Umrah

Umrah is a religious obligation offered by the Muslims around the Globe. Muslims visits Makkah and Madinah situated in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. It is not compulsory as Hajj but Muslims from all over the world performs it to have the Blessings of Allah Almighty and forgiveness of the sinful deeds or act they have committed in their life until now Umrah Packages. Umrah is not having a specific time as Hajj according to the Hijri calendar, it is performed throughout the year by the Muslims. A large number of Muslims goes to perform Umrah Packages in Ramadan to Makkah and Madinah because Umrah offered in Ramadan has blessing and reward equivalence to Hajj

Rituals

There are four major steps in Umrah. First is Ihraam which pilgrims wear at Meeqat. The second one is Tawaf that is done around the Khana Kaaba. The third one is known as Sa’i movement between the Safa and Marva, the two mountains. The fourth one is to come out of Ihram after the completion of Umrah.

When person plans to perform Umrah then he has to wear the Ihram in order to perform the rituals in Umrah. Men and Women should take a proper bath and if they can’t take bath at Meeqat it is not a problem but before this, they need to clean their body completely. Men’s wear Ihram while there is no specific dress for women but they need to cover their body leaving face and hand uncovered but if they want to cover it separate instruction are present,  that are they should cover their face and hand with a separate cloth Men’s Ihram constitute of a two piece white cloth. One piece named as Ridaa is worn on the top part of the body and Izaar is worn on the lower part of the body without any other thing beneath it.

After being in the state of Ihram you should enter to Masjid Al Haraam by placing the right foot first and saying some specific recitation and then after moving toward Kaaba close to the black stone then touch it with your right hand and kiss but if you are not able to do that point towards it and recite the specific recitations. You should keep walking in the direction that Kaaba should be on left, the corner is named as Yamaani corner if you can touch it but if you are not able to do it then point in that direction and recite the specific recitation. People are always look for Cheap Umrah Packages to avail good discount on the packages.

Coming to Tawaaf pilgrims have to complete the seven circles around the Kaaba then move to Mauqam-e-Ibrahim and pray 2 Rakhat close to the place as much as you can. After this Pilgrim move to Safa they reach the maximum height so that the Kaaba can be visible and then move to Marwa this process has to be repeated seven times followed by the specific recitations. This is done in order to remember the event of Hazrat Ibrahim’s wife, she did in search of water for his son Ismail

After the completion of this, the Men’s and Women’s have to cut their hairs, separate instruction is available regarding the hair cutting. Men’s shave their head while Women’s cut hair to a fingertip length After doing this the rituals of Umrah is completed and Pilgrims can come out from the state of Ihram.

Difference between Umrah and Hajj:

  1. Both are the religious obligation but Hajj is more important than Umrah as compared to the level of importance and method of observance.
  2. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and should be performed once in the life.
  3. Hajj is performed at a specific time of year according to Islamic calendar while Umrah can be offered at any time of the year.
  4. Umrah can be performed in hours while Hajj has more rituals and it takes mostly 5 days to complete all the rites.

History

During the time of Hazrat Muhammad's era, the Muslims wanted to get the right to perform Umrah and Hajj. During that time Mecca was occupied by Arab who used to worship idols.

The first military campaign related to the Umrah was the Nakhla Raid under the command of Hazrat Muhammad, Abdullah ibn Jahsh's was the commander. During this raid, one of Abdullah ibn Jahsh's men named as Ukkash ibn Mihsan, shave the head to hide the real motive of their journey and to give the Quraysh the hunch of Umrah for it was the month of Rajab when hostilities were prohibited. When the Quraysh see the shaved head of Ukkash, they thought that the group is on its way for pilgrimage and they felt grateful and began to set camp. They said, these people are coming to perform 'Umrah, so there is no need to fear. The sacred months of the Arab idol worshipper were the 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar according to the Muslim scholar Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri.

Hazrat Muhammad signed the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah on March 628. During this event Muslims March to Makkah to perform Umrah. People more often choose group package as they are Cheapest Umrah Packages offered by the travel operator.

Hazrat Muhammad also ordered the Expedition of Abu Qatadah ibn Rab'i al-Ansari (Batn Edam) on December 629 to divert intention regarding the attack on Makkah. He sends 8 men to attack a caravan passing through Edam. During this expedition, one Muslim was killed by another Muslim accidentally. After this, verse 4:94 of the Quran was revealed Ibn Kathir explain it as  Allah Almighty say to Muslims to be more careful when fighting in the way of Allah to reduce the chance of killing Muslims accidentally just as occurred in this incident.

Finally Hazrat Muhammad orders and took part in the almost entirely peaceful Conquest of Makkah in December 629. After the conquest, the people of Makkah who had early fought against the Muslims due to their beliefs and understanding were now afraid of punishment but Hazrat Muhammad forgives them. This was a significant moment where Hazrat Muhammad showed mercy instead of taking revenge from the people of Makkah. Thus, the right to perform Umrah and Hajj were insured.