Performing ‘Umrah in Ramadan

Performing ‘Umrah in Ramadan
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Allah, The Almighty, urged His slaves to race to do good deeds, which may bring them closer to Him in an attempt to gain His reward and forgiveness. This is indicated by the verses (which mean):

  • {So race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together.} [Quran 5:48]
  • {And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord.} [Quran 3:133]
Among the greatest arenas for this race is visiting Al-Bayt Al-Haraam (Sacred House in Makkah) to perform ‘Umrah (Minor Pilgrimage), owing to the great reward and the expiation of sins involved in doing that . The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:
  • “Performing two ‘Umrahs expiates the sins committed in the interval between them .” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  • “Alternate between Hajj and ‘Umrah, for they exterminate poverty and sins as the (blacksmith’s) bellows removes impurities fromiron, gold and silver.” [Ahmad and others]
The ‘Umrah that is performed in Ramadan has a special merit over that which is performed in any other month. There are narrations encouraging Muslims to perform it in this month, showing its merit and reward and clarifying that it incurs a reward equal to that of performing Hajj. According to Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said to Umm Sinaan Al-Ansaariyyah, may Allah be pleased with her – as she did not perform Hajj with him: For Umrah in the month of Ramadan is equivalent (in reward) to performing Hajj once with me.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Another version reads: “An ‘Umrah performed in Ramadan is equal (in reward) to performing Hajj once.” [Ahmad and At-Tirmithi]
This was the practice of the righteous predecessors who used to perform ‘Umrah in the month of Ramadan. It was authentically reported that Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr and Mujaahid  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them used to perform ‘Umrah in the month of Ramadan (and observe Ihraam for it) from Al-Ji‘irraanah (a place 10 miles from Makkah). It was also narrated that ‘Abdul-Malik ibn Abu Sulaymaan said that he and ‘Ataa’  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them  set out in Ramadan (to perform ‘Umrah) and observed Ihraam from Al-Ji‘irraanah.
This discloses the secret behind the Muslims’ race towards the Sacred House to do this act of worship in the month of Ramadan. With that great scene, one feels as if in a major season of Hajj.
Hence, we should provide a reminder of some rules of ‘Umrah, and how to do it.  Generally, ‘Umrah includes four main requirements: Ihraam (state of consecration), Tawaaf (circumambulation); Sa‘y (moving between As-Safa and Al-Marawah), and shaving or shortening the hair of the head.
Once having the intention to perform ‘Umrah, the Muslim is recommended to have a wash and apply perfume, and then put on the clothing of Ihraam after removing form-fitting clothes, like trousers and the like (for men only).
It is recommended (Sunnah) for men to wear lower and upper garments. As for women, they may wear whatever clothes they want, provided that the clothes cover their bodies and are free of adornment. It is prohibited for women to put the veil on their faces except when men pass by them. They are also prohibited to wear gloves.
After that, one should pray two voluntary Rak‘ahs intended as a Sunnah of ablution.
There is no prayer that should be made especially for Ihraam. After the prayer, one should make Talbiyah for Ihraam, saying: “Labbayka ‘Umrah.” Then, one should start Talbiyah, saying: “Labbayka Allahumma labbayk, Labbayka lashareeka laka labbayk. Innalhamda wanni'mata laka walmulk, laa Shareeka lak.” (O Allah, here I am at Your service. There is no partner to be associated with You. Praise, blessing and dominion are Yours. There is no partner to be associated with You).
A person in the state of Ihraam should say Talbiyah as frequently as possible as it denotes the verbal slogan of the ‘Umrah rite. This is especially emphasized in various conditions and times, as while ascending a high place or descending to a lower place, or at nightfall, and the like. Talbiyah should be said till the onset of Tawaaf.  
When arriving at Al-Masjid Al-Haraam, one should enter with one’s right foot and say: “Bismillaah wa as-salaatu wa as-salaamu ‘ala rasoolillaah. Allahumma ighfir li thunoobi, waftah li abwaaba rahmatik” (In the Name of Allah, peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah! Forgive my sins, and open to me the doors of Your Mercy.) One should enter the mosque with humbleness, glorification of Allah, The Almighty, and recalling the Grace of Allah Who Has facilitated for him/her the arrival at Al-Bayt Al-Haraam.  
