Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is not as obligatory as the Hajj but is highly recommended for Muslims who can perform it. Umrah can be performed any time of the year, but the most popular times are during Ramadan and Dhu al-Hijjah.
There are four fundamental pillars to performing Umrah:
When performing the Hajj or Umrah, Muslim pilgrims must enter a state of ihram. This involves wearing unique clothes and abstaining from certain activities. The purpose of ihram is to help pilgrims focus on worship and avoid anything that could distract them from this goal.
Two main clothing items are worn during ihram. The first is an unsown garment known as an ihram robe, made of white cloth and covers the entire body. The second item is a belt known as an ainak, worn around the waist and helps keep the ihram robe in place.
Once a pilgrim has donned their ihram clothes, they must make an intention known as the niyyah. This is simply a declaration of their intention to perform the Hajj or Umrah. After this, they are considered to be in a state of ihram and must abide by certain rules.
Tawaaf is the Arabic word for ‘circumambulation’. In Islamic terminology, it refers to the act of circling the Kaaba seven times. The Kaaba is a cube-shaped building located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the most sacred site in Islam, and millions of Muslims travel to Mecca each year to perform the hajj pilgrimage, including tawaaf as one of its essential rites.
Circumambulating the Kaaba seven times is considered a highly spiritual act that brings one closer to Allah (God). It is a symbolic act of worship that demonstrates the submission to Allah and the love for Him. Tawaaf is usually performed clockwise, with the Kaaba in the centre. As Muslims circle the Kaaba, they recite prayers and verses from the Quran. The whole experience of performing tawaaf can be very moving and emotional, as it reminds us of our humility and insignificance before the Almighty.
After completing seven circuits of the Kaaba, Muslims usually perform two shorter circuits known as ‘Idtiba’. This is followed by praying and drinking water from the well of Zamzam, which is located near the Kaaba.
Saa’i is the act of walking seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwah. This ritual is symbolically important as it commemorates Ibrahim’s (PBUH) wife, Hajar’s search for water for herself and their newborn son, Ismail, who were both on the verge of death due to dehydration in the desert.
The walk between Safa and Marwah is also a reminder of the trials and tribulations that Muslims have faced throughout history. Pilgrims reaffirm their commitment to Islam and its values by undertaking this ritual.
As the last act to complete the Umrah, the pilgrim is required to cut their hair. Men have the option of shaving their heads or cutting the hair on their heads equally, while women only need to cut off a fingertip-length of hair.
There are two types of umrah: Ifrad and Tamattu’. Ifrad Umrah means performing Umrah only, without Hajj. Tamattu’ means performing Hajj and Umrah together. Both types have the same rituals except that in Tamattu’, pilgrims also perform Tawaf al-Wada’, the farewell tawaf around the Kaaba.
Planning your Umrah is possible but not necessary. You can opt for any one of the Umrah packages provided by the numerous operators in Malaysia.
Mecca is located in Saudi Arabia, and every Muslim who can afford to make the pilgrimage should visit at least once in their lifetime. Mecca is a holy city for Muslims, and it’s the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s also home to the Kaaba, which is a black stone cube that Muslims around the world face when they pray.
Medina, also known as the City of the Prophet, is one of the holiest cities in Islam. It is located in present-day Saudi Arabia, just north of Mecca, and was the first Muslim city and served as the capital of the Islamic Caliphate for many years. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself lived and preached in Medina for over a decade.
Today, Medina is still an important pilgrimage site for Muslims from all over the world. Every year, millions of Muslims visit Medina to perform Hajj or Umrah or to pray at the Prophet’s Mosque – one of the largest mosques in the world. Medina is also home to many historical and religious sites, such as the Mount Uhud battlefield and the Quba Mosque – the first mosque in Islamic history.
While visiting this city is not part of Umrah, most Umrah packages will include Medina in the package due to its historical significance.
If you’re wondering when the best time to go for Umrah is, the answer depends on a few factors. One of the most important things to consider is whether you want to avoid the peak season. The peak season for the Umrah pilgrimage is usually during December and January, as well as May and June. This is when most people take their vacation from work or school, so prices for flights and accommodation are usually higher. If you’re flexible with your dates, try to travel outside these months to get the best deals.
Another factor to consider is whether you want to go during Ramadan. This is a holy month for Muslims, and many people choose to perform Umrah during this time. Remember that Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadan, so you’ll need to be prepared for this if you choose to travel during this time.
Finally, consider whether you want to go on one of the Umrah packages or go independently. Umrah packages can often be cheaper and provide more support, but they may not be as flexible if you want to change your itinerary.
Most pilgrims usually prepare a budget between RM9,000 and RM15,000. However, the amount of money you will need to bring depends on several factors, such as the length of your stay, your accommodation choices, and whether you are travelling alone or going on one of the Umrah packages. Additionally, if you plan to perform Umrah during the peak season, you may need to budget more as prices tend to be higher during this time.
While there is no set amount of money that you must bring for Umrah, it is always best to err on the side of caution and bring more rather than less. This will ensure that you have enough money to cover your expenses and enjoy your pilgrimage without worry.
With so many Umrah packages out there, it is important to select the right package to ensure you have a pleasant experience. One of the first things that you need to consider is when you will be visiting and your budget. The other details you should consider are what is provided in the Umrah package, such as accommodation, meal arrangement, and more.