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.
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’.
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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