Then, one should move toward the Black Stone, starting Tawaaf from there. One should touch and kiss it if possible. If not, one may merely point to it from afar, saying: “Bismillaah. Allahu Akbar!” (In the Name of Allah. Allah Is The Greatest). One should not throng with others in an attempt to reach it. One is supposed to make seven rounds starting from the Black Stone and finishing at it. At the beginning of each round, one should say: “Allahu Akbar” (Allah Is The Greatest). It is favorable that one touches the Yemeni Corner that precedes the Black Stone in every round if possible. It is not permissible, however, to kiss it or point to it if one cannot manage to do so. Between the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone, one should recite the verse (which means):
{Our Lord, Give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.} [Quran 2:201]
During Tawaaf, one should remember Allah, The Almighty, supplicate Him and recite something from the Quran. There are no specific supplications that should be said in every round.
It is recommended to uncover one’s right shoulder, placing the middle part of the upper garment under the armpit and putting the ends of the garment on the left shoulder, in all the rounds. It is also recommended to quicken one’s pace with short steps in the first three rounds. Upon completing the seven rounds, one is supposed to proceed to the Maqaam [standing place of Ibraheem (Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention] and recite the verse (which means): {And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Ibraheem a place of prayer.} [Quran 2:125] Then, one should perform two Rak‘ahs behind the Maqaam if possible. Otherwise, one should make them elsewhere in the Mosque.
After that, one should proceed to the do Sa’y, and while approaching As-Safa hillock, one may recite the verse (which means): {Indeed, As-Safa and al-Marwah are among the Symbols of Allah.} [Quran 2:158] Then, one is to ascend As-Safa till one can see the Ka‘bah, to look at it and raise one’s hands and supplicate Allah, The Almighty. In this regard, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) used to supplicate Allah, The Almighty by saying: “Laa Ilaaha Ila Allah, wahdahu laa shareeka lah. Lahulmulku wa lahulhamdu, wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in Qadeer. Laa Ilaaha Illa Allah wahdah. Anjaza wa‘dah, wa nasara ‘Abdah, wa hazama Al-Ahzaaba wahdah.” (There is none worthy of worship except Allah, to Him no partners should be associated. To Him are the Sovereignty and Perfect Praise, and He is Competent to do everything. There is none worthy of worship except Allah, Who fulfilled His promise, supported His Slave and defeated the parties).” This is to be mentioned thrice, with supplications in between.
Then, one is to descend As-Safa proceeding to Al-Marwah and hurrying between the two green pillars without crowding others. When reaching Al-Marwah, one should ascend it, face the Qiblah, raise his hands and make the supplication that he made on As-Safa, without reciting the verse (which means): { Indeed, As-Safa and al-Marwah are among the Symbols of Allah .} [Quran 2:158]
With that, one has completed one out of the seven rounds. Then, one is to descend from As-Safa, walking, where walking is required and hurrying where hurrying is required, till the end of the seven rounds, starting with As-Safa and finishing with Al-Marwah.
Upon the completion of Sa‘y, men are supposed to shave or shorten their hair - shaving is better. As for women, they should shorten their hair by just trimming an amount equal to a fingertip.
With shaving or shortening one’s hair, the acts of ‘Umrah are finished, and the person has come out of the state of Ihraam. Thus, everything that was forbidden in the state of Ihraam becomes lawful.
Finally, the Muslim should not miss this chance. He should take advantage of this noble time and place and do many voluntary acts of worship and obedience, especially in the blessed month of Ramadan and in the blessed place of Al-Masjid Al-Haraam. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “One prayerperformed in my Masjid (mosque) is better than one thousand prayers performed in other mosques save Al-Masjid Al-Haraam. Also, one prayer performed in Al-Masjid Al-Haraam is better than one hundred thousand prayers performed in other mosques.”  [Ahmad]
One should be most cautious not to commit any violations or sins that may eliminate the reward, and cause one to come back with loads of sins. As reward is multiplied in such a place, sins which are committed there are not the same as sins that are committed elsewhere. Allah, The Almighty Says (what means): {And [also] whoever intends [a deed] therein of deviation [in religion] or wrongdoing - We will make him taste of a painful punishment.} [Quran 22:25]
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The most hateful among people to Allah are three … A person who deviates in religion at Al-Haram.” [Al-Bukhari]
May Allah guide us all to good words and deeds, and accept from us.

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