(part 1 of 2) Description:  An easy to follow guide outlining the essentials every Muslim must know about  Umrah , the lesser pilgrimage.  O...

(part 1 of 2)

Description: An easy to follow guide outlining the essentials every Muslim must know about Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage. 
·       To learn the importance of Umrah.
·       To learn the basic conditions associated with it.
·       To learn how to perform it.
Arabic Terms
·       Hajj – A pilgrimage to Mecca where the pilgrim performs a set of rituals.   The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which every adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their life if they can afford it and are physically able.
·       Ihram – A state in which one is prohibited to practice certain deeds that are lawful at other times.  It is necessary when performing the rites of Umrah and Hajj.
·       Izaar – A piece of cloth used as a waist-wrapper both by men and women.
·       Jihad – a struggle, to exert effort in a certain matter, and may refer to a legitimate war.
·       Kabah – The cube-shaped structure located in the city of Mecca.   It serves as a focal point towards which all Muslims face when praying.
·       Mahram – a person, man or woman related to a particular individual by blood, marriage or breastfeeding.  One he or she is not permitted to marry, such as the father, nephew, uncle, etc.
·       Miqat – A station wherein one would put on the garments of Ihram and enter the state of Ihram.
·       Niqab – Face veil. 
·       Ridaa – A piece of cloth (sheet etc.) worn around the upper part of the body.
·       Sa’ee – It is the walking and running between the hills of Safa and Marwa.
·       Safa and Marwa – Hills between which people walk and run during the Umrah
·       Talbiyah – The proclamation Muslims chant during the pilgrimage.
·       Tawaf – Circumambulation around the Kabah.  It is done in seven circuits. 
·       Umrah – A pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.    Often referred to as the lesser pilgrimage.   It can be performed at any time of the year.

Importance of Umrah

Umrah1.jpgIts importance is found in numerous texts; we will list them here in point form:
1.     “Be consistent and perform Umrah after having performed the Hajj; for indeed it will remove poverty and sins in a manner similar to a blacksmith who would purify iron, gold and silver.  Indeed the accepted Hajj has no reward except Jannah (Heavenly Abode).”[1]
2.     “Performing an Umrah followed by another will efface all the sins between the two.”[2]
3.     “The Jihad for the elderly, weak and women is Hajj and Umrah.”[3]

Pillars of Umrah

There are three pillars of Umrah:
IhramIhram refers to a state that one enters, wherein one is prohibited from doing certain things.  These include wearing perfume, clipping nails or cutting hair and covering the head with direct head-gear.[4]  A man wears two sheets called “Izaar” and “Ridaa” and he should leave his head uncovered.  The “Ridaa” covers the upper part of the body, whereas, the “Izaar” covers the lower part of the body.
scan0003 copyA woman can wear her regular clothing, but she should not wear gloves or a “niqab”.  She may draw her headscarf over her face in the presence of non-mahram men. 
TawafIt is the circumambulation around the Kabah.  A person does this seven times. 
Sa’ee: It is the walking and running between the hills of Safa and Marwa
These are the three pillars of UmrahUmrah also has two compulsory acts that must be met:
1.     Entering the state of Ihram from outside the Haram (sanctuary) area (from a Miqatstation). 
2.     Shaving or shortening the hair (for a man) and clipping a small portion for a woman. 

