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Rites of Umrah

There are six steps in Umrah:

  1. Intention at Meeqat
  2. Tawaaf
  3. Two rakahs
  4. Drinking Zamzam/Pouring it on your head
  5. Sa'ee
  6. Cutting or shaving your hair

After completion of these steps, you can change out of your Ihram clothing and all the restrictions of the state of Ihram are lifted.

Contemplation

You have waited your entire journey to see the Kaaba and now you see it. You may become emotional and overwhelmed by the blessed House of Allah. Think what it will be like in the next life when you have waited your whole life to see Allah and you see Him.

As you begin to go around the Kaaba and make tawaaf, then remember how the Messenger of Allah ﷺ removed all the idols from inside the House of Allah. As such promise yourself you will remove anything which you worship, obey or fear more than Allah from your life.

As you drink Zamzam, think of the imaan of Hajra عَلَيْهَا السَّلاَم who trusted only Allah and she knew that Allah would not abandon her in the middle of the desert. As you go between Safa and Marwa then remember how Hajra عَلَيْهَا السَّلاَم called upon Allah alone. Think of how Zamzam came from the ground when she called upon Allah alone for help. Think of how Allah’s help came from places she could not have imagined. He answered her du'a. As such make dua and call upon Allah alone, putting your trust in Him alone.

Tawaaf

Make wudhu before you start tawaaf. When you get to Hajr al-Aswad, take out your right shoulder from your Ihram (named Idtiba) and start making Raml (a light jog). You will walk around the Kaaba 7 times in an anti-clockwise motion (the Kaaba will be on your left).

For the first three circuits men should do Raml: a slightly brisk jog where you raise your knees and move your arms while lightly jogging. Each footstep should be very short.

For all seven circuits men should do Idtibaa, i.e. take out their right shoulder from the Ihram covering.

Hajar al-Aswad is cased within a silver casing. To easily identify this corner, a green light has been placed opposite Hajar al-Aswad. You can also recognise Hajar al-Aswad as it is has the word “Allahu akbar” in Arabic written above it three times and is on the corner near the Kaaba’s door.

You will start and end each circuit from Hajar al-Aswad.

The Hajar al-Aswad outside the Kaaba

To begin your tawaaf, the Prophet ﷺ kissed Hajar al-Aswad. If you are unable, then you can touch it or touch it with your hand or stick and kiss that. If you are unable to, then raise your right hand towards it and say “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar”.

With the rush around Hajar al-Aswad nowadays, we advise you not to attempt to kiss or touch it and instead you raise your hand towards it.

It is not correct to kiss your hand after you have raised it towards Hajar al-Aswad. Kissing is only directly to Hajar al-Aswad or if you touch it with your hand or a stick then you can kiss that.

*Warning* It is a sin to cause another person harm. Additionally, no extra reward is gained by kissing Hajar al-Aswad. So if you push others or if you touch a non-mahram (opposite gender and non-direct relatives) then you will have sinned. We suggest that you do not let the excitement of being near the Kaaba to undo your reward for something which carries little or no extra reward. Remember when you are there you are standing in the most blessed place on Earth, avoid anything which angers Allah.

At the beginning of you tawaaf you can recite the following du'a:

اَللَّهُمَّ إِيمَانًا بِكَ، وَتَصْدِيقًا بِكِتَابِكَ، وَوَفَاءً بِعَهْدِكَ، وَاتِّبَاعًا لِسُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

“Oh Allah! I do so with faith in You, believing in Your Book, honouring the Promise to You and following the Sunnah of Your Messenger Muhammad ﷺ."

If you forget which number circuit you are on, go with the lower number you are sure you have done.

During tawaaf you may make any du'a which you know. There are no specific du'a except at Rukn Yamani (the last corner of the Kaaba before Hajar al-Aswad):

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

"Our Lord! Bestow on us endurance, make our foothold sure, and give us help against the disbelieving folk"

[Quran 2:250]

If you get the chance to touch Rukn Yamani without harming anyone then while you touch it say Bismillah Allahu Akbar. This is not to be said if you do not touch it and no gesture is made towards Hajar al-Aswad.

Allah has allowed us to speak during tawaaf, so we should make this speech good and not speak to others about useless things or be abusive to others. Some pilgrims can forget that tawaaf is an act of worship and can end up busying themselves with their mobile phones instead.

Here are some du'a you can read during tawaaf.

If salah starts while you are making tawaaf, then pray in congregation and pick up your Umrah from where you left off.

