The holy month of Ramadan is significant and immensely important for Muslims all over the world who fast from dawn to dusk and pray to Allah. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and obligatory for every Muslim. Muslims are also required to abstain from certain acts that displease Allah to seek the spiritual rewards. Children, old and those suffering from illnesses, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are exempted from fasting. Quran, the book of guidance and signs of Allah, was revealed in the month of Ramadan. It is the most important time of the year for every believing Muslim without a doubt, during which every pious act or a good deed is rewarded seventy times. It is also the best time to perform Umrah by traveling to Mecca.
Virtues of Umrah performed in Ramadan
Umrah, unlike Hajj, is not obligatory for Muslims but nonetheless, holds major religious significance and spiritual importance. It is considered a lesser form of Hajj and the value of performing Umrah in Ramadan is immense. An act of purity, whoever performs Umrah with pure intention and heart earns the highest pleasure of Allah. It is the highest form of Sunnah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has performed Umrah twice in his lifetime. It has been said that whoever leaves home with the intention of Umrah is a pilgrim until he comes back, and if he dies on the way, he will certainly enter paradise.
It was narrated from Umar bin Abas (RA) that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Two actions are considered to be the most virtuous of actions, unless if someone performs them in the same way. They are an accepted Hajj and an accepted Umrah.”
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The significance of performing Umrah in the month of Ramadan
Although, it is not obligatory to perform Umrah, but since it includes countless blessings and virtues, most Muslims do not want to miss the opportunity. Emphasis remains on praying to Allah, seeking His blessings and repenting for the sins. Every fard, sunnah and nafl is rewarded seventy times. Performing Umrah during Ramadan is truly an enriching experience to see people from every corner of the world joined together in fasting, performing Umrah and worshipping to their Lord Almighty. It represents the Islamic message of peace and Muslim brotherhood, and highlights the essence of harmony among the Ummah.
Value of performing Umrah in Ramadan
“Umrah is the expiation for the sins committed during it and the preceding Umrah.”
The above Hadith underlines the importance of performing Umrah with a pure heart and how by repenting and seeking forgiveness of Allah removes the major and minor sins. If He gives you an opportunity to go to Mecca for performing Umrah, seek His mercy and forgiveness earnestly. Sins can only be forgiven by true repentance or by the grace and mercy of Allah.
One can perform Umrah as many times as one wants. It is not something that you perform once, but you should strive to do it multiple times within the lifetime. It is extremely important for a person to know the obligatory prayers, supplications and the basics of the Umrah. Stay away from the things and actions that displease Allah and bring his wrath. Indulging in such acts would not only nullify your Umrah but also lose its meaning. Also, try not to perform this act of worship as just a duty but, seize this opportunity to seek His highest rewards.
However, there are a few important things to be considered before embarking on this sacred journey. Ensure the welfare of your family and see that your children are well taken care off. Remember to fulfill your duties. If your family accompanies you on Umrah, make sure you do not neglect them. Watch over your kids properly and make them understand the importance of the holy month and performing Umrah in Ramadan. Tell them real stories of the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions.
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Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj?
According to a Hadith, it is reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once inquired a woman from Madinah: “What prevented you from embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage with us?” She replied: “We had two camels out of which my husband and child took one and left the other for the rest of us to ride on.” Muhammad (PBUH) then told her: “When the month of Ramadan arrives, go for Umrah because Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying me on Hajj.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1764)]”
The above Hadith highlights the importance and virtues of doing Umrah in Ramadan. Whoever performs it during this holy month gets the reward equal to a Hajj. However, it should be noted that Hajj and Umrah are two different things and each hold certain significance in the eyes of the Almighty. Performing Umrah in the month of Ramadan does not discharge a person from the obligations of Hajj. Both the terms become equivalent in rewards but not in fulfilling the duty. Umrah is not obligatory for a believer whereas Hajj is compulsory for every Muslim if the person is capable of performing it.
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Importance and Benefits of Umrah in Ramadan
Umrah is a way to purify mind and soul, and it uplifts the spirit of a Muslim by giving him/her an inspiration of a lifetime. It is the best way to strengthen your faith in the Almighty and achieve spirituality. Allah gives rewards for every good deed performed in His way. If you spend your time and money for the sake of Allah, He provides you shelter from mishaps and saves you from trouble.
As narrated by Ibn Mas’ood (RA), the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Follow up the Hajj and Umrah, because they certainly remove poverty and sins as fire separates the impurities from iron, gold, and silver.”(Tirmidhi)
Spending your wealth for the sake of Allah and doing charity will surely save you from poverty. Performing Umrah also protects a person from poverty as he is spending his time and wealth in Allah’s way while completing this deed. You are lucky if you get the chance to travel to Mecca and Madinah to seek blessings of Umrah in Ramadan. The act of Umrah has also been compared to jihad.
According to a Hadith, it was narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “Jihad of the elderly, the young, the weak and the women, is Hajj and Umrah.”
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Millions of Muslims gather in the holy mosque to seek refuge in Allah from the evil by fasting and worshipping together. It is truly a breathtaking sight when a sea of people breaks their fast during Iftaar with a common objective to come closer to Allah. A spiritual journey to the house to Allah, Muslims travel to this holy land with their heart filled with love and gratitude to seek the mercy of Almighty and pray for forgiveness. This journey is an enriching and enlightening experience for every believer, one that they would remember for a lifetime and be always thankful to Allah. Umrah is truly a blessing even throughout the year but it certainly holds a special place in the holiest month of Ramadan, an experience that every Muslim should strive to achieve.