Umrah, albeit not a compulsion by which, the Muslims are bound; still they have the dream to go in any event, once in their life span to record their vicinity in the sacred Haram. The Umrah is a combination of precise customs, which the Muslims completed in a specific arrangement, which was altered by Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself.
Necessary rites of Umrah are: entering in the state of Ihram, making Tawaaf (circumambulation), Saaee of Al-Safa and Al-Marwa mounts and in the end is escaping from Ihram after the shaving or trimming of head hair. These ceremonies are completed in the similar arrangement every time, one strove for the Umrah.
Heavenly voyagers coming there with Umrah niyyat or intention to the Holy Haram, there are certain places of incredible importance for the Muslims. These significant places include:
Janna tul Muala:
which is the cemetery of the populace of city Makkah, and it is also en route to the Mina, The grave of Um-Al-Momineen Bibi Khadija R.A (the first wife of the Holy Prophet) (Peace be upon him) and that of, the Prophet’s child Qasim, and different individuals from the group of Holy Prophet (PBUH), are spotted in this graveyard.
The cemetery is spotted near to the Al Haram Masjid and a person can without much of a stretch go there to pay praise and appreciation to the individuals cover there. There are 2 areas of this graveyard. One area contains older graves while alternate consist new graves and these are the graves of conventional residents. This graveyard is otherwise called Al-Hajun. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to visit it as often as possible. It is the 2nd holiest graveyard of Islam after Al-Baqi Graveyard.
The Jabale Noor:
The Jabale Noor, Which signifies “The Mountain of Light”, placed close the city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. It houses the cave Hira where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), got His first revelation in Arabic from ALLAH Almighty through blessed Angel Hazrat Jibraeel (AS). The Masjid-e-Kahf where thousands of Prophets are covered, the Masjid-e Uqba Ula, which is in Mina Makkah is a mark which is still as same as it was at the time of the Prophet (PBUH).
The Araafat, Mina and Muzdalifah which have their sanctity from their importance in the time of Hajj. Few different spots which include, the Masjid-e-Aisha, the Jabale Rahma, the Ghar e Hira, the Ghar e Toor, the Jannatul Maula the Qiswa Factory and the to wrap things up the Clock tower, Abraj Mall are in addition viewed as most gone by spots by the visitors of ALLAH Almighty. The Muslims dwell in any corner of the world has the deepest wish to visit the House of ALLAH Almighty, well-known as the Holy Kaaba, in city Makkah.
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Makkah and Madina are 2 sanctuaries of Islam. These cities are the most sacred cities for all Muslims. Unluckily, because of the ignorance or just plain carelessness, many Muslims visiting the holy cities do not observe correct manners. Excellent manners are necessary part of the Islamic Faith. This etiquette is universal and should be exhibited by each and every Muslim everywhere at all times. Though, in Makkah and Madina they should be extra diligent in showing dignity and respect in their behaviour.
A great number of booklets and books exist, in nearly all languages of the globe, about the rituals to be performed in city Makkah and Madina. Some of these books explain in detail the various tasks and activities of Umrah and Hajj. Many others outline countless Dua (supplications) and Quranic verses (ayats) suitable during Tawaaf (circumambulation) of Holy Kaaba. People have spent a huge deal of time and effort compiling duas for each and every little act of worship. Duas have been outlined for someone entering in Masjid-al-Haram or when performing Sa’ee (walk between Safa and Marwa hills).
People have also written books on the rituals of city Madina outlining the number and manner or behaviour of prayers to be conducted in Masjid-e-Nabawi even telling which part of the masjid to pray in. Other books describe how to act upon entering in graveyard of jannat-ul-Baqee and other places to visit while staying in Madinah. Even though such wealth of information exists about the rites and rituals, sadly, very few books pressure decorum while in the sacred cities of Islam. In addition, pilgrim escorts and guide also focus first and foremost on rituals. Many media outlets such as radio and television programs provide information for pilgrims but the focus is on the acts that should be performed and the readings to accompany them. Very slight is said about the manners required in Makkah and Madina.
There is a huge need for educating Muslims visiting Makkah and Madina to behave and act in a respectful manner. Additionally, the unfortunate reality is that an overwhelming majority of Muslim countries are usually under developed. The literacy rate in most of the Muslim countries is quite low. So, when pilgrims come to Makkah and Madina, they bring with them the similar unrefined manner of behaviour so general in such countries.
Unfortunately, our pilgrims have missed the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as well. For prayers to be accepted by ALLAH Almighty, it is Islam’s requirement that the body, the dress and the place should be clean (TAHARAH).
Likewise, good behaviour is a necessary requirement if we want our prayers are to be accepted. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) forbade pushing or jumping over people in order to make space for another person to pray.
