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How to Perform Umrah - Useful Guide for Pilgrims

The main pillars (arkaan ) of Umrah are 4.

1. Ihraam
Ihraam is assumed at the Meqaat,

2. Tawaaf:
Tawaaf is around the House of ALLAH Almighty, which consists of 7 circuits. 3. Saaee:
Saaee is between the hills of as-Safa and al-Marwa, which consists of 7 circuits.

4. Tahallul:
It means coming out of the sacred state of Ihraam, making legal and lawful what which was previously forbidden during the state of Ihram.

IHRAAM:
Ihraam is assumed at the specified station of Meqaat, or on the plane before passing the Meqaat. The men are to change into their garments of Ihraam whereas the women only need to make their niyyah or intention at that time in the garments they are already wearing. There is not any specific clothing designated for female, except that they are forbidden from wearing the Niqaab (face-veil) and hand gloves. Certainly, it is mandatory and correct that women must cover their faces and hands (usually), but (at this time) it is prohibited for them to do so using the Niqaab and hand gloves. As for men, they should also assume their Ihraam at the station of Meeqaat by wearing two pieces of fabric called the Izaar and the Ridaa' The Ridaa' covers the top half of the body, whereas the Izaar covers the lower half of the body. No other garments are allowed to be worn in addition to these. As for women, their Ihraam is limited to just their faces and hands. They are not allowed to wear the niqaab (face-veil) or gloves, but should assume Ihraam in their regular garments. Unlike men, they women not have any kind of special clothing to wear.
THE NIYYAH:
The intention (niyyah ) is made at the station of Meeqaat to begin the state of Ihraam.




THE TAWAAF:
The Tawaaf of the Sacred House The Holy Kaaba consists of making 7 circuits around it. The Tawaaf always begins at the Hajr-e-Aswad (The Black Stone). Each circuit of the Tawaaf begins at the Hajr-e-Aswad. By pronouncing the Takbeer (saying ALLAHU Akbar), pilgrim begins the first round. Each time the pilgrim tawaaf the Holy Kaaba and returnsn back to the point of the Black Stone, he should repeat the Takbeer when pointing at the Hajr-e-Aswad. If the Pilgrim (a person in the state of Ihraam) is capable to do so, he may kiss the Hajr-e-Aswad. Or if the crowds are too much heavy, just pointing in its direction with your hand is also sufficient. Do not oppress or causes harm other pilgrims around you in your attempt to kiss or touch the Hajr-e-Aswad. The Tawaaf consists of 7 circuits. The completion of 7 circuits of tawaaf means you have completed the Tawaaf al-Qudoom (TheTawaaf of Arrival). The Tawaaf is to be performed in a way that the first 3 circuits are performed as "Ramal", i.e. taking quick short steps, do not run with long strides. This is walking, with fast pace for the first three circuits only. The remaining 4 circuits are completed by walking at your normal speed. When beginning the Tawaaf pilgrim (male) should adjust his Ridaa (top piece of Ihraam) by lowering the right side under his right armpit and throwing the end over his left shoulder, therefore exposing his right shoulder. This way of wearing the Ridaa is just done for the 7 circuits of the Tawaaf. The Ramal is a manner of fast speed in walking, and it is done only for the first 3 circuits. The remaining 4 are accomplished in your normal walking pace.

The Tawaaf is to be performed in a way that the first 3 circuits are performed as "Ramal", i.e. taking quick short steps, do not run with long strides. This is walking, with fast pace for the first three circuits only. The remaining 4 circuits are completed by walking at your normal speed. When beginning the Tawaaf pilgrim (male) should adjust his Ridaa (top piece of Ihraam) by lowering the right side under his right armpit and throwing the end over his left shoulder, therefore exposing his right shoulder. This way of wearing the Ridaa is just done for the 7 circuits of the Tawaaf. The Ramal is a manner of fast speed in walking, and it is done only for the first 3 circuits. The remaining 4 are accomplished in your normal walking speed throughout. This is the full description of the Tawaaf. Remember, while performing it, the Pilgrim should make dua and supplicate to ALLAH Almighty by any means he wishes. This can be done in Arabic or in any language other than Arabic language such as English. What is significant is that the Pilgrim should ask ALLAH Almighty from his heart, while aware of the meaning of what he is supplicating for. It is not fine that pilgrim makes dua and requests something when he or she does not even understand what he is asking for. The Pilgrim descends to the well of Zamzam, where he or she drinks the water of Zamzam. Verily, water of Zamzam is not just a nutrient, but it is also a cure from many diseases. He or she drinks as much Zamzam water as his stomach can hold.



SAAEE:
At this point the pilgrim now moves towards the small hill, named as-Safaa and recites the ayah or verse of ALLAH Almighty: Verse 158 of surah Al-Baqarah;

Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of ALLAH. So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs 'umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them. And whoever volunteers good - then indeed, ALLAH is appreciative and Knowing.

After completing the supplication (dua), descend from the hill of Safaa and head towards the hill of Marwa until you reach the first and second green coloured pillars (indicating the historical bottom of the valley between the two hills) and run quickly between these 2 green pillars. This running in the valley reminds us of the actions of Bibi Hajra, who when descending into the valley between the 2 hills of Safaa and Marwa, ran quickly in order to climb to the top point on the other hill and therefore be able to see if her infant son, Hazrat Ismaeel (AS), was in pain or not.

We remind ourselves of the tolerance, sacrifice, and duty the mother of Hazrat Ismaeel (AS), Bibi Hajra, undertook for the sake of ALLAH Almighty. So we continue all 7 routes between Safaa and Marwa the similar way: walking until the green coloured pillars, then running in between them, then walking the rest of the distance to the next hill. When reaching at the hill of al-Marwa, you should climb it part of the way up, face the Holy Kaaba and recite the dua (supplication) and then your own dua. Leaving from al-Marwa, walk back towards Safa, until you reach the "Green Mile" and then run as before. This goes until you complete 7 circuits and end up on al-Marwah. Some of the unaware people assume that one complete round is going from Safa to al-Marwa then from al-Marwa back to Safaa. This is wrong. Going from Safaa to Marwah is 1 complete circuit, and going from al-Marwa back to Safaa is another complete round. Thus, you commence the Saaee on as-Safaa and complete it on al-Marwa; after seven rounds. This completes the third pillar of 'Umrah.



TAHALLUL:
Now we come to the 4th and the final pillar of 'Umrah, which is the shaving or the cutting the head hair. This takes pilgrim out of Ihraam (known as Tahallul).Shaving the whole head is better than cutting the hair. Cutting the head hair completes the order of rites and rituals of the 'Umrah, and this brings you out of the condition of Ihraam (Tahallul), therefore making Halaal (permissible) to you that which was forbidden during the sacred condition of Ihraam. You may wear scented oils or perfume, wear a casual dress like "Qamees" or a turban, etc. You are now free of Ihraam and have become one who is able to enjoy and participate with pleasure in those things now allowable with out Ihraam As ALLAH Almighty mentioned in verse 2:196 of Holy Quran:

And complete the Hajj and 'umrah for ALLAH. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs 'umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear ALLAH and know that ALLAH is severe in penalty.

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