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The Pillars and Exceptional Acts of Umrah – A Quick Guide

Umrah is often referred to as ‘Lesser Pilgrimage’ Umrah Packages Birmingham.  It is because it is not compulsory but involves the tour to Kaa’ba and perform certain rituals. A person who has performed Umrah prior to Hajj would find Hajj easier. The reason is that the person would have travelled to the desert country of Saudi Arabia, understood the transport and aerial route as well as experienced the crowd at the Holy Mosque. All these factors contribute to convenience in Hajj despite the rituals and acts of both this religious rite differing from each other. 

Prior to signing up for any Umrah Packages Birmingham, make sure that you are provided the details and counsel not only with respect to your journey but also about how to perform these rituals.  This article will enable you to learn about the pillars and the supererogatory acts of worship in Umrah.

The Pillars of Umrah

There are four important pillars of Umrah that are part and parcel of this religious practice. If one fails to follow one of these pillars the Umrah would not be considered as fulfilled. These four pillars are 

Acquiring The State of Ihram

The first and foremost pillar of Umrah is acquiring state of Ihram from the Meeqat. People attribute Ihram to a piece of clothing that men, on their journey to Kaa’ba wear but ihram actually means a sacred state of purity.  Bearing the state of ihram is a little different for men and women. While men are required to wear a two piece white cloth, women are supposed to wear abayas; long draping that hide the body well and are less revealing. 

Other than clothing the rest of injunctions are same. Men and women are not supposed to take part in any hunting activity, nor involve themselves in any kind of sexual activity. Use of any extravagancy is prohibited too. This means taking bath, or using perfumes is not permissible. The state of Ihram is meant to bring all people before God in their simplest real selves. The worldly luxuries are to be put behind and all rich and poor come before God in uniformity proving that all are equal in the eyes of God. 

Performing Tawaf

Tawaaf is moving around the Holy Kaaba seven times. Seven rounds, starting from Hajra-al-Aswad mean one tawaf. These rounds are taken in an anti-clockwise direction. One has to recite certain takbeerat and supplications while performing these circumambulations. 

The Sa’i Between Mount Saffah And Marwah 

Sa’i means effort. The long strides of walk or a little bit of trot between these hills is a significant part of the act of Umrah. This 450 meters of walking distance is covered by the pilgrims as part of a tribute to Bibi Hajar (A.S)and her baby, Ismaiel(A.S) who had to remain between these hillocks for seven days. There came a situation where the mother had no milk, as she ran out of water, to give her child and she started to run between these two mounts in hopes of finding any water body Ismael (A.S) was close to death because of thirst.  Later on, Allah helped these two by commanding Jibraeel (the Angel) to dig a whole stream of water. Today it is known to be the well of Zamzam. 

Hence, to pay tribute to the struggle of motherhood, the ritual is made to be practiced essentially not only in Umrah but also in Hajj.

Shaving The Hair

Also called as Qasr, the shaving of head for men and a small portion of women’s hair being cut, is the last step towards completion of Umrah. Some men may also not completely shave their heads but will have to shorten it close to being shaved head. Once this step is done, you could go to your hotel room or anywhere that you are staying and come out of the state of Umrah.

The Exceptional Acts of Umrah 

The exceptional acts of Umrah are recommended to further ease as well as increase the acceptance of your worship. 

These include bathing before assuming the state of Ihram and applying perfume. While performing Tawaf, uttering Takbir and Tahlil. At the beginning of Tawaf, try facing the Black Stone. Keep your hand raised while performing the tawaf. If possible to gently kiss the Black Stone, do so. Otherwise the crowd is just too large and such an act is not possible.

Keep in mind, that being on your best Ikhlaq and not causing any troubles to fellow Muslims is the prerequisite of these acts of worships. Thus, in trying to kiss Hajr-Al-Aswad, do not try to push others. It is not a fardh. 

For men, the suunah is to wear the Ihram, and leave their right shoulder uncovered to perform what is called as Al-Idtiba. According to Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his companions indicated their intention to conduct Umrah from al-Jiranah while wearing ihram clothing but leaving their right shoulders revealed, bringing their ihram up from under their right armpits while covering the left shoulder. (Ahmad & Abu Dawud)

Ramal is another act of Sunnah. It means walking vigorously or with speed to perform Tawaf. Carrying out the first three rounds in this manner are said to be more rewarding. However, if one could not do it in the initial three rounds, one does not have to make up for it in the last three rounds either. Al-Idtiba and Ramal are totally for men. 

Whether you perform the exceptional tawaf or the obligatory one, the sunnah is to perform two rakahs of nafl after the tawaf. 

Conclusion

Pilgrimage to the Holy City of Makkah and venturing on to Madinah are some of the dearest rites in Islam. All Muslims are always in hopes of completing these pilgrimages to seek forgiveness as well as to resume their life with a new spirit. Thus, to perform Umrah or Hajj, one needs to know all the essential and exceptional acts to perform well in these rituals.

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