Umrah is a journey that can be fulfilled at any convenient time during the year. Especially for people that have certain time constraints and financial issues. The significance of Umrah is comparatively lesser than Hajj, however, it is just as fulfilling an experience. One must follow certain steps in order to secure the integrity and holiness of this journey.
As per the Quran, there are the following rituals to adhere to during this journey.
Ihram – When performing Umrah, before entering the Holy City of Makkah, you should be in Ihram.
Niyyah – After the reciting of prayers, perform Niyyah (i.e. express your intention to perform Umrah):
“O Allah, I perform Tawaf of Umrah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.”
Istilam– This act, whether you kiss the Black Stone, touch it by hand or utter a prayer while pointing by the palm of your hands towards the Black Stone is called Istilam.
Dhat Irq – This miqat is about 85 kilometers towards the northeast side of Makkah. This is the miqat for the people of Iran, Iraq and for those coming from that direction.
Tawaf – You may now begin your seven circumambulations, moving to the right so that you keep the Kaaba to your left, counter-clockwise, around the Kaaba.
Prayers During Tawaf – While performing Tawaf, there are no prescribed prayers but there are a number of supplications which are recommended.
Hateem– Hateem is a semi-circular section which originally formed part of the Kaaba but was not incorporated into the Kaaba when the Kaaba was rebuilt. You should include the Hateem in your circumambulations.
Completion of Tawaf – On completion of your seven circumambulations, men should cover their right shoulder, thus ending iddtibaa’.
Multazam – Between the Black Stone and the door of the Kaaba is a deeply holy place about two meters in length where it is very good to pray. If you are able to reach this place, pray to Allah for His mercy and for His beneficence.
Maqam Ibrahim- On completion of the seven circumambulations, you should approach Maqam Ibrahim (the Station of Ibrahim) and offer two short prayers (rakaat). Then, if it is possible, you should return to the Black Stone and touch it.
Safa & Marwa –You are then ready to perform the Sa’y, the shuttling between the two hills of Safa and Marwah.
Cutting of Hair – On completion of Sa’y, men may shave their heads or shorten/clip their hair. Women should clip their hair one or two centimeters.
The Umrah rituals are now concluded and the pilgrim can change into every day clothes. With the end of these rituals, Umrah is completed.