Umrah has three main pillars that must be observed by every Muslim seeking to perform it correctly:
The Muslim enters into a state of Ihram – a holy state that a Muslim must be in to perform Hajj or Umrah – upon reaching one of the Miqats (pilgrimage boundaries) identified by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for all pilgrims :
When the Mu’tamer reaches the miqat, it is recommended (mustahab) to wash and cleanse before discarding all stitched clothing and wearing the Ihram attire, consisting of seamless white clothing for men. Women may wear regular plain clothing.
He then speaks the niyyah (intention) to enter Ihram in his heart, and utters the phrase, “Labbayk allahumma Umrah,” followed by the talbiyah of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayk La Sharika Laka Labbayk. Inna l-Ḥamda, Wa n-Niʻmata, Laka wal Mulk, La Sharika Lak.” (Translated as:“Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners.”) He keeps repeating it until he reaches the Kaa’ba, wherein he approaches the Black Stone and kisses it, or points at it and uttering takbir (Allahu Akbar) if unable to reach it.
Following that, the Mu’tamer begins his Tawaf, i.e. circling the Kaa’ba seven times, while touching the Black Stone and kissing it every time he passes it, or else pointing at it as indicated above. After completing the Tawaf, the Mu’tamer shall pray two rak’aas behind the Kaa’ba or any other place in the mosque, reciting after Surat Al-Fatihah Surat Al-Kafirun in the first rak’aa and Surat Al-Ikhlas in the second rak’aa.
After completing the Tawaf, the Mu’tamer will begin his Sa’i between Safa and Marwa, i.e. walking rapidly between the two points. Beginning with Safa, the Mu’tamer utters,“Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah.” (2:185) and whichever prayers he prefers, before walking rapidly towards Marwa and repeating what he did at Safa.
Upon completing the Sa’i, the man shaves his hair or shortens it, while the woman gathers her hair and cuts an equal amount or less.
Once the Mu’tamer performs all these steps, he has successfully completed his Umrah – Allah willing – and is entitled to anything that was forbidden to him in the state of Ihram.
The Mu’tamer can perform a number of sunnats (plural of sunnah, which means the traditional practices of Islam) during his Umrah, which include the following:
Below is a list of actions that could cause the Mu’tamer to break the state of Ihram if intentionally made:
The information has been extracted from a Umrah booklet issued by the Department of the Affairs of Qu’rans and Books at the Grand Mosque – the General Presidency of the Grand Mosque & the Prophets Mosque.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “(performing) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous `Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (i.e. one accepted) is nothing but Jannah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Commentary: Performing Umrah is an expiation for all types of sins, whether major or minor, because the wording of the Hadith isn’t specifying either of them. However, Mu’tamars should keep in their minds the following two main conditions for the acceptance Umrah:
1. To have complete sincerity (Ikhlas) by performing Umrah rituals solely for the sake of Allah the Almighty.
2. To perform Umrah the same way it is mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) May Allah the Almighty accept your Umrah, Ameen.