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If there is much good in the 5 Obligatory every day Prayers in which the Muslims gather 5 times a day, we will find much good in performing Hajj which takes place once every year and umrah that is performed throughout the year. Accordingly, calling people to goodness is more during Hajj and Umrah, because pilgrims come from far-away places. Similarly, women are required to exert themselves to guide their Muslim sisters to what ALLAH Almighty has taught them. Therefore, men should guide pilgrims who come to Al-Bait and to visit the Masjid-e-Nabwi.
Women must guide her brothers and sisters performing Umrah and Hajj by telling them whatever she knows. This is what Muslims must do during Hajj and Umrah; they must cooperate with each other, guide to all that is excellent, and prevent damage wherever those performing Hajj and Umrah are present, whether in Masjid-Al-Haram or outside it, and during Tawaaf (circumambulation), Saaee, and all rituals of Umrah. Each person must be keen on bringing all that benefits their brothers and keeping damage away from them all over the nation and during all rituals of Umrah, hoping for ALLAH’S reward. They should be aware of the consequences of being unfair and harmful to others. This is implied by the following Ayah of Quran 3:96:
Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and guidance for the worlds.
It is full of blessings and guidance to all human beings because of the much good granted to the visitors of Holy Kaaba when they perform Tawaaf (circumambulation) and Saaee and say Talbiyah and Adhkar, which guide them to Tawheed and obedience of ALLAH Almighty. Therefore, they are guided to Al-Haqq by virtue of the reality that they come to know each other and advise and meet each other.
That is why it is described as full of guidance and blessings because it brings blessings and much excellent to its visitors by means of Talbiyah, Adhkar, and acts of submission that inform the Servants of their Lord and Tawhid and remind them of their duties towards ALLAH Almighty and His Messenger Prophet (PBUH) and towards those performing Umrah and Hajj, concerning advising them, cooperating with them, recommending them to hold fast to Al-Haqq, comforting the needy and poor and offering assist in all charitable ways of disposition. Those performing Hajj and Umrah should prepare themselves to be helpful to their brothers and be keen on doing well and preventing evil.
Verse 64:16 of Holy Quran;
So fear ALLAH as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of ALLAH]; it is better for your selves. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful.
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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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The Hajj (pilgrimage to city Makkah) is the 5th of the basic Muslim practices and institutions well-known as the 5 pillars of Islam. Pilgrimage is made to the Holy Kaaba, found in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia, the ‘House of ALLAH Almighty,’ whose sanctity rests in that the Hazrat Ibraheem (AS) built it for the worship of ALLAH Almighty. ALLAH Almighty rewarded him by attributing the House to himself, in essence honouring it, and by making it the devotional epicentre which all Muslims face when offering the namaz or prayers. The rites and the rituals of pilgrimage are performed today exactly as did by Hazrat Ibraheem (AS) and after him by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Pilgrimage is viewed as a particularly praiseworthy activity. Pilgrimage serves as a penance, the ultimate pardon for sins, devotion, and extreme spirituality. The pilgrimage to Makkah, the most holy city in Islam, is required of all financially and physically able Muslims once in their life. The pilgrimage rite starts a few months after Holy Ramadan, in the month last month of Zil-Hajj on the 8th day, and ends on the 13th day. Makkah is the center towards which the Muslims meet once a year, meet and revive in themselves the faith that all Muslims are equivalent and deserve the sympathy and love of others, irrespective of their race or racial origin.
Therefore the pilgrimage unites the Muslims of the globe into one international fraternity. More than 2 million persons perform the Hajj each year, and the rite serves as a unifying power in Islam by bringing Muslims of diverse backgrounds together in worship. In few Muslim societies, once a Muslim has made the pilgrimage, he is often labelled with the title ‘hajji’; this, though, is a cultural, rather than religious custom.
Finally, the Hajj is a manifestation of the faith in the oneness of ALLAH Almighty, all the pilgrims worship and obey the orders and commands of the One ALLAH Almighty.
At certain stations on the caravan routes to Makkah, or when the pilgrim passes the nearest point to those stations, the pilgrim enters the state of purity well-known as ihram. In this state, the particular ‘normal’ actions of the day and night become prohibited and impermissible for the pilgrims, such as clipping the fingernails, covering the head, and wearing normal garments in regards to men. Males remove their daily wears and don the garments particular to this state of ihram, 2 white seamless sheets that are wrapped around the body in a prescribed way. All this increases the sanctity and reverence of the pilgrimage, the city of Makkah, and month of Zil-Hijjah. After entering into the state of ihram, the pilgrim proceeds to Makkah and awaits the start of the Hajj.
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