Umrah is also known as minor pilgrimage or lesser pilgrimage in comparison to annual Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and has great importance and reward. Umrah is a visit that pilgrims make to the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Imam Baqir RA said:
“One prayer in the Masjid-al-Haram is 100000 times more valuable than one prayer in any other mosques”
The word Umrah means “visit to a sacred place or visit an important place”. The performance of Umrah is neither obligatory nor imperative but it is the beautiful Sunnah of Prophet PBUH that millions of Muslims from all around the world perform throughout the year. Those who perform it with pure intentions and just for the sake of their Lord He SWT grant them their wishes and give them great rewards. In Holy Quran Allah Almighty said:
“Accomplish Hajj and Umrah to please Allah”
It is also said that:
“The best ways to pray God include silence and going to His House.”
It is a privileged and its performance even once in a lifetime can become a source of earning great rewards and removing of his sins and poverty. Although Umrah has a smaller scale pilgrimage as compared to the Hajj but it is as sacred and impressive like Hajj. Allah’s Messenger said:
“An Umrah to another Umrah will be refurbishment of sins for whatever befalls between them”
In this modern time of inflation when everyone is not able to manage the expenses of Hajj, Umrah is more flexible option whether one has financial issues or struggling with certain commitments and time. Because it has no fix time nor month or date pilgrims can perform it any time in the year when he is able to do it. Pilgrims can perform Umrah anytime either in the conjunction of Hajj or independent of it. However if one want to complete the Umrah in its own right he has to wait for the completion of Hajj. There are four major steps of Umrah including Ihram, Tawaf, Sa’ey between Safa and Marwah and Shaving or Clipping of the Hairs. However during Umrah you don’t have to visit Mina, Arafat or Muzdalifah that you do in Hajj. Moreover you don’t have to practice sacrifice of animal or Qurbani.
It should be kept in mind that performance of Umrah does not meet the requirements of Hajj and doesn’t replace the obligation of performing Hajj. Hajj is mandatory religious obligation that you have to perform if you are financially and physically capable at least once in a lifetime but on the other hand Umrah is the beautiful Sunnah of Prophet PBUH which is recommended but not required or mandatory in Islam. During the holy month of Ramadan millions of people all around the world visit Makkah for Umrah as the reward of every little deed or action raise 70 times and Umrah is one of the best acts of worship. Prophet PBUH said:
“Jihad of the venerable, the young, the weak and the women, is Hajj and Umrah.”
Another hadith shows the immense love of Allah for his mankind:
“The warrior in the cause of Allah, the pilgrim and the one who is performing Umrah are all the delegation of Allah. He called them and they responded and they will ask for His abdication and He will grant them”
With the above mention Hadith one can easily understand that our Deen gives us ease on every step. Weak and dependent can earn the same reward as Jihad by doing the Hajj and Umrah. It is also necessary that if one plans to do Umrah, the money he uses must come from Halal sources. If he use haram money for this sacred purpose or snatch others wealth his Umrah is not acceptable at all.
“God does not accept the Hajj and Umrah whose costs have been paid for through illegal means property”