The Umrah, also spelt as Umra, is an obligatory act of worship in Islam that all Muslims are ought to perform at least once in their lifetime. The word “Umrah’ itself means a pilgrimage to Mecca. Although, the significance of Umrah is comparatively less than the Hajj, however, the blessings received by pilgrims after performing Umrah is no less than the Hajj. The increased availability of Umrah packages from India has made this pilgrimage much feasible. An Umrah is considered absolute if performed in an enumerated way. Let’s discuss more about the essential aspects or pillars of Umrah in detail.
Ihram is considered as a sacred state, which a Muslim must enter into, in order to perform Hajj or Umrah. For entering into Ihram, men must wear the especially designed clothes for performing Umrah. While men are required to wear two white sheets of clothes, women can wear anything unpretentious and less revealing. Also, the Ihram is required to be worn before passing the Miqat (a place from where Ihram starts). Besides clothing, the state of Ihram is comprised of certain prohibitions, which the pilgrims must abide by for a successful pilgrimage. These prohibitions include hunting, sexual activity, shaving, applying perfumes, etc. Generally, Ihram clothing is included in the Umrah packages.
Tawaf signifies seven circumambulations around the holy Kaaba in an anti-clockwise direction. It is one of the principal rites performed by the pilgrims in Umrah as well as in Hajj. These seven rounds start and ends at Hajar-al-Aswad “the Black Stone.” Linguistically, the meaning of the word Tawaf is “to walk around.” Tawaf is an act of devotion which is performed by the pilgrims for connecting with the Allah spiritually. The Kaaba is a sacred and eminent site for Muslims, hence, the pilgrims encircle it.
Sa’i is a ritualistic walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times. While performing Sa’i, the pilgrims must seek mercy and blessings from Allah. Sa’i symbolizes the ongoing struggle we face in our everyday life, and hence the pilgrims seek courage and motivation from Allah to overcome them.
Tahallul is an Arabic word meaning “discontinuation of the ceremonial state of Hajj/ Umrah.” Upon the completion of Umrah, men must shave their head, and women must cut a small portion of their hairs. Upon the shaving, the pilgrims will be exempted from all the prohibitions of Umrah, and their Umrah will be accepted.
It is said that the accepted Hajj and Umrah has no reward except Paradise. Umrah and Hajj are believed to relieve people from their past sins and hold an important significance