Your Umrah Guide Book: Every Step, Covered!
“Do Hajj and Umrah one after the other, as they remove poverty and sins just as fire separates impurities from iron, gold and silver.”
All praise is only for Allah and peace and blessings upon His beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)! So you have made the decision to embark upon the spiritual journey of Umrah! Congratulations! As the day for your departure approaches, you may feel a roller coaster of emotions, excitement, elation, nervousness, anxiety, stress and anticipation for the days to come.
It is best to be well prepared before leaving for this life changing journey. There are many steps you should take in your own home, before leaving for Makkah and Madina, which will prepare you for the grand rituals of Umrah.
At Home Preparations for Umrah
Umrah is a life changing experience. It helps to eradicate all previous sins and guide Muslims towards the righteous path.
There are many things you need to take care of before leaving your home for umrah includes:
Purity of Intentions.
You must perform Umrah with Ikhlaas or sincerity. If you are performing Umrah solely for Allah’s sake and to please Him, gain his mercy and blessings; then this is the true spirit of Umrah. Performing umrah without the right intentions is merely a physical workout! It does not help to cleanse you of your past sins and raise your ranks in the sight of Allah. Without the right intentions, performing Umrah will be of no use to you.
Before you leave for Umrah, make sure that they means by which you are paying for Umrah is halal. It will do you no good if your earnings are from a haram source.
Leave a Will
A Muslim must always be prepared for death. It is the only true constant in life. Before you embark on this journey draw a will for yourself, in case you don’t return to your worldly home.
Read up On Umrah
Prepare yourself for performing Umrah by reading up on all the rites and rituals involved. You don’t want to diminish the blessings of Umrah because you did not perform it correctly due to lack of knowledge. There are so many sources on the internet, various books, your local mosque and its Imam, where you can turn to, in order to learn about Umrah.
Think about your Dependents
If you are leaving any dependents or family behind, then you must make arrangements for them while you are gone. Whether this involves any monetary support or the presence of a guardian while you are away, you need to ensure all their needs are met.
Memorize Various Duas
For your own convenience, memorize short duas and zikr so that you can recite them often when you are in Allah’s home.
Make a List
Make a list of your own personal duas. You are going to the home of the Creator of the heavens and earth. Nothing is impossible for Him. You can ask for anything you want, therefore in order to remember everything its best to write it down. Many a times pilgrims become so overwhelmed with emotions upon arrival in the Ka’abah that they forget all they wanted to implore Allah for.
Essential Items to Take With You
When you start to physically prepare for Umrah, you should think about making a list of all the items you want to take with you. Start your packing well in advance of your departure so you have enough time to make any emergency trips to the store to buy items you may have forgotten.
Here’s a list of things you need to take with you:
· Passport and tickets
· Medicines. Any regular medicines you take and painkillers
· Vaccination card and prescription from your doctor
· Your own copy of the Quran and a dua book
· Mobile phone and charger. Also take a universal charger with you
· Any personal use items, like unscented deodorants, soap, shampoo etc.
· Two pairs of comfortable shoes
· Comfortable and easy to wear clothes
Before Leaving for Umrah
Now that the crucial day has finally arrived you will be feeling countless emotions. You will be excited and nervous, happy and anxious as well. Just relax and focus on the spiritual journey you are about to embark upon.
There are a few things you must do before leaving for umrah:
-Remove unwanted hair from private areas, armpits. Trim nails.
-Make ghusl (full body wash) and apply perfume on your body.
-Wear your Ahraam garments now if you will find it difficult to wear them later on.
– Read two rakaats of nafal for traveling.
Now begins your magical umrah journey!
Umrah and its Four Pillars
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage and is, in short, an act of worship of Allah (SWT). It is based on the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his Sunnah. The pilgrimage is a visit to the House of Allah (SWT) and can be carried out any time of the year. It is known as a ‘minor pilgrimage’ in comparison to the ‘greater pilgrimage’ of Hajj. However, it holds great value and virtue in the eyes of Allah (SWT).
