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What is the significance of Umrah?

Introduction: Umrah

Umrah (Arabic word- means “to visit a populated place”) is the minor pilgrimage performed by Muslims at the sacred place “Mecca”. In other words, Umrah can be defined as a shorter version of the annual Hajj gathering. Umrah opens the gateway for Muslims to refresh their faith, seek forgiveness, and pray for their needs. Umrah can be performed in any month of the year but it is observed that the majority of the pilgrims prefer to perform the Umrah pilgrimage during Ramadan, or the two Islamic Lunar months. Muslims believe that during these holy months, there is more mercy and acceptance of prayers, as well as a greater reward for worshipping.

The purpose of performing Umrah is to build a stronger connection with Allah, get Allah’s pleasure, and attain the countless rewards associated with the act of worship. Muslims also believe that anyone who proceeds with this spiritual journey of Umrah purifies their body, heart, soul, and mind from their past sins.

In this blog, we are highlighting the significance of performing Umrah:

Location of Umrah:

Umrah is situated at Masjid-al-Haram in Makkah, the sacred city for Muslims that hosts the holy Kaaba, known as the sacred home of God. This holy city, Mecca is located in the Hejari region of Saudi Arabia. Depending on their location, pilgrims can reach the holy city of Makkah by air or road. After performing Umrah, the pilgrims can ride to the Masjid-e-Nabwi in Medina, the second holy city for Muslims for their prayers.

Benefits of Umrah:

Umrah has a lot of spiritual values for Muslims, and thus, some of the benefits of performing Umrah are as follows:

  • The major benefit of performing Umrah is that the pilgrim gets the pleasure of Allah. Once they succeed, pilgrims will get all the virtues in this world and life after death.
  • Umrah helps in strengthening faith.
  • This spiritual act of worship also helps in seeking forgiveness for sins.

Rituals Performed during Umrah:

A pilgrim visiting Makkah to perform Umrah, he/she needs to perform the following rituals:

  • On reaching the Masjid-al-Haram in the state of Ihram, recite Talbiyah to announce the arrival at this holy place while walking towards the holy Kaaba.
  • Get engaged in deep prayers, and circle the Kaaba seven times in an anti-clockwise direction. Each circle should take approximately 20 minutes to complete, starting from the sacred black stone situated at the eastern corner of Kaaba (if the area is not too crowded).
  • On completing the circles, move to the Maqam-e-Ibrahim (The Place of Abraham), for praying and reciting verses from the holy book, Quran. On getting completed, walk to the Zamzam holy well, the sacred water.
  • After this, pilgrims move to Mount Safa and Mount Marwa to perform the Sai ritual, which involves walking back and forth between the two hills seven times.
  • Once Sai is completed, the pilgrim (only males) needs to undergo Taqsir, the obligation of shortening one’s hair that marks the completion of Umrah. While, the female pilgrim need to cut the hair equal to the length of their fingertip. Hence, after this, the pilgrim is no longer required to adhere to the restrictions of Ihram.

Significance of Umrah:

Umrah is not obligatory like Hajj, but still, it is highly recommended and holds great significance among Muslims. So, here are some of the significance of Umrah:
Spiritual Cleansing and Renewal:
Umrah is a spiritual act of worship allowing Muslims to purify their souls and seek forgiveness for their sins. Umrah opens the gateway for them for self-reflection, repentance, and a fresh start on the path of righteousness.
Proximity of the Kaaba:
During Umrah, pilgrims perform anti-clockwise circles around the Sacred Kaaba i.e. Tawaf. Tawaf is the central ritual of Umrah. Kaaba is regarded as the House of Allah, and being in its proximity is a spiritual experience for Muslims.
Following the footsteps of Prophet Mohammad:
Among the rituals of Umrah, retracing the steps of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), his wife Hagar, and their son Ismail (Ishmael) is very important. Also, the pilgrims perform Sai between the Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, to reenact Hagar’s search for water for her son.
Supplication and Prayer:
Mecca, the holy city for Muslims is a place where supplications are believed to be answered. Pilgrims utilize this time for praying for themselves, their families, and the entire Muslim Ummah.
Fulfillment of a Sunnah:
Umrah is regarded as a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad and following the traditions of the Prophet holds great significance in Islam, while the best way to emulate his actions is Umrah.
Expressing Gratitude:
Pilgrims express their gratitude to Allah for the opportunity to perform Umrah. Also, Umrah is the best way to acknowledge the blessings and favours bestowed upon them.
Preparation of Hajj:
The pilgrims willing to plan to perform Hajj then, Umrah pretends to be a good preparation as it familiarizes them with all the rituals and practices in the larger pilgrimage.

FAQs:

Umrah is an Arabic word that means “to visit a populated place”. Hence, Umrah can be defined as the minor pilgrimage performed by Muslims at the sacred place “Mecca”.

The major benefit of performing Umrah is that the pilgrim gets the pleasure of Allah and forgiveness for sins. Once they succeed, pilgrims will get all the virtues in this world and life after death.

Some of the rewards that a pilgrim would attain by performing Umrah are forgiveness of sins, blessings of Allah, and purification of the soul.

The purpose of performing Umrah is to build a stronger connection with Allah, get Allah’s pleasure, and attain the countless rewards associated with the act of worship.

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