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Performing An Umrah

Jabir (RA) said, “The Prophet (PBUH) ordered his companions to perform Umrah and to perform the Tawaf (of Ka’bah, As-Safa & Al-Marwa), and then cut short their hair and finish the Ihram.” (Chapter 11, Book of Al-Umrah, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3).

This  hadith  acts  as  a  guideline  for  the  steps  of  performing  Umrah;  omission  of  any  of  these steps is not allowed. On the basis of this narration (along with other ahadith), the procedure of performing Umrah, step-by-step, as agreed by all scholars unanimously, is as follows:

Entering the state of Ihram  

  • Ihram is first of the rites of Umrah; it is one of the pillars of Umrah, and whoever neglects this, his/her Umrah is not complete.
  • When someone intending to perform Umrah (or Hajj) reaches the ‘Meeqat’, he/she then enters the state of Ihram. ‘Mawaqeet’  (plural  of  ‘Meeqat’)  are  the  stations  for  initializing  the Ihram.
  • It is obligatory for everyone intending to perform Umrah (or Hajj) that he/she assumes Ihram  before  entering  Mecca beyond  these  points  (the  ‘Mawaqeet’);  anyone  who passes  these  points  knowingly  without  Ihram  must  return  back  to  the  ‘Meeqat’  for  Ihram, otherwise the violation requires a Fidyah i.e. slaughter of a sheep in Makkah (for distribution to the poor).

Forming an Intention To Perform Umrah

  • After assuming Ihram the pilgrim pronounces his/her intention for performing Umrah.
  • After this, the pilgrims may start reciting ‘Talbiyah’, thereby announcing that he/she is now in state of Ihram.

Tawaf (circumambulation) 

The pilgrim, upon reaching Mecca, goes to ‘Masjid Al-Haram’ to perform other rites of Umrah. It starts with Tawaf of the Kabah.

Tawaf means circumambulation of the Kabah, done in seven rounds around the Kabah in anti-clockwise direction i.e. keeping Kabah to one’s left. The round starts from the corner of ‘Black Stone’ and ends at the same corner. After completion of seven rounds around the House, one should perform prayer near ‘Maqam-e-Ibrahim’; the stone (or place) on which Ibrahim (AS) stood while constructing the Ka’bah is called ‘Maqam-e-Ibrahim’.

Performing Saey

After completion of Tawaf, the pilgrim goes to perform Saey, which is the next rite of Umrah.

Saey refers to going to and fro between the two mountains of As-Safa and Al-Marwa; these mountains are located near the Kabah.

Cutting the hair

After completion of the Saey, the pilgrim cuts his/her hair. There are certain rulings associated with cutting of hair as a rite of Umrah.

  • A male pilgrim can either shave or cut his hair. However, shaving the head is more preferred and recommended for male pilgrims. The Prophet (PBUH) himself shaved his head, and he supplicated more for people who shaved their heads. This tells us that the Prophet (PBUH) preferred shaving over cutting the hair.
  • A female pilgrim cannot shave her head; she should only cut her hair. This is proven from following narration.

With this, the rites of Umrah are completed, and the pilgrim can finish his/her Ihram. All the restrictions of Ihram are no more applicable after this.

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A Quick Guide on Umrah for all Muslims

IHRAM – Before reaching Miqat

  • Before Ihram: Remove unwanted hair, trim nails and take bath & ablution (wudhu).
  • Put on clothes of Ihram – 2 white un-sewn pieces of cloth for men and regular clothes for women. Women should not cover their faces during Ihram & men should not cover their heads during Ihram.
  • On entering state of Ihram a pilgrim must say holy words (i.e. Talbiyah).

TAWAAF (Circling the Ka’bah 7 times)

  • Before proceeding to the starting point of Tawaaf, Al-Hajarul-Aswad (The Black Stone), men only -uncover right shoulder by placing Ihram underneath right arm-pit (this is known as Idhtiba).
  • When beginning each circuit, make a sign with your right hand towards al-Hajarul-Aswad (The Black Stone).
  • Men should walk briskly (Raml) during first 3 circuits only, the remaining 4 circuits are done at a normal pace completely around until 7th circuit. No particular supplication (Duaa) is essential during Tawaaf.
  • Duaa (supplication) can be made during Tawaaf, except it is Sunnah to recite the following when going between Ar- Ruknul- Yamani (Yemeni Corner)
  • Once Tawaaf is complete, cover your right shoulder and offer 2 rakaats anywhere behind the Station of Ibrahim – or anywhere in the Haram: Recite Surat al-Kafirun in 1st raka’a and Surat al-Ikhlas in the 2nd raka’a.
  • Drink Zam-Zam water – Make Du’aa

SA’EE (Completion of 7 rounds Safa & Marwah)

Begin Sa’ee at Safa. Complete walk from Safa to Marwah (one circuit), then Marwah to Safa (second circuit) and continue for seven circuits, finishing at Marwah. Upon encountering green lights, men only – run from one light to other light while women walk slowly toward safa and marwah.

Shaving Head/Trimming

After completing Sa’ee:

  • For Men: shaving entire head is preferable or cut hair equally from all over head;
  • For Women: cut one-third finger-length of hair.

Remove Ihram, as all restrictions are now lifted. Umrah is now complete and wait for morning of 8th of Dhul-Hijjah.

*Any person intending to perform Hajj opts for either one of the three types of Hajj:

♦ First Umrah, then Hajj with another Ihram–this type of Hajj is called HAJJ AL-TAMATTU and it is considered the best of the three forms of Hajj. It is the one that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) urged is followers to perform and is the one adopted by most pilgrims from overseas

♦ Umrah and Hajj with a single Ihram is called QIRAAN

♦ Hajj only; without any Umrah is called IFRAAD

Visiting Madina – Masjid-Al-Nabawi – Masjid Quba

Visiting Madina is not an obligatory act for either Hajj or Umrah, but there is great value in visiting Al Masjid-Al-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque).

The Prophet (SAW) has said:

“One prayer in this mosque (Madina) of mine is better than 1,000 prayers offered anywhere else except the Masjid Al- Haram (Makkah), and one prayer in Masjid Al-Haram is better than 100,000 prayers in any other mosque.”

He (SAW) also said:

“Whoever makes ablutions at home and then goes and prays in Masjid Quba (the first mosque built in Islam), will have a reward like that of an Umrah.”

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