Religions - Islam - Umrah: What Is Umrah - Differences Between Hajj and Umrah

Umrah Guide by Editorial Staff (December 23, 07:51 AM)

What is Umrah, In Arabic the word 'Umrah is derived from al-I'timar which means a visit. Here it means paying a visit to Kabbah. The word Umrah is usually translated as minor pilgrimage or Hajj al-Asghar. Reference to 'Umrah occurs twice in the Quran,
"And complete the Hajj or 'Umrah in the service of Allah" (2:196)

'Umrah is an act of worship. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: "From one 'Umrah to the next is atonement for any sins committed in between." (Bukhari and Muslim)

'Umrah does not remove one from the obligation of Hajj. Great rewards are promised for performing 'Umrah during the month of Ramadan. Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said:

"An 'Umrah in the month of Ramadhan is equal (in reward) to performing a Hajj." (Ahmed and Ibn Majah)

Many acts and method of Umrah are similar to Hajj, but there are some fundamental differences. In 'Umrah the pilgrim puts on the Ihram at the prescribed Miqat, recites Talbiyah, then goes for Tawaf (circumambulation) of Kabbah, starting and finishing at the Black Stone, after which he prays two rak'ah at the station of Ibrahim, then performs Sa'ee (running) between Safa and Marwa. Then, men shave heads or shorten their hair, while women cut a lock of their hair.

Some of the basic differences between Hajj and Umrah are:

  • Hajj is Obligatory while Umrah is not obligatory.

  • Hajj can only be performed during the prescribed month and dates, while Umrah can be performed at anytime of the year.

  • Wuquf Arafat is one of the most important components of Hajj without which Hajj is void. There is no Wuquf Arafah in 'Umrah.

  • Similarly there is no Wuquf Muzdalifa (spending a night at Muzdalifa) or combining the prayers of Maghrib and Isha for 'Umrah.

  • In 'Umrah the Talbiyah is stopped on arriving the Haram, while in Hajj Talbiyah is said till the Rammi of Jamarah-tul-Aqabah on the 10th Dhul-Hajj.

  • In Hajj a person has to go and stay at Mina, perform Rammi at Jamarah, while no stay is required at Mina or Rammi, in Umrah.

  • In Hajj, the pilgrim gives a sacrifice on 10th Dhul Hajj, while no sacrifice is offered during 'Umrah.

There is no restriction to the number of times one performs 'Umrah. The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) performed four 'Umrah during his life. It is reported on the authority of Anas bin Malik (r.a): Once a man asked:

"How many times did the Prophet (p.b.u.h) performed Hajj? He said:' He (p.b.u.h) performed one Hajj and he (p.b.u.h) performed four 'Umrah: An 'Umrah during Dhul-Qa'dah; the 'Umrah of Al-Hudaibiyah, and the Umrah with his (p.b.u.h) Hajj, and an 'Umrah from Al-Ji'rranah when he divided up the war spoils of Hunain" (Jami at-Tirmidhi 821 (Sahih))

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