Umrah is a pious ritual being performed by Muslims all around the year. Though, it is not necessary for every able-bodied Muslim, but is extremely recommended. In Arabic, the term 'Umrah' means a visit, and in Islamic term or terminology, it refers to a pilgrimage to Makkah by Muslims from different regions. Often called as the 'lesser' or 'minor' pilgrimage, whereas the Hajj being the 'major' one, it is of two different kind. When carried out in combination with Hajj, it is known as Umrat al-tammat, and when performed independent of Hajj, it is called asal-Umrat al mufradah.
As per Islamic Shariyah, the situation for Umrah to get accepted is to strictly follow the entire four Pillars' that include wearing Ihram, Tawaaf or circumambulation, Saaee, and Tahal-lul. Let us talk about all these rituals in detail, which are also the resulting steps of completing Umrah.
Ihram: The meaning of Arabic term 'Ihram' is to make something prohibited (Haram). For a person to enter in the state of Ihram means that particular permissible (Halaal) things are now forbidden for him. This is done previous to reaching the Meeqat, the boundary line of Makkah which can be reached through several routes. Men must take bath, wear two-piece garments, Rida (for covering the top half of body), and Izaar (for covering the lower half of body), and apply perfume to beard and head, but not the Ihram clothing.
Women must also take bath, however they are not necessarily required to wear any specific piece of clothing. Although they are not permitted to wear the face veil (Naqaab) and hand gloves. As the pilgrims are about to reach at station of the Meeqat, they are necessary to pronounce the Niyyah (intention) of Umrah and say the Talbiyyah (statement). Hence, they must be already in the state of Ihram before entering in Makkah for Umrah.
The next step is to enter the Prophet's mosque i.e. Masjid al-Haram through Bab-as-Salam. To start doing it, you require to perform Iztaba, which is to bare the right shoulder from the Ihram item of clothing. As you reach Hajr-e-Aswad (the Black Stone), the starting point of Tawaaf or circumambulation, touch the Hajr-e-Aswad with your right hand and kiss it (the act of kissing is called Istilam).
After expressing the niyyat, start doing tawwaf of the Kaaba in counter clockwise direction. For the first three rounds, men must walk with pace, and for the rest of the Tawaaf, they can walk normally. This practice is known as Ramal and is a Sunnah.
The literary meaning of Saaee is to run. As for Hajj or Umrah, it refers to running between the hills of Safa and Marwah back and forth, seven times.
It is the last and fourth pillar of Umrah that indicates the coming out from the state of Ihram. Completely shaving off the head hairs (Halq) for men and Women must only clip their hair equal to the length of a fingertip.
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