What is Umrah?
Umrah, as defined in the Shariah, involves a pilgrimage to Holy city Makkah, Saudi Arabia, to perform Tawaaf (circumambulation) around the Holy Kaaba, and then perform Saaee between Al-Safa and Al-Marwa hills. Umrah is designed to cleanse one’s soul and hear of past committed sins, and though the Umrah is not strictly obligatory for Muslims to perform, but it is highly recommended that they do so.
It is also advised to perform Umrah as much as possible in lifetime, as this allows you to clean your soul of sins committed since your last Umrah. In spite of their differences, both Umrah and hajj have many similarities. Both pilgrimages Umrah and Hajj are marks of strong Muslim faith, loyalty, and piety. The two also promote a united and one Muslim community in retracing and retelling the steps of the Muslim faith (Imaan).
The Five “Pillars” of Islam
In Islam, worship is part of every day life and is not limited to mere rituals. The formal acts of worship are well-known as the five “pillars” of Islam. The five basic pillars of Islam are the declaration of faith (Shahadat), Prayer (Namaz), Fasting (Roza), Charity (Zakat), and pilgrimage (Hajj).
- Declaration of Faith: The “Declaration of Faith” (Shahadat), meaning “There is no deity worthy of being worship except ALLAH Almighty, and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger (Prophet) of ALLAH Almighty). The Declaration of Faith (Shahadat) is more than just a statement; it should be shown with one’s actions. To convert to the belief of Islam, a person has to say this statement of Shahadat.
- Every day Prayer: Prayer (Namaz) is a method by which a Muslim connects to ALLAH Almighty and gathers spiritual power and peace of mind. Muslims perform 5 formal prayers a day.
- Charity or Zakah: A type of charity. Muslims recognize that all wealth is a blessing from ALLAH Almighty, and particular responsibilities are required in return. In Islam, it is the responsibility of the wealthy people to help the poor and needy.
- Fast of the Holy month of Ramadan: Once each year, Muslims are commanded to fast (Roza) for whole month from dawn to sunset. The period of intense religious devotion is well-known as the fast of Ramadan month in which no food, drink and all prohibited acts are not allowed during the fast. After sunset one can enjoy eating and drinking. During this Holy Month Muslims practice self-control and focus on prayers and devotion. During the fast (Roza), Muslims learn to sympathize with those in the globe who have little to eat.
5. The Hajj Pilgrimage to Makkah: Every Muslim strives to make once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the Holy Kabaah and holy sites in Makkah, in present-day Saudi Arabia. It is the most intense religious experience for a Muslim. Typically, 2-3 million peoples from all around the world perform hajj every year.
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