What is Umrah?
Umrah is a lesser pilgrimage and a Sunnah of Prophet that is completed by Muslims who visit the Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The word Umrah actually means ‘a visit to a sacred or important place’ and millions of Muslims from all across the world perform Umrah all throughout the year.
How do I perform Umrah?
Umrah is comprised of four Islamic rituals that are expected to be performed. The very first stage of Umrah is to enter the state of Ihram, but before this stage, performers must purify and cleanse themselves – this can be done by taking a bath and applying perfume. The next ritual to perform is the Tawaaf (circumambulation) of the Sacred Ka’Bah in Mecca which has to be in an anti-clockwise direction. Next is Sa’y, which includes walking back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times, and finally Halq, which is where men completely shave their heads, or for women, Taqsir, a partial shortening of the hair. These rituals complete the Umrah and thereafter the pilgrim can leave the state of Ihram.
Why perform Umrah?
Umrah is a very important religious service and it’s an act of Worship to Allah. The service is not mandatory, however, it’s recommended by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The most significant purpose of Umrah is to clear one’s soul from any sins and impurities. It is an amazing and rewarding experience which has much significance and reverence. Umrah is also named as a minor or lesser pilgrimage, and it can be performed any time of year, except for the five days of Hajj. Umrah can be performed many times in a Muslim’s lifetime and it’s a journey of forgiveness, honour and glory.
- - Those performing Umrah must be a Muslim
- - Those performing Umrah should be an appropriate age
- - Females can only perform Umrah if they are aged 45 and over and if there is more than 2 of them
- - Women under 45 years of age who want to perform Umrah must be accompanied by a Mehram (e.g. male relative)
- - The accompanying Mehram must be at least 17 years old
- - If females have a different surname to the Mehram, they need to submit proof of relationship (e.g. birth certificate or marriage certificate).
Umrah performers and pilgrims are asked not to take any written material, posters or pictures for propaganda or political purposes into Saudi Arabia.