Umrah is a beautiful Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that can be performed at any time of the year except the five days of Hajj (9th Dhul Hijjah to 13th Dhul Hijjah). A minor form of Hajj, it isn’t an imperative obligation for Muslims and actually a Sunnat-e-Muwaqada. Carrying immense value and rewards, the Prophet (PBUH) performed Umrah four times during his lifetime. Umrah resembles Hajj in many ways as both involve certain common rituals. It is a lesser form of Hajj, but the benefits of performing it are manifold.
Hadith regarding Umrah
There are innumerable rewards for the one who embarks on this spiritual journey and these rewards are mentioned in the Quran and various Hadiths.
وَاَتِمُّوا الۡحَجَّ وَالۡعُمۡرَةَ لِلّٰهِؕ
“And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah.” (2:196)
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “(The performance of) ‘Umrah is the expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ‘Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (i.e., one accepted) is nothing but Jannah.”
Narrated Ibn Juraij (RA):
`Ikrima bin Khalid (RA) asked Ibn `Umar (RA) about performing `Umra before Hajj. Ibn `Umar replied, “There is no harm in it.” `Ikrima said, “Ibn `Umar also said, ‘The Prophet (ﷺ) had performed `Umra before performing Hajj.”
Narrated Qatada (RA):
I asked Anas (RA) how many times the Prophet (PBUH) had performed `Umra. He replied, “Four times. 1. `Umra of Hudaibiya in Dhi-l-Qa’da when the pagans hindered him; 2. `Umra in the following year in Dhi-l- Qa’da after the peace treaty with them (the pagans); 3. `Umra from Al-Ja’rana where he distributed the war booty.” I think he meant the booty (of the battle) of Hunain. I asked, “How many times did he perform Hajj?” He (Anas) replied, “Once.”
Narrated Ata (RA):
I heard Ibn `Abbas saying, “Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) asked an Ansari woman (Ibn `Abbas named her but `Ata’ forgot her name), ‘What prevented you from performing Hajj with us?’ She replied, ‘We have a camel and the father of so-and-so and his son (i.e. her husband and her son) rode it and left one camel for us to use for irrigation.’ He said (to her), ‘Perform `Umra when Ramadan comes, for `Umra in Ramadan is equal to Hajj (in reward),’ or said something similar.”
History of Umrah
During the early period of Prophethood of Sayyedna Muhammad (PBUH), Muslims were not allowed to perform pilgrimage to Kaaba as Mecca was under the control of Quraish who used to worship idols inside the Kaaba. After migration to Madinah, when Muslims wanted to perform the pilgrimage, they were prevented from reaching Kaabah and blocked at Hudaibiyyah by Quraish. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) refused to enter the sacred city by force so diplomatic negotiations were pursued and the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah was signed in March, 628 AD (Dhu’l-Qi’dah, 6 AH). According to the treaty, Muslims were allowed to perform pilgrimage to Kaabah for three days annually over a period of ten years. The first Umrah took place in 629 AD and about 2000 Muslims took part.
Narrated Qatada (RA):
I asked Anas (RA) (about the Prophet’s `Umra) and he replied, “The Prophet (ﷺ) performed `Umra when the pagans made him return, and Umra of al-Hudaibiya (the next year), and another `Umra in Dhi-l-Qa’da, and another `Umra in combination with his Hajj.”
Read Also: History Behind Throwing Pebbles in Mina
How to Perform Umrah? Step by Step Umrah Procedure
Enter the state of Ihram after taking Ghusl and offer two Rakat of Nafl salah before you leave for Meeqat in Makkah. You must declare the intention at the Meeqat by saying “Labbayk Allaahumma bi ‘Umrah” (Here I am, O Allah, for ‘Umrah). After this, recite the Talbiyah and keep reciting it until you reach Masjid-al-Haram.
لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لاَ شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ لاَشَرِيْكَ لَكَ
(Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner)
Read More: Ihram – Importance & Ways to Wear it
Enter Masjid-al-Haram with your right foot first and recite this Dua:
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وسلم, اللَّهُمَّ افْتَحْ لِي أَبْوَابَ رَحْمَتِكَ
(In the name of Allah and Salat and Salam upon Rasulullah. O Allah! Open to me the gates of Your Mercy)
Now, lift your hand towards the black stone (Hajre Aswad) and say “Bismillahi Allahu Akbar”, and start taking rounds around Kaabah, with Kabaah being on your left. After completing the seven rounds, go to Maqam-e-Ibrahim to offer 2 Rakat nafl Salah.
Read More: Tawaf and its various types
3. Saaýee between Safa & Marwah:
(O Allah! I intend to make seven rounds of Sa’ey between Mt. Safa and Mt. Marwah, for Your pleasure. Make it easy for me and accept it.)
Saaýee starts from Mt. Safa and comprises of seven rounds between the hills of Safa and Marwa. Pray to Allah as much as you can and supplicate.
Read More: Saa’ee – History and its Procedure
4. Cutting of Hair:
After completing the seven circuits of Saa’ee, pilgrims are required to cut their hair. Shaving or cutting of hair must be performed in the precincts of Haram. After this act, Umrah is complete.
Read Also: The Complete Umrah Guide
Quick Tips and Advice for Umrah
- Get an in-depth understanding of Umrah and its rituals from the authentic sources before embarking on this spiritual journey.
- Prepare your documents required for Umrah travel and make a copy of all of them, saving it to your google drive or sending it to your personal email.
- Make sure you learn all the rules of Ihram before you leave for Umrah so that you do not make the mistake of breaking them unknowingly.
- Make a list of Dua’s that you want to ask the Almighty, Allah (SWT).
- Make a list of all the Islamic sites that you want to visit on your trip to Makkah and Madinah.
Read Also: Acts Forbidden in Ihram
Best Time to Perform Umrah from UK
Ramadan is considered the best time for Umrah. It is a blessed month during which even a simple good deed gets rewarded multiple times; the act of performing Umrah becomes even more significant. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Perform `Umra when Ramadan comes, for `Umra in Ramadan is equal to Hajj (in reward),”
Keeping in mind the importance of Umrah, Muslims from every corner of the world flock to Mecca for undertaking this spiritual journey in Ramadan.
Easter holidays and Christmas vacation are also good times to perform Umrah for the Muslims of the United Kingdom as they get few days to break from the school and work which can be utilized for travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah. The weather in Saudi Arabia is also favourable in December with mild temperature making it easier to perform Umrah rituals.
Read Also: Spiritual Purpose of Fasting in Ramadan
How to book an Umrah Package? Important things to know while booking an Umrah package.
The best way to book an Umrah Package is by selecting a trustworthy travel agent and book an all-inclusive Umrah package at least three months in advance. Booking your Umrah package way ahead of the departure date would ensure reasonable prices and quality services. Decide the kind of package you need – group or customised, and book accordingly. Group packages are great for those who have limited resources and want to travel under budget. It is essential to do your own research regarding Umrah packages before contacting a travel agency. Also, check the track record and expertise of the travel agency that you want to hire for your Umrah travel services. Umrah is truly a spiritual journey of a lifetime, the one every Muslim should try to undertake and complete.