Talbiyah begins right after putting on the ihram and continues till a pilgrim reaches the Baitullah. This is the only recital which the ALLAH Almighty has prescribed for hajj and umrah.
The tawaaf (circumambulation) refers to the seven rounds which are made around the Holy Kaaba or Baitullah in a condition of ritual cleanliness. Each of these tawaaf rounds begins with the hajr-e-aswad (Black Stone) and ends with it and the istilam of the hajr-e-aswad is done at the beginning of each round. It means kissing the hajr-e-aswad or touching it with the hands and then kissing the hands. If the place is too crowded, a pilgrim can only raise his hands in its direction.
The saaee refers to the seven times round of the hill of Safa and Marwah. This also consists of 7 rounds which begin with Safa. A complete round extends from Safa to Marwah. Tawaaf and saaee is an essential part of the umrah. Umrah means paying a visit to the Holy Kaaba, circumambulation around it, walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah 7 times, and then shaving one’s head (for men) or clipping one’s hair short (for women).
Purpose of performing Umrah:
Umrah and Hajj both are Quranic terms that hold grand virtues and have an immense impact on one’s religious state. It is a memorial of the acts of profound love, ultimate sacrifice and unflinching faith in ALLAH Almighty that were displayed by Hazrat Ibraheem (AS), His wife Bibi Hajra, and son Hazrat Ismaeel (AS). It is a call of ALLAH Almighty which a believer should respond with utmost affection and submission. It teaches a Muslim all over the globe to be submissive to ALLAH Almighty and to keep Him in the centre of his existence. A Muslim should perform Umrah and Hajj with the intention of seeking nearness of ALLAH Almighty and experiencing His closeness.
Furthermore, these pilgrimages teach us the conception of brotherhood and unity in Islam. And last of all, what could entice a Muslim more than the promise of Jannah (paradise) and expiation of sins the pilgrims to the House of ALLAH Almighty should strive to internalise the reason of Umrah and Hajj, and grasp the wisdom behind each and every ritual. Verily, ALLAH Almighty rewards those who strive.
Difference between Umrah and Hajj:
Although both hajj and umrah are pilgrimages, there are certain differences between these two. While Umrah is a prescribed, non-obligatory or non-mandatory pilgrimage, Hajj is an obligatory one. Muslims can perform Umrah any time throughout the year, but they can only make the Hajj pilgrimage in the specified month of the Zil-Hajj another difference is that the Hajj includes more rites and rituals than an Umrah, and hence holds greater importance and reward.
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