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What is Umrah?

In Arabic, Umrah means “to visit populated place”. However, in Sharia, Umrah means “performing tawaf round the Kaaba with Ihram and then sa`y between Safa and Marwah. Umrah can be performed at any time of the year.

Description of Umrah and its rules: Umrah is visiting Kaaba with Ihram, performing tawaaf and sa`y and getting hair cut with no time constrain except on the day of Arafah and Eid Days (5 days).

Fard of Umrah: Putting on Ihram and performing Tawaaf (circumambulations of Kaaba). Putting on Ihram is must but tawaaf is a rukn (a part of Umrah)

Wajeebs of Umrah: Performing Sa`y (the shuttling between the two hills of Safa and Marwah (this is a rukn in other mazhaps) Shaving hair or shortening it. (These are wajeebs for Hanafi and Maliki but a rukn for Shafi and Hanbali). Doing Umrah once in life time is a Sunnah Al Muekkad for Hanafi and Maliki and Fard for Shafi and Hanbali.

Locations of Miqats for Umrah: There are five places some distance from the Holy City of Makkah which pilgrims must cross before they are in a state of Ihram If they intend to enter al Masjid al Haram for Umrah or Hajj. These point or stations are called Miqats. These are named as follows; Dhu`l Hulayfah, Junfah, Qarn al Manazil, Dhat Irq, Yalamlam.

The area outside the Haram, the holy land on which the City of Makkah stands, is called al-Hill. Muslims who enter the Haram area on business or for other purposes need not do the ihram before entering the Holy City of Makkah unless they have the intention to perform Umrah or Hajj. Muslims coming to Makkah with the intention of performing Umrah or Hajj must not cross a Miqat without first entering into the state of Ihram, unless they live within the area between Miqat and the Haram. In this case they do Ihram either at home or just before entering the Haram area.