How to Perform Umrah? (the lesser pilgrimage) is one of Islam’s greatest blessings and one of the simplest religious acts to do. With that said, it’s essential to have some background knowledge before you perform Umrah to maximize your time while there and don’t make any significant mistakes that could have lasting consequences in your future worship. Undermentioned are five things you should know before performing Umrah.
1. What’s an Umrah?
An umrah is a spiritual pilgrimage to Mecca. It is made at any time of year. Although many choose to perform their Umrah during Ramadan, it can be performed throughout the year. There are three pillars to an umrah: entering ihram (donning unique clothing), performing Tawaf (circumambulating) Kaaba seven times, and going to Safaa and Marwah (two hills in Mina).
The male pilgrim must also shave his head after the completion of Umrah. A female need not do so unless she wishes to. But shaving hair is not mandatory for women as long as they cut two inches above/below their regular hair length and don’t apply colors or use perfumes. However, due to local customs, most women shave off all their hair while performing Umrah.
2. When can I travel to Mecca?
The most optimal time to travel to Mecca is during five prescribed months: The Sacred Months, which are Shawwal, Dhu al-Qi’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, and Muharram. These are considered sacred because they mark a significant event in Islamic history. The first, second, and fourth months coincide with important pilgrimages to Mecca.
The third month commemorated when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. And since Muharram marks a significant tragedy for Muslims (the death of Husayn ibn Ali), it isn’t advised that you go on Hajj or Umrah during that month.
If you can’t make it during these months, however, there’s no need to worry — you’ll still be able to perform Hajj later if you so choose; it’s never too late!
3. Preparing for the Journey
The trip to perform Umrah doesn’t have to be an epic journey. Depending on your location, you can often make it a day trip. But it is still important to remember that you are going on a pilgrimage, and even though it’s short, there are some preparations you need to make: Dress in clean clothing: It’s recommended that women wear loose-fitting clothing and cover their hair with a scarf or veil.
Men should also choose clean, modest attire for their trip. Wearing nice clothes makes you feel more confident and honoring your destination. How much does it cost? In general, umrah costs less than Hajj—typically $1,000-$3,000 compared to $6,500-$8,000 for Hajj.
4. Basic Etiquettes in Mecca
Mecca is considered to be one of the holiest places on earth. Millions of pilgrims visit Mecca and Medina every year for Hajj, ziyarat, and Umrah. People who haven’t made it to Mecca before, here are some general etiquettes you should know before your visit: Rest assured, your pilgrimage will be far more enjoyable if you can follow these essential tips; beforehand! Don’t miss a single story from Entrepreneur Middle East.
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5. Dress Code
Men must wear pants that fall to their ankles, women should wear loose clothing and a headscarf, and no shorts are allowed for either gender. Men and women are not allowed to show any body parts except for their hands or face. People worldwide come together in Mecca to perform Umrah, so it is advised to dress in modest clothing as a sign of respect.
While visiting Islam’s holy city, men and women who aren’t married to each other should always travel together and stay with relatives or friends. Similarly, it is inappropriate to be seen walking alongside someone of your opposite sex—so don’t do it! Furthermore, unmarried men and women cannot share taxis or rooms when performing Umrah, which makes traveling even more difficult.
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