How to Perform Umrah

Fiqh (Islamic law and literature based on the teachings of the holy Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad) describes in detail carrying out the rites of Umrah, and pilgrims generally follow handbooks and expert guides to successfully fulfill the requirements of Umrah. 

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Step 1

Niyyah

Every pilgrim has to be clear about their intent (niyyah) whether for Umrah or Hajj before they start their journey.

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Step 2

Ihram

Ihram is a sacred state in which every pilgrim must enter before crossing the pilgrimage boundary, known as Mīqāt, both physically and spiritually. 

They leave material life behind and embark into a state of submissiveness for Allah.

A pilgrim must not use any scents on the body or on the robes, they must be clean (purified) before wearing the white seamless ihram clothing (different for men and women), and then pray two Raka’at (units of Islamic prayers) of Salah al-ihram signaling the start of a pilgrim’s ihram.

There are other various guidelines for Ihram that are mandatory (Mustahab) as instructed by 

the Prophet (PBUH) and others that are preferable.

When flying on pilgrimage, measures are often taken so that pilgrims will remain in the state of Ihram when flying above or alongside the stations of Miqat (the destination points from where pilgrims start their Hajj & Umrah).

The Ihram is meant to show equality of all pilgrims with no difference between the rich and the poor, men and women in front of Allah.

There are different destination options for Miqat around the Masjid AlHaram (The Great Mosque of Makkah) boundaries for pilgrims traveling to the holy land:

  • Dhu’l Hulaifah (Abbyar Ali) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through Madinah 
  • Al-Juhfah (near Rabigh) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through the Levant countries, Morocco, Egypt or Sudan.
  • Qarn-al manazil (As-Sail Al-Kabeer) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through Najd or Taif, including the GCC countries.
  • Yalamlam (Sa’adiyah) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through India, Pakistan or Yemen.
  • Dhat `Irq is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through Iraq.

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Step 3

Talbiyah

Talbiyah is the unique prayer said while on the journey towards Makkah, in supplication to attain Ihram. It is the conviction that pilgrims intend to perform Umrah only for Allah. By repeating it over and over, they get themselves ready for the spiritual journey and further from non-spiritual concerns. Each pilgrim has to repeat the supplication:

 “لَبَّيْكَ ٱللَّٰهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ ٱلْحَمْدَ وَٱلنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَٱلْمُلْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ”

“Here I am O Allah, here I am. Here I am. You have no partners (other gods). To You alone is all praise and all excellence, and to You is all sovereignty. There is no partner to You.”

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Step 4

Tawaf

Upon entering the holy mosque in Makkah, every person should perform Tawaf. This is the act of circling around the Kaaba counterclockwise seven times.

Tawaf begins and ends from the sacred black stone located in front of the Kaaba. During Tawaf, pilgrims will repeat any Dhikr (phrases of prayers) that they wish to say. While crossing the black stone it is a Sunnah (a traditional practice of the Prophet (PBUH)) to repeat this Dua’a (prayer).

 

"ربنا آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار"

"Rabina Atina Fid-Dunya Hasanatan Wa Fil Akhirati Hasanatan Waqina Adhaban-Nar”

 

When facing the black stone, pilgrims will raise their right hand and repeat “Allahu Akbar” -  God is the Greatest. 


The first three rounds should be fast and the remaining four should be slower (in practice today however; the sheer number of pilgrims makes everyone go slower). At the end of the Seventh circle, pilgrims will offer two Raka’at (units of Islamic prayers) in front of Makam Ibrahim (a stone that signifies the work of Ibrahim and Ismail who worked on rebuilding the Kaaba).

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Step 5

Sa’i

Sa’i is the ritual of walking back and forth between two hills known as Safa and Marwa seven times. 

"إن الصفا والمروة من شعائر الله فمن حج البيت أو اعتمر فلا جناح عليه أن يطّوّف بهما ومن تطوع خيرًا فإن الله شاكر عليم" [البقرة 158]

 

{Al Safa and Al Marwa are among the symbols of Allah. It is not a sin on whoever performs Hajj or Umrah in the house of Allah to perform Tawaf between them. And whoever does good all is knowing and is appreciative} [Surah Al-Baqarah 158]

 

During the walk between the two hills, pilgrims give any Dua’a (prayer) they wish to make for themselves, families or loved ones. Every Muslim walking between the two hills is reliving the story of Hagar, Prophet Ibrahim’s wife who desperately ran seven times between the two hills in search of water for her thirsty son. Her search only ended when Ismail stamped his foot and the water of Zamzam well came gushing from the spot. Pilgrims must pace between the two points seven times as well. After prayer at Maqam Ibrahim, pilgrims also drink water from the Zamzam well, which is made available in coolers throughout the Mosque.

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Step 6

Halq or Taqsir

Every pilgrim performing Umrah must either cut their hair or shave it completely (for women, it’s typically cutting just a single lock of hair) to signify rebirth and purity after their spiritual journey. This act signals the exit of the pilgrim's Ihram and marks the completion of the Umrah process.

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Disclaimer: All content related to religious protocols and details on Hajj & Umrah processes etc has been compiled from multiple credible resources and is not to be considered as an official religious guidance.

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