Umrah is among many acts of worship, and it is considered a minor pilgrimage. Every Muslim desires to visit the Holy Ka’abah in Masjid Al-Haram, Makkah. Just like any Ibadah, we refresh our faith, seek repentance for our sins, and strengthen our connection with the Almighty. Umrah is a way to uplift an individual’s spirit, purify the mind and soul, and is the best way to strengthen the faith in the Almighty and get closer to Allah. Umrah’s act is also compared to jihad, and the individual is protected from poverty and mishaps. Muslims should keep in mind the following etiquette for performing Umrah:
- The first and foremost thing to do before starting your pious journey is whether male or female – to take a bath, clip your nails, and shave your pubic and armpit hairs before entering into the state of Ihram. For men, it is advised to trim their mustache and the beard to be neither be shaved nor cut short; rather, it should be left to grow at all times. As for hair of the head, removing anything from it is not recommended while entering into the state of Ihram, whether for a male or a female pilgrim. In a Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (SAW):’
- “Do the opposite of what the polytheists do. Keep the beard and cut the mustache short.” The male pilgrim should not apply perfume on his body and not on his dress. As stated in a Hadith recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslims on the authority of the mother of the faithful Aishah (RA) who said: “I applied perfume to the Prophet with my own hands when he wanted to assume the state of Ihram, and I also perfumed him at Mina before he departed from there (to perform Tawaf-al-Ifadah).” It is said that if the time of an obligatory prayer coincides with the time of assuming Ihram, then the pilgrim should assume Ihram after the prayer. It’s recommended for the pilgrims to pray two Rak’ahs after making the ablution.
- Men are supposed to enter the state of Ihram with two clean unsewn sheets, one for the lower body and the other for the upper body. After entering the state of Ihram, Muslims should recite “Allahumma Labbayka… ” (Here I am, O Allah, answering Your call for Umrah) if he is performing ‘Umrah alone or Hajj Tamattu”. In case of is performing Hajj and ‘Umrah combined (Qiran) or Hajj alone (Ifrad), he should make the Talbiyyah accordingly. It’s said that it’s supposed to be read out, but softly. After pronouncing the intention, the pilgrim should add, “Fayas sirhu li wa tagabbalhu minni (make it easy for me and accept it from me). After this, he should start reciting the Talabiyyah: “Labbayk Allahumma labbayk, labbayka la sharika laka labbayk, innal-hamda wanni ‘mata laka wal-mulk, la sharika lak.
Meaning: “Here I am at Your service, O Lord here I am. Here I am, no partner do you have. Truly, the Praise and Favour are Yours, and also the Dominion; no partner do You have.” It is essential that the pilgrim recite this Talbiyyah with an attentive mind and sincere heart.
- In cases where the pilgrim fears that he might not be able to perform his rites due to some illness or fear of an enemy, it is advised that he says, while entering into the state of Ihram, “Fa’in habasani habisun famahilli haythu habastani”
[O Allah, if I am held back by anything, my place of termination of Ihram is the place where you hold me.] which does not allow the pilgrim to conclude his rites occurs, he is allowed to terminate the Ihram without making any expiation.
- If the time of assuming Ihram coincides with the prescribed time of an obligatory prayer, he should assume Ihram after the prayer, and if it is not the time of prayer, then he can perform two Rak’ahs after making ablution and regard such prayer as Sunnatul-Wudu for no supererogatory (prayer) is recommended for Ihram. If the time of assuming Ihram coincides with one of the times in which (voluntary) prayers are forbidden, then he should enter into his Ihram without performing any prayer at all.
- An intending pilgrim who is coming parallel with a Miqat (in a plane) should make the intention of entering the state of Ihram and should not delay it, especially if he is traveling by air because of the speed. If such a pilgrim prepares Ihram from his house or from the airport (before he boards), it is safer. If he’s not able to, then he should wear the Ihram garment before the airplane approaches parallel to the Miqat and enter into the state of Ihram with his intention when it reaches the parallel. If a pilgrim assumes Ihram before arriving at the Miqat, his Ihram is valid though, the Sunnah is to assume Ihram at the Miqat.
