In Arabic, Umrah literally means to visit a populated place but in Shariah terms, Umrah means to perform Tawaf of Kaabah and Saa’ee between the hills of Safa and Marwah after assuming the state of Ihram from a Meeqat. A Muslim who can afford to visit Makkah, it is a Sunnah Muawakkadah for him to perform Umrah once in his lifetime. However, it is prohibited to perform Umrah during the time of Hajj i.e. from 9th Dhul Hijjah to 13th Dhul Hijjah.
It is narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Umrah becomes an atonement for the sins committed between one and the next Umrah”. (Bukhari, Muslim)
It is narrated by Abdullah ibn Masood (RA) and Jabir (RA) that the Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Perform Hajj and Umrah again and again for both remove poverty and sins in the same way as the furnace removes the impurities of gold, silver and iron”. (Tirmidhi and Nasa’i)
The most important acts of worship during Umrah, also called the four pillars of Umrah are:
(a) To assume the state of Ihram after reciting Talbiyah with the intention of Umrah.
(b) To perform Tawaf i.e. the seven circuits of Kaabah
(c) To perform Sa’ey between the hills of Safa and Marwah (after Tawaf) and to begin it from Safa and end it at Marwah.
(d) To Perform Qasr i.e. shaving of head (male pilgrim) or clipping of hair (female pilgrim)
The important Sunnah rites of Umrah are as follows:
Note: It is recommended to consult and seek an opinion from scholars on doubtful Islamic matters.