The Umrah comprises of four basic pillars:
· Saee between Safa and Marwah
· Cutting or shaving of Hair
So what exactly is Ihram? Ihram is a state that pilgrims enter and stay in while performing Hajj or Umrah. Entering the sacred state requires undertaking certain cleansing rituals and wearing the right clothes.
Whenever you look the house of Allah, you will see all the pilgrims in the same white Ihram attire, it creates total equality removing all financial and social differences between them. You can’t distinguish the rich from the poor when you go for Umrah.
There are also some restrictions under the Ihraam:
· Men are not permitted to shave hair or beards and cut their nails.
· Men are not allowed to wear stitched or woven clothes. For women, any fully white or black clothing that fully covers their body except face and hands is their Ihram. Thus, women are permitted to wear stitched clothes during Umrah or Hajj.
· Women should refrain from exposing any part of their body except the face and hands.
· Neither men nor women should wear any type of scent, including perfumes, deodorants, aftershaves, and scented soaps. You’ll be provided with unscented soaps for use during the trip.
· Pilgrims are not allowed to hunt animals or cut plants or trees.
Another important rule pilgrims must understand about Ihraam is, that it is not only about physical appearance and purity; it is also about niyyah or intentions. Niyyah for Umrah or Ihram must be made before crossing one of the Meeqats. Niyyah is the intention to perform any act of worship, which should be followed by Talbiyah, which is a special prayer that pilgrims recite repeatedly until they reach Masjid Al-Haram.
The word Tawaf has been derived from the Arabic word ‘Taafa, which means ‘to encircle something.’ In the context of Umrah or Hajj, Tawaf is the practice of performing seven anti-clockwise circuits of the Ka’abah. There are a total of five types of Tawaaf.
For the Umrah, you must enter Masjid Al Haraam with your right foot. Once you are close to the Holy Ka’abah, your tawaf can begin. Raise your hand to the black stone and say “Allah o Akbar”, at the green light which indicates the beginning of your tawaaf. You then start to walk anti clockwise around the Ka’abah, seven times.
You end your tawaf where you started and read 2 nafal at Maqaam-e-Ibrahim, ideally. But if its crowded, you can go anywhere in the Mosque.
You should also drink Zam Zam after your Tawaf is complete.
Like Tawaf, Saee is a mandatory step in Umrah. It’s the practice of walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times. After completing your Tawaf and performing Salah Al-Tawaf, return to Hajr Al-Aswad to carry out Istilam again before proceeding to the Safa hill to begin Saee.
Each time you reach the hills of Safa and Marwa, you should face towards the Ka’abah and say ‘Allah o Akbar’. You will find green lights in two places between the hills; this indicates the locations where Hajira ran in between the hills in search of water. It is mandatory for men to run in between these lights while women must walk briskly.
It is recommended to perform two Rakahs of Nafl Salah in Masjid al-Haram following Saee.
Cutting or Shaving of Hair, or Halaq
After you have completed Saee, the final step is either shaving your hair, which is highly recommended or cutting at least an inch of it. Without this final step your Umrah will be incomplete and you will not be able to exit your Ihraam.
You have now completed your Umrah! Congratulations! You can take off your Ihraam and return to your normal clothes.
Can I relax and sleep a while after arriving in Makkah, while in Ihraam? Before I perform Umrah?
Yes you can rest a while after your arrival even if you are in Ihraam. Sleeping does not nullify the Ihraam, only the wudu, which you must perform before starting your Umrah.
What is not allowed in Ihraam?
It is forbidden for every pilgrim while in his Ihram men and women to hunt, shoot, kill, sacrifice, capture, confine, destroy and abuse any land animal. This prohibition applies to every type of land animal, bird and insect other than marine animals. These activities will render your ihram null.
Are phones allowed inside the Haram?
Yes, they are allowed but it’s best to keep it on silent so as not to be distracted and disturb other pilgrims.