Hajj is the basic pilgrimage, which comes in the duty of every Muslim once in a lifetime. Umrah is a small pilgrimage, which is not a duty. The large and a small pilgrimage is the time prescribed for the ritual. Hajj is committed at a certain time of the year.
Both rituals have a journey toward Makkah and consist of such rituals as
- Wearing ihram
- Circumambulation of the Kaaba
- Walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa
- Shaving and cutting hair
The above is the main ritual of the Umrah, while the Hajj additionally has additional rituals:
- Holding day and night in Arafat
- Meena and Muzdalif
- Areas adjacent to Mecca
Islamic scholars are unanimous in that Hajj is obligatory for the commission at least once in life. Whereas Umrah is considered as a Sunnah not a compulsory task. Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam, of which the Quran says:
“People are obliged before Allah to perform the Hajj to the House (Kaaba) if they are able to do this” (3:97).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) said:
“Islam is built on five pillars: evidence that there is no god but Allah that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the performance of prayer, the payment of zakat, the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in the month of Ramadan.”
Who should perform the Hajj or Umrah?
The following are the compulsory aspects of performing Hajj or Umrah.
- To be a Muslim.
If a non-Muslim or a hajj is praying, fasting, or performing a hajj, his actions will not be accepted, since the first and main requirement is to be a Muslim.
- Achieving sexual maturity.
The attainment of sexual maturity is the second condition for performing Hajj. For boys and girls, hajj is optional. But they are allowed to participate in the ritual of Hajj and Umrah along with their families. Hajj becomes mandatory for them when they reach puberty.
- Being in a sound mind.
From mentally ill people, one does not need to perform acts of worship until they restore their mental health.
- Possess the opportunity to perform the duties:
There are three possibilities:
Unhealthy people who are not healed in the future, who will not be able to do it in the future, who are too old to commit it, should not perform Hajj. But if they have the financial ability, they must send another person to perform the spiritual duty on their behalf.
- Financial condition
The believer should also be able to afford the cost of the hajj and leave enough money for those for whom he is responsible. Hajj is not obligatory for those who are in debt.
If the journey to holy lands can endanger someone’s life, for example, during the war there is no obligation to perform the Hajj and Umrah.