Friday, 29 November 2013

Why we perform Umrah

By A.Q. Siddiqui

We perform Umrah because it is a direct Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh). But there is more to it. All the sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) are well recorded and followed by truly guided Muslims. For over 14 hundred years, scholars have studied and researched the life and practices of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) and concluded there is exemplary guidance in all that he said and did in his life time. And why did Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) adopted Umrah as a ‘special worship’ to God? The history of religion shows us that his predecessors Prophet Moses(pbuh) and Prophet Jesus(pbuh) have their own methods for prayers to God. The followers and companions of Prophet Moses would come to him and request him to plead for something to God. And the Prophet Moses(pbuh) was an interceder between his people and God.  The people of Prophet Jesus(pbuh) would come and request him for the favors of God and Prophet Jesus(pbuh) would grant any favor asked for advising followers to believe in One God. “Believe in God and you will get the sight”, he said to a blind person requesting him for sight. So Prophet Jesus(pbuh) was an interceder between his people and God. Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was however on mission to complete the religion of One God. Everything he said or did was guidance for the believers. He preferred to be a Messenger rather than to be an interceder between believers and God. So he showed the best ways to make prayers directly to God. He did not want believers to come and ask him for favors from God but to make prayers directly to God for any favors in life. And he showed different ways to do so. He showed Umrah as a preferred form of worship seeking the favors of God. The Prophet (pbuh) offered Umrah four times, all of which were in the month of Thul-Qaeda, but in different years. The first was in year 6 Hijri(February AD 628). He intended for Umrah and asked his companions to enter in the state of consecration, or Ihram. This Umrah was considered his seeking succor of God for believers. Though Muslims were prevented from entering Makkah, the first Umrah granted greatest victory for Muslims. In history it is remembered as the truce of Al Hudaibiya. While the second was the compensatory Umrah performed a year later. The third he offered at the time when Makkah fell to Islam in year 8. And it is considered as a “thanks giving” to God for the greatest victory he achieved without bloodshed His final Umrah was the one he offered with his pilgrimage in year 10. Thus Prophet(pbuh) showed Umrah as a special form of worship to God wherein a believer comes into direct contact with God. Umrah, like fasting in Ramadan brings a believer closer to God. As in modern days we have faster ways to reaching someone through phone or text message or emails, Umrah is the fastest way taught by Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) to make prayers directly to God. So do it. Of course there are other methods of prayers taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) such as Night Worship in Ramadan or any time (Thajud prayers), making prayers at the time of breaking Ramadan fast or making prayers after Fajr prayer. Umrah, however remains the preferred method of worship and prayer seeking the favor of God or a “Thanks giving” and a Sunnah of Prophet(pbuh). As God says in Quran, “I answer the prayer of the suppliant” (Surah II Line 186), Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) showed a special form of worship in Umrah seeking the bounty of God. So perform Umrah with family and seek the bounty of Al mighty. There are some wrong assumptions about performing Umrah. It is wrongly conceived that one should go to Makkah first if traveling for Umrah. It you intend to perform Umrah first, then you need to enter in the Ihram before your enter the Meeqat of Jeddah. The Meeqat is normally an hour before landing to Jeddah airport. But it is not necessary that you must go to Makkah first for Umrah travel. In fact it is better you visit Medina first and enter in the state of Ihram from Medina as Prophet himself did for his first Umrah. This will be more easier and comfortable and following a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh). So you can land in Jeddah without Ihram and proceed to Medina.  Also you do not need a Mufti or leader for performing Umrah. Umrah is a personal worship and make as many prayers to God as you wish while making Tawaf of Kaaba (circling the House of God). If you get a chance hold the threshold of Kaaba and ask for the forgiveness by God. That is much better than trying to scramble for kissing the Black stone of Kaaba. Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) in his third Umrah only stopped and beckoned to Black stone with his stick as he performed the Tawaf. There are no prescribed prayers as you make seven circles to Kaabah but Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was heard reading aloud “Rabanna Atina” prayer as he was completing each circle before reaching Black Stone. So make your own prayers but say Rabanna Aatina prayer as you near the black Stone. After finishing Tawaf, Prophet(pbuh) performed 2 Rakas of prayers behind the Muqam –e- Ibrahim. Then he drank Zamzam water and proceeded for Saie. (Seven walks between Safa and Marwah hills). Have comment? Please email to