah Visa”?
If you’re a Saudi national or live and/or work in Saudi Arabia, you don’t need any specific documentation to visit Masjid al-Haram and perform Umrah. However, if you live in another country, you’ll need to apply for an Umrah Visa to embark on your journey, even if you travel from a neighboring country by car. The visa will be valid for a month.
How Do Pilgrims Travel to Umrah?
Depending on where you’re located, you can visit the Holy City of Makkah by road or air. After performing Umrah, pilgrims typically ride in a bus to Masjid-e-Nabvi in Medina, the second holy city for Muslims.
Check Out Some of Our Hajj and Umrah Related Posts!
By now, you should have developed an in-depth understanding of what umrah is, why it is performed, and other information related to it. To obtain more insights, take a look at some of our Hajj and Umrah-related posts.