When you finish tawaaf and need to leave the mataaf area, do not do so by walking the wrong way or pushing your way out. Be calm and plan ahead and even if you have to walk all the way around the Kaaba again, it is better than arguing or upsetting other pilgrims.

Drink Zamzam

It is sunnah to drink Zamzam after completing your Tawaf. Remember the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ:  

ماء زمزم لما شرب له

‘The water of Zamzam is for whatever purpose it is drunk for’

(Ahmad)

The dua while drinking Zamzam carries great significance. Abdullah Bin Zubayr (rahimahullah) said when he drank Zamzam “O Allah, I am drinking it (to quench) my thirst on the Day of Resurrection”

Many scholars of the past made sincere du'a while drinking Zamzam which set them on the course for a good life and akhira. It is highly recommended that you make plenty of du'a when drinking Zamzam.

For example, when Imam Ibn Hajar was 12 years old he made du'a while drinking Zamzam that Allah grant him a memory like Imam Dhahabi, in the years that followed this du'a was answered and he became one of the greatest scholars of our ummah has ever seen.

Two Rakahs

After completing any tawaaf you must pray two rakahs. Ideally, these two rakahs should be prayed behind Maqam-e-Ibrahim but if this area is busy due to tawaaf, it is better to not get in the way of those doing Tawaaf as this can cause stampedes. Umar رضي الله عنه advised people to pray these two rakah anywhere inside or even outside the masjid if needed during busy times.

Even in Masjid al-Haram it is important to try to pray behind a sutra (something you place in front of you so that no one cuts through you while you pray).

When praying these two rakah, men should rearrange their Ihram to put their arm inside their Ihram and hang the Ihram off both shoulders.

Place the top piece of your ihraam across your shoulders during the two rakahs of Umrah.

In the first rakah, after Surah al-Fatihah, recite Surah al-Kafirun. In the second rakah, after Surah al-Fatihah, recite Surah al-Ikhlaas.

Sa'ee

There are four levels where you can make Sa'ee. There floors consist of a Basement, Ground and floors 1-3. On some of the higher floors you can wear footwear. The ground floor is usually the busiest. There is a special floor with motor wheelchairs.

To start Sa’ee, make your way to Safa. The Prophet ﷺ climbed on top of Safa but this is no longer possible due to the enclosing of Safa for its preservation. Stand by Safa and face the Kaaba and recite this ayah:

[إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ ۖ ]...أَبْدَأُ بِمَا بَدَأَ اللهُ بِهِ

[Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah (Quran 2:158)] I begin by that which Allah began.

This is only read the first time during your first time at Safa and not after that.

This is only to be recited at the beginning of Sa’ee. Then read the following three times:

اَللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ، اَللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ، اَللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ، وَلِلّٰهِ الْحَمْدُ
لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اَللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ، اَنْجَزَ وَعْدَهُ وَنَصَرَ عَبْدَهُ وَهَزَمَ اَلْأَحْزَابَ وَحْدَهُ

Allah is the greatest; Allah is the greatest; Allah is the greatest, and to Allah belongs all praise.

There is no deity except Allah, alone without a partner. To Him belongs the Dominion, and to Him belongs all praise. He gives life and death and He has power over everything.

There is no deity except Allah alone. He fulfilled His promise, supported His slave and defeated the confederates alone.

This du'a is to be recited every time you go to Safa and Marwa.

And then make du'a facing the Kabaa after that you can start Sa’ee by walking towards Marwa. At Marwa, you will recite the above du'a again three times and make your way back to Safa and so on.

Between Safa and Marwa there is an area lit with green lights. This area is for men to do Raml.

You will walk between Safa and Marwa 7 times. Going from Safa to Marwa is one circuit, Marwa to Safa is the second circuit. Sa’ee will end at Marwa.

Halaq (Shaving or cutting the hair)

Shaving the head carries three times the reward as compared to only cutting the hair unless you are doing Hajj. For Hajj, it is better to cut the hair for the Umrah you conduct during Hajj, and then shave it for the actual Hajj.

There are barbers close to Marwa but if your hotel is towards Safa then the ground floor of the clock tower has several barbers who charge between 10-20 Riyals.

*Warning*

  • Be sure that a clean blade is used to cut your hair.
  • Do not cut your hair at Marwa by yourself it is not allowed according to the Masjid’s rules
  • Do not use street barbers as they are not regulated and can use contaminated razors
  • Women cut their hair the length of a fingertip.

After this you are out of the state of Ihram and the restrictions of Ihram have been lifted.

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