THE FORM OF ‘UMRA
‘Umra is a “Sunneti Muekkeda”- according to Hanefis, a supererogatory act of worship seldom omitted by our Prophet (saws). According to Imam Shafi, it is a “fard’i ayn, an obligation to be performed once in one’s lifetime.
For some of us who are intending to perform ‘Umra for the first time, and to remind those who have done it before, we are offering the simplest forms, actions and prayers to be done at various places, times and stages during this visit to the Holy Lands.
1. Before you leave, give alms, “sadaka.”
2. The day you are leaving, take leave from your family and friends, begging them to forgive you for any wrong you may have done them, and receive their pardon. Make two raq’ats of salat and pray for a safe trip and return, and thank Allahu Teala for having invited you.
3. On arriving in Medina, remember that the ground you tread upon is not only the holy ground where the beloved of Allah (saws) walked, but that the earth is honored to receive and is mixed with the particles of his blessed body which is buried there.
When our master (saws) was forced to leave his home in Mecca, he prayed: ”Oh Lord, if you take me away from my home which I love, bring me to a place to live which You love.” And Allahu Teala brought him to Medina, which He loves. And that is where you will be.
Recite as many salawats as you can during our stay in Medina, and in your private prayers ask Allahu Teala to accord you and all of Ummati Muhammad the intercession of the one whom He has sent as His mercy upon the universe. The beloved of Allah (saws) says:
“Someone who prays 40 times in my masjid, a Divine Warrant is given to him to protect him from the hellfire in the hereafter, and to protect him from pain and strife in this world.”
So although we will be staying in Medina just short of 8 days, we should make extra prayers in the masjid in order to complete the 40 times, taking care not to pray during mekruh times: wait 40 minutes after sunrise, not between noon and afternoon prayers, and not at the time of sunrise, mid noon and sunset.
It is believed that Allahu Teala offers one reward for a prayer done at home; 25 rewards for salat done in jamaat; 500 rewards for Friday prayers done in mosques; 50,000 rewards for each prayer done in the Masjidi Nabi in Medina; and 100,000 rewards for each salat performed at the Qaaba.
May the All-Merciful accord my children and this fakir the intercession of the Shefi al Muznibiyn, the intercessor of sinners. Amin.
4. In Medina, at our hotel, before leaving for Mecca, after taking a total ablution, cutting our fingernails, shaving under our arms, perfuming ourselves, putting on our ihrams, we make 2 raq’ats of prayer, reciting Surah Kafirun during the first raq’at, and Surah Ihlas during the second raq’at.
We make our intention for ‘Umra, saying,
“Allahumma inne uriydu al’umrata fa yassirhumma wa taqabbal huma minna”
and then start reciting the talbiyya:
Labbayk Allahumma labbayk. Labbayka la sharika leke labbayk.
Innel hamde wa ni’mata leke wel mulk, la sharike lek.
This is always repeated thrice, ending with a salawat.
While we are in ihram, before each salat, upon entering or leaving a place, entering or leaving a vehicle, before sleeping and after waking up, and especially during morning prayer times, we should remember to recite the talbiyya.
Once we are in ihram, until the end of ‘Umra, when we will take off our ihrams, we should refrain:
• if we are with our spouses, from making love or any sensual contact.
• from using angry or ugly words, gossiping, lying, or verbal abuse; in short, we should watch our tongues.
• from killing or hurting any living thing including insects and plants.
• from bathing (apart from taking ablution), shaving, cutting fingernails, combing the hair, perfuming ourselves, using make-up, wearing any jewelry (including a wedding ring). Men should not cover their heads.
5. TAWAF- While we are in Mecca, we should make as many circumambulations of the Qaaba as possible. But the obligation for ‘Umra is one single tawaf while we are in ihram.
When you are approaching the Qaaba with the intention of making a Tawaf, you recite three times the “Tekbir and Tehlil”:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la ilaha ilallahu Allahu akbar,
Allahu Akbar wa lillahil Hamd,
and three times:
Assalatu wassalamu `alayka ya resulallah,
Assalatu wassalamu `alayka ya habibullah,
Assalatu wassalamu `alayka ya sayyid al awwalina wal akhirin,
wal hamdulillahi rabbil `alamin.
As you will see, everyone starts from the corner of the Black Stone. You will turn seven times around the Qaaba, doing the first three turns with quick steps (remel). While passing the fourth side of the Qaaba, at each turn you recite
“Rabbena ‘atayna fiddunya hasanatan fil akhirati hasanatan, wa kina adhabannar,
bi rahmatika ya arham ar rahimin.”
And when you pass the Black Stone at the corner, salute it by turning towards it and raising your hands, and reciting the tekbir and tehlil. During your tawaf you can recite any surah, dua, or tesbih which comes to your heart, as well as your private prayers.
When you finish your seventh round, leave at the corner where you started, trying not to turn your back to the Qaaba, and make 2 raq’ats of prayer near the Maqami Ibrahim, reciting Surah Kafirun in the first raq’at, and Surah Ihlas in the second ra’qat. Turn toward the Black Stone and salute it for a last time, and proceed to the slope of Safa, to start your Sai, the last obligation of the ‘Umra.
6. On the high point of Safa, find a spot from which you can see the Qaaba. Lift your hands, salute it with takbir and tehlil, and salawat, making the intention of Sai. Recite:
La Ilaha ilallahu wahdahu la sharika leh lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu yuhyi wa yumitu. . . wa huwa `ala kulli shay’in qadir
and start walking towards down towards Marwa.
At the low point, there are two green columns; you walk between them with quick steps, then proceed to Marwa. At the top of the hill ofMarwa, again find a spot from which you can see the Qaaba, and repeat the ritual and recitations you made on Safa. Then walk towards Safa.
This will be repeated seven times, from Safa to Marwa four times and from Marwa to Safa three times, finishing on Marwa. Then you have your hair cut.
This will complete your ‘Umra. Then you can come out of ihram, take a shower, and wear your ordinary clothes, and return to life, hopefully cleansed.
May Allahu Teala permit us to realize this visit and accept our ‘Umra. Amin.