Procedure of Umrah

Once a person arrives at the Miqat station, whether this is by land or by air they must put on the necessary clothing of Ihram.  A man may wear perfume on his body before entering the state of Ihram, if he chooses, but not on his garments.  He should not apply perfume after entering the state of Ihram.
Before leaving the Miqat station, one should say: “Labaik Al’laahum’ma be-Umrah” (Here I am O Allah in response to Your call performing Umrah). Upon saying this one enters the state of Ihram.
They would then begin to chant the Talbiyah saying: ‘Lab’baik Al’laahum’ma Lab’baik, Lab’baika laa Shareeka laka Lab’baik, In’nal Hamda wan Ni’mata laka wal Mulk, Laa Shareeka lak’[5]
untitledThey continue to chant this until they reach theKabah and begin to perform the Tawaf.  A man is to uncover his right shoulder throughout theTawaf; this is done by placing the middle part of theRidaa under the right arm and tossing both ends of the sheet on the left shoulder. 
Thereafter one is to circumambulate around the Kabah seven times; each time begins from the Black Stone.  One is not required to physically touch or kiss it, but when one is in line with it, they begin their circumambulation at that point.  During the Tawaf one should be mindful of Allah, asking of Him and begging for His mercy.  One should avoid stoneidle talk and laughter, for this maybe a once in a lifetime chance which should not be squandered heedlessly!
It is praiseworthy for one to walk with a faster pace in the first three rounds. 
The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, would say the following between the Yemeni corner and the Black Stone:
Rab’bana Aatina fid-Duya Hasanah wa fil-Aakhirati Hasanah wa qi’na a’dthaban-naar
Meaning: O our Lord, bless us with goodness in this life and in the next life as well and save us from the torment of Hell. 
mqmibrm.gifWhen the seventh round is finished, one should cover their shoulder and perform a two unit prayer behind Maqam of Ibrahim (Station of Ibrahim[6]).  If this is not possible (due to crowds) then one can pray anywhere in the Mosque. 
After the prayer one should drink the Zamzam water for it is blessed.  The Prophet said: Zamzam water is for what it was drunk for.’[7]
With this, the first segment of the Umrah is complete.  As one approaches the hill of Safa they are to recite:
‘Innas-safa wal-marwata min sha’aa-iril-laah, faman hajjal baita a-wi’tamara fala junaaha alaihi an yat-tu-wafa bi-hi-maa wa man ta-to’wa’aa khairan f’innal-laah shaa-kirun aleem.’
Meaning: Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah.  So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs Umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them.  And whoever volunteers good - then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing.  (Qur’an 2:158)
After this one should say: ‘Ab-da’u be-maa bada-allaahu bihi.’
Meaning: I begin with what Allah has begun with.   
This is only said at the first time. 
Untitled-1111After this, one walks towards the slight incline on the hill of Safa and then faces theKabah.  This is a time where supplication is accepted and one should repeat their prayers three times. 
After this, a person should walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa and run between the green lights, until they reach the hill of Marwa.  Here one is to supplicate as they did at the hill of Safa.  This trip between the hills of Safa and Marwa is considered one trip; a person does seven trips starting from Safa and ending at Marwa.
The last step in the Umrah is to shorten or shave the hair for a man and to clip a small portion for a woman.  With this the Umrah is completed. 
In part two we will discuss important issues that pertain to Ihram and discuss important tips that one should be aware of when performing Umrah

[1] Tirmidthi
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[3] An-Nasa’ee
[4] More information on this is found in part 2. 
[5] Meaning: Here I am O Allah in response to Your call, here I am.  Here I am, You have no partner, here I am.  Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You.  You have no partner.
[6] This is the point where Prophet Ibrahim stood to build the Kabah. 
[7] Ibn Hibban

Umrah (part 2 of 2)

Description: An easy to follow guide outlining the essentials every new Muslim must know about the state of Ihram, a pillar for both Umrah and Hajj.
·       To learn the important factors that relate to the state of Ihram.
·       To avoid popular beliefs that are not substantiated with proof in Islam.
·       To perfect one’s Umrah through a keen sense of knowledge.
Arabic Terms
·       Umrah – A pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.   Often referred to as the lesser pilgrimage.  It can be performed at any time of the year.
·       Miqat -  A station wherein one would put on the garments of Ihram and enter the state of Ihram.
·       Talbiyah – The proclamation  Muslims chant during the pilgrimage.
·       Mahdthoorat – These are matters that nullify the state of Ihram; they should be avoided while one is in the state of Ihram.
·       Mubasharah – This is physical contact (skin to skin) with a woman.
·       Ihram – A state in which one is prohibited to practice certain deeds that are lawful at other times. It is necessary when performing the rites of Umrah and Hajj.
·       Kabah – The cube-shaped structure located in the city of Mecca.  It serves as a focal point towards which all Muslims face when praying.
·       Sa’ee – It is the walking and running between the hills of Safa and Marwa.
·       Tawaf – Circumambulation around the Kabah. It is done in seven circuits.
·       Rakah - unit of prayer.
In the previous lesson, we mentioned the conditions of Umrah and the procedure of how to perform it. As covered in part one, entering the state of Ihram is a pillar of this great ritual. Since it is a very essential part of the Umrah and Hajj experience, it is necessary to shed further light on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of this state.

