Step by Step Umrah Guide: Rituals of Umrah
Umrah and its Virtues :
Linguistically, “Umrah” is derived from the Arabic word “I’timar”, meaning “visit”, whereas religiously it refers to the act of visiting Kaa’ba and performing Tawaf, then Sa’i seven times between Safa and Marwa. Umrah is generally considered as the minor pilgrimage that can be performed at any time of the year, except for the days of Hajj, given that the latter differs from the former in the sense that it is a pillar of Islam and an obligatory duty to be performed by every adult, capable Muslim. Umrah can also be performed more than once as per the individual’s health and financial ability. There are many hadiths on the virtue of Umrah, notably what has been narrated by Abu Hurairah – the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The performance of Umrah is expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ones. And the reward for Hajj Mabrur (pilgrimage accepted by Allah) is nothing but Paradise.”
Pillars and Steps of Umrah :
Umrah has three main pillars that must be observed by every Muslim seeking to perform it correctly:
The Muslim enters into a state of Ihram – a holy state that a Muslim must be in to perform Hajj or Umrah – upon reaching one of the Miqats (pilgrimage boundaries) identified by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for all pilgrims :
- Dhu'l-Hulayfah : This miqat is now called Abar Ali, and it is the furthest from Maccah. It is mainly for those who live in Madinah and for those who approach Maccah from the direction of Madinah.
- Juhfah : This miqat is for the people who come from the direction of the Levant countries, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco and other places en route.
- Qarn ul-Manazil : Also known as Miqat Al-Sail Al-Kabir, serves pilgrims coming from the Najd region, the GCC countries and other places en route.
- Yalamlam : This miqat serves the pilgrims from the direction of Yemen, and was named after Yalamlam Mountain.
- Dhat-i 'Irq : This mīqāt serves pilgrims coming from the direction of Iraq and other places en route.
When the Mu’tamer reaches the miqat, it is recommended (mustahab) to wash and cleanse before discarding all stitched clothing and wearing the Ihram attire, consisting of seamless white clothing for men. Women may wear regular plain clothing.
He then speaks the niyyah (intention) to enter Ihram in his heart, and utters the phrase, “Labbayk allahumma Umrah,” followed by the talbiyah of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayk La Sharika Laka Labbayk. Inna l-Ḥamda, Wa n-Niʻmata, Laka wal Mulk, La Sharika Lak.” (Translated as: “Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners.” ) He keeps repeating it until he reaches the Kaa’ba, wherein he approaches the Black Stone and kisses it, or points at it and uttering takbir (Allahu Akbar) if unable to reach it.