Performing Umrah in Ramadan carries immense value and religious significance. Umrah is considered a lesser form of Hajj and whoever performs Umrah with pure intention earns the highest pleasure of Allah (SWT). It is truly an enriching experience to see people from all over the world joined together in fasting and performing Umrah for the sake of their Lord Almighty. Virtues of Umrah in Ramadan can be understood by the following Hadith:
Al-Bukhaari (1782) and Muslim (1256) narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to a woman from among the Ansaar – Ibn ‘Abbaas mentioned her name but I forgot it – “What kept you from performing Hajj with us?” She said: We only have two camels and the father of her son and her son had gone for Hajj on one camel, and he left us the other camel so that we could carry water on it. He said: “When Ramadaan comes, go for ‘Umrah, for ‘Umrah in (that month) is equivalent to Hajj.”
In another Hadith, narrated by Ibn 'Abbas (Radhiallāhu 'anhu):
When the Prophet (Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam) returned after performing his hajj, he asked Umm Sinan Al-Ansari, "What did forbid you to perform hajj?" She replied, "Father of so-and-so (i.e. her husband) had two camels and he performed hajj on one of them, and the second is used for the irrigation of our land."
Prophet of Allah (Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam) said (to her), "Perform umrah in the month of ramadan, (as it is equivalent to hajj or hajj with me (in reward)."
[ Sahih Bukhari - Book 29, Hadith 86 ]
The given Hadith clearly highlights the importance and benefits of Umrah in Ramadhan. It is considered the best time to perform Umrah and whoever performs it during the holy month of Ramadan gets the reward equal to a Hajj. However, it should be noted that performing Umrah in Ramadan does not discharge a person from the obligations of Hajj. Both the terms become equivalent in rewards but not in fulfilling the duty. Umrah is not obligatory whereas Hajj is compulsory for every Muslim if the person is capable of performing it.
Millions of Muslims from every corner of the world gather in the Grand Mosque to achieve closeness to Allah by fasting and worshipping together. It is truly a breathtaking sight when a sea of people breaks their fast during Iftaar with a common objective which is to connect to Allah (SWT).
Umrah is a spiritual journey and pilgrims travel to Mecca to seek the mercy of Allah (SWT) with their heart filled with love and gratitude. It is an enlightening experience for every believer, one that they would remember for a lifetime and be always thankful. Umrah is a blessing throughout the year but it holds special significance in the sacred month of Ramadan, an experience that every Muslim should try to accomplish.