- Men are supposed to raise their voices when saying this Talbiyyah frequently phrase. Whereas, women are supposed to raise their voice with the Talbiyyah as much as the other women beside her can only hear it and it is disliked if a woman raises her voice to the extent that an alien man can hear her.
- The pilgrim must continue to recite the Talbiyah until he arrives at the Sacred Mosque in Makkah. On arriving there, it is recommended that the pilgrim step forward his right foot and say:
Bismil-lah, wassalatu wassalamu ‘ala rasulil-lah, A’udhu bil lahil-`Azim wa biwajhihil-karim wa sultanihil-qadim minash shaylanir-rajim, Allahummaftah li abwaba rahmatik.
“In the Name of Allah, and prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah. I take refuge with Allah, The Supreme and with His Noble Face, and His Eternal Authority from the accursed devil. O Allah, open the gates of Your mercy for me.” Muslims must say this when entering the mosque.
- Continue with the Talbiyyah until you reach the Ka’bah. On reaching there, you must stop the Talbiyyah before starting the Tawaf. Make the intention in your hearts and start your First phase of Umrah. Every Muslim must try to show submissiveness, helplessness, and humility before his Lord. The pilgrims should make sure that they are clean from major and minor impurities because Tawaf, like Salat as far as ablution is concerned. But the main difference is that you are allowed to speak with one another, unlike the obligatory prayers. The starting point of the Tawaf is the Blackstone, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad.
- The Tawaf is making seven rounds keeping in mind that the Ka’bah should be on their left side, avoiding facing or backing it. If you get the chance to get closer to the stone, touch it with your right hand and kiss it. This is not advised as compulsory due to cases where it’s forbidden if you are hurting others when performing it. After concluding the Tawaf, the pilgrim must proceed to Maqam Ibrahim (Station of Abraham) and perform two Rak’ahs behind it if that is easy.
- Then drink Zamzam water, which is abundantly available everywhere in the mosque. Then comes the second phase of the Umrah. Pilgrims must proceed to the mountain of Safa for circumambulating between it and Marwah.
- Pilgrims then must proceed to the mountain of Safa for circumambulating between it and Marwah. When he approaches it, he recites Allah’s statement:
“Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are the Symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin for him who performs Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safâ and Al-Marwah). And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allah is All-Recogniser, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:158) After reciting this verse on this occasion, there is no need to repeat it again at any time or anywhere in his Sa’y. Then you must go up to Safa if it is easily possible until you are able to see the House if you can see it. Then face its direction, even if you don’t see it, and then raise your hands for supplication and not as he would do when making the Takbir of prayer. He then says: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Walillah al-Hamd then he continues: La ilaha illal-lahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahul-mulku wala-hul-hamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadir, La ilaha illalhlahu wahdah, anjaza wa dah, wa nasara ‘abdah, wa hazamal-ahzaba wahdah.
“None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without a partner. To Him belongs all sovereignty and praise, and He is over all things omnipotent. We return, repent, worship, and praise our Lord. Allah fulfilled His promise, aided His Servant, and single-handedly defeated the allies”, afterward, supplicate and then repeat the above invocation, and then supplicate. You may repeat it again a third time if it does not find it difficult to do so. After this invocation and supplication, descend towards Marwah.
- At Marwah, men must quicken their pace in-between the two green lights, if it is easily possible and without bothering anyone. Messenger (SAW) in this regard nor did he have a supplication for any particular round. One should instead supplicate for whatever goodness of this world and the Hereafter one wants, remember Allah or recite the Qur’an. On arriving at Marwah, the pilgrim ascends the mountain until he is able to see the Ka’bah. He then raises his hands in supplication and does what he did at Safa, without reciting the verse:
“Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are the Symbols of Allâh. So it is not a sin for him who performs Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah). And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allah is All-Recogniser, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:158).
- Recitation of this verse is recommended only when coming to the mountain of Safa at the beginning of the first round of Sa’y. A journey from As-Safa to Al-Marwa is counted as one round and a journey from Al-Marwa to As-Safa is also counted as another round. After finishing the seventh round at Marwah, male pilgrims must ensure that this trimming covers all parts of their heads. As for a woman, she only cuts the size of a fingertip from every plait of her hair, or she collects all her hair and cuts the size of a fingertip from its end.