Praiseworthy Practices

1.     It is preferable to take the ritual bath before entering the state of Ihram.
2.     Cutting the fingernails, shortening the mustache, and plucking/shaving armpit and pubic hair before entering the state of Ihram.
3.     Entering the state of Ihram after performing an obligatory prayer.[1]
4.     Saying the Talbiyah: ‘Lab’baik Al’laahum’ma Lab’baik… after entering the state ofIhram. Men should raise their voices while saying it and women can say it quietly to themselves.

Practices that should be avoided

Practices that should be avoided are referred to as ‘Mahdthoorat’ of Ihram. These actions are not lawful for one who is in the state of Ihram. They are divided into three categories; one specific to men, one specific to women and one that is relevant to both.

Prohibited for Men and Women during the state of Ihram:

1.     Cutting hair or shaving it from any part of the body.
2.     Clipping fingernails or toenails.
3.     Wearing perfume, regardless how subtle the scent.
4.     Hunting game animals.
5.     Consummating Marriage.
6.     Mubasharah (i.e. contacting a woman skin to skin) or doing a thing which may lead to it such as kissing or fondling.
7.     Sexual intercourse.

Specifically Prohibited for Men:

1.     Covering the head directly with a hat or a turban. Umbrellas or sitting in the shade of a vehicle or in a tent are allowed.
2.     Wearing sewn garments that are usually worn, such as under-pants, t-shirts and other similar articles of clothing.

Specifically Prohibited for Women:

A woman should not cover her face unless men pass by her. She can wear whatever she wants as long as it conforms to the Islamic dress code, and she should cover her hair and she should not wear gloves.

Doing the Mahdthoorat ignorantly

If someone does one of these ignorantly he is excused. Whoever does one of the aboveMahdthoorat after entering the state of Ihram intentionally would have committed a sin, and would be required to fast three days or feed six poor/needy individuals.

Practices that are Lawful

1.     Taking a shower.
2.     Wearing a ring.
3.     Wearing a belt.
4.     Wearing sandals.
5.     Using an umbrella.
6.     Using a bandage.
7.     Riding a bus.
8.     Wearing a watch.
9.     Wearing sunglasses.

Unauthentic Practices

Due to the sheer number of people who come from all walks of life for the Umrahthroughout the course of the year, it is important that one not give in to popular beliefs that may be carried by some. Islam is a religion of ease, not difficulty! Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And thus we have made you a just/moderate nation.” (Quran 2:143)
In light of this verse, we will mention here some odd beliefs carried by some. One should be watchful for them and not subscribe to them:
1.     Believing that you need a special pair of sandals for Umrah.
2.     Entering the state of Ihram before the Miqat station.
3.     Chanting Talbiyah in a unison voice with a group.
4.     Raising the hands, as done in prayer, when facing the Black Stone.
5.     Putting the right hand on the left hand during the Tawaf (circumambulation around theKabah)
6.     Making a specific supplication at each of the corners of the Kabah.
7.     Kissing the Yemeni corner[2].
8.     Seeking blessings from the Kabah by wiping its walls with a cloth or with the garment of Ihram.
9.     Kissing and touching Maqam of Ibrahim (Station of Ibrahim).
10. Praying two rakahs after completing the Sa'ee.
It is important for a Muslim to always follow the example of our beloved Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, for success lies in that.

[1] There is no specific prayer for the Ihram. The obligatory prayers are the five daily prayers a Muslim performs.
[2] While doing Tawaf the corner that comes before the Black Stone.



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Jama Masjid: Umrah
Jama Masjid
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