The Performance of Umrah

1. When you reached the prescribed Station of ihram (al-miqat), make ghusl (a shower or fall washing of the whole body), and then put on the tow-piece garment of ihram (izar and ride), which preferably should be of white cloth. This applies to men only. A women also makes ghusl but she does not use makeup, and she may wear any clothes she has available as long as they do not display her adornments. She should be completely covered except of her face and hands. Then make your intention to perform Umrah by saying: “Labbayka Umra” or: “Labbayka Allahumma Umra”, as follows:

Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Innal-hamda wan-n’imata Laka Wal-mulk La Shareeka Lak”

(Here I am at your service. O Lord, here I am. Here I am. No partner do you have. Here I am, Truly, the praise and the favour is yours, and the dominion. No partner do you have.)

Men should utter this aloud while women should say it silently. Repeat this talbiyyah frequently, and engage in the praise of Allah, in supplications for forgiveness, and in the enjoining of what is good and forbidding what is evil.

During the state of ihram for Hajj or Umrah, the following are obligatory:

  1. To faithfully observe all that Allah has made obligatory, such as the daily prayers at their proper times.
  2. To avoid what Allah has prohibited, such as wrong-doing, quarrelling and committing sins.
  3. To guard against injuring the Muslims by deed or by word.
  4. To abstain from what is prohibited during ihram, namely:
    1. Do not cut your nails or pull out hair. There is no blame on you if these break or come off by themselves without your intending it.
    2. Do not use scent, whether on the clothes or on the body, or in food or drink. There is no harm if the effect of scent applied before putting on ihram remains.
    3. Do no kill, frighten or assist in hunting any land game as long as you are in ihram.
    4. Within the precincts of Al-Haram, no one, in the state of ihram or not, is allowed to cut trees, pluck vegetables or collect a lost property except for the sake of identifying it for its owner. For the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said so.
    5. Do not propose to a woman or contract marriage either for yourself or on behalf of others. Sexual intercourse is prohibited too, so is touching the apposite sex with desire. All these actions are prohibited during the period of ihram.

All these prohibitions apply equally to men and women alike.

In Particular:

  • A man may not put any covering on his head. However, the shade of an umbrella or the roof of a car is permissible. There is no harm in carrying something on the head.
  • A man may not wear a shirt or anything else which is sewn, such as a burnoose, turban, trousers, khuff (short, thin boot), on the whole or a part of his body.
  • It is forbidden for a woman to wear gloves on her hands or to cover her face with a face-veil (niqab) during the state of ihram. However, if male strangers are around her, she should conceal her face with her head-covering or something similar. These rules apply until she comes out of ihram.
  • If a person wears a sewn garment or covers his head (for men), uses perfume, pulls out some hairs, or cuts his nails through forgetfulness or due to ignorance, there is no fidyah (Expiation) for him. He should stop doing such things as soon as he remembers or is reminded of them.
  • It is permissible to wear sandals, a ring, a pair of glasses, a hearing aid, a wrist watch, and a belt or a girdle which protects one’s money or documents.
  • It is permissible to change one’s clothes and to wash them, as well as to wash one’s hair and body, and it does not matter if some hair inadvertently falls out during washing.

2. Upon reaching the Holy Mosque in Makkah, it is desirable that the pilgrim enter the Holy Mosque from Bab Al-Salam if possible. The pilgrim should advance his/her right foot first and say:

“A’udhu billahi-l-’adheem wa wajhihi-l-kareem wa sultaanihi-l-qadeem min-ashaytaani-rrajeem; bismillah, Allahumma Salli ‘ala Mohammed wa ‘aalihi wa sallim; Allahumma ighfir lee dhnubi w-aftah lee abwaaba rahmatik.”

(I seek refugee in Allah the Almighty and His noble countenance and His eternal power from Satan. In the name of Allah. O Allah, bestow Your peace and blessings on Mohammed and his family. O Allah, pardon my sins and open the gates of Your mercy for me.)

The above supplication is not specific to entering the Holy Mosque in Makkah but can be said on entering all mosques. Upon entering the Holy Mosque, the pilgrim looks at the Holy Ka’bah and rising his arms in supplication, he/she says:

“Allahumma zid hadha-l-bayta tashreefan wa ta’dheeman wa takreeman wa mahaabatan, wa zid min sharafihi wa karamihi mimman hajahu aw i’tamarahu tashreefan wa ta’dheeman wa takreeman wa birran”

(God Almighty, bestow more honour, glory, respect and awe on this House; bestow more honour and respect on whoever comes to it in Hajj or Umrah out of honour, respect, glory and devotion.”

Next, The pilgrim makes seven circuits around the Ka’bah, beginning at the Black Stone with takbir (utterances of “Allahu Akbar”), keeping the Holy Ka’bah to his/her left, and ending each at the same place . While making your tawaf you may praise Allah and make supplications to Him in any words you please. It is preferable to end each with the words.

“Rabbana, atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil-akhirati hasanatan wa qina adhaban-nar.”

(Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire.)

The first three laps around the Ka’bah should be performed in hurried steps if it does not result in any harm or inconvenience to one’s self or to others. For the remaining four laps around the Ka’bah the pilgrim should walk.

After completing the tawaf, the pilgrim should pray two rak’as behind the Station of Ibraheem (Maqam Ibraheem) if it is possible, even though you may be a little far from it. Otherwise at any other place within the Sacred Mosque.

3. You then go to as-Safa and climb on it. Facing the K’abah, praise Allah, raising your hands, say takbir (“Allahu Akbar”) three times. Then make supplication to Allah, repeating your supplication three times as this is the Sunnah. Then say:

“La ilaha illal-lah, wahdahu la shareeka lah.”

“Lahul-mulk wa lahul-hamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shayin qadeer.”

“La ilaha illal-lah, wahdahu, anjaza wadehu wa nasara abdahu wa hazama al ahzab wahdahu.”

(There is no deity except Allah, The One without a partner. He is the dominion and his is the praise, and He is powerful over everything. There is no deity except Allah, completed His promise, supported His slave and defeated the parties Alone.)

It is preferable to utter this supplication three times, but there is no harm in saying it less than three times. You then descend from as-Safa and do the sa’ye of the Umra seven times. Increase your pace between the green posts, but walk at a normal pace before and after them. When you climb on the Marwah, praise Allah and do as you did at as-Safa, repeating your supplications, if you can conveniently do so, three times.

There are no required formulas or supplications for tawaf and sa’ye. It is up to the worshipper to praise Allah or supplicate Him in his own words, or he may recite portions of the Qur’an, with due regard to the supplications which the Prophet (peace be on him) recited during the performance of these rites.

4. After sa’ye, end your Umra by shaving or shortening your hair. After this, the prohibitions pertaining to the state of ihram are lifted and you may now resume your normal life.

Brothers and sisters that follow the Jafaria mazhab need to perform a further tawaf, known as tawafun nissa.