The main differences between Hajj and Umrah

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:

  1. Health

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Security

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.

Ihram, Initial Step Of Performing Pilgrimage

After you have decided to go for Umrah or Hajj and made all the necessary preparations. Paid all your debts, repented, absolve for any wrongdoing and bad behaviours toward others, etc. Now you are ready to take the first step in the blessed journey: ihram.

Ihram consists of two pieces of cloth that is worn by male pilgrims. And for females it’s their casual dress but it should be loose so their body part cant shows. The starting act of performing Hajj or `Umrah by making the niyyat, now a person is ready to start their Hajj or `Umrah after proclaiming and saying the Talbiyah. The state of purification is necessary in which the pilgrims are during Umrah or Hajj. After putting on ihram and making the intention (niyyat) of ihram, the pilgrims enter in the sacred state of ihram, which requires them to avoid and stay away from particular prohibited things.

Cleanliness and purity is highly recommended before wearing and getting into the sacred state of Ihram. It is also recommended that pilgrim should clip finger and their toe nails, completely shave off their armpit and also clean pubic hair, comb the beard and hair, trim the moustache, take a ritual bath (perform ghusl). After wearing avoid using fragrance like perfume etc.

For men, the ihram garments comprises of two sheets. One is wrapped around the upper part of the whole body except the head. The other is wrapped around the lower portion of body. You can fix this sheet by using a belt, a money belt, or a pin etc. Male pilgrims should avoid wearing stitched clothes.

For women, the ihram is just their ordinary loose fitting clothes that cover their body except the face and hands. In some countries Ihram is traditionally special clothes, such as white coloured dresses or black cloaks, but this is not required.

Putting on ihram garments is the first and the most important step in performing Hajj and `Umrah. As mentioned throughout this article, pilgrim should have to put on ihram and then they have to make the intention of starting Hajj or Umrah. Pilgrim can put on ihram from your home or at meeqat but you cant cross the station of meeqat without wearing Ihram, after Ihram pilgrim intend to start Hajj or Umrah.

Pilgrims in the sacred state of ihram are allowed to use soaps and shampoos that are completely unscented. According to obligatory precaution, pilgrim should refrain from smoking. A person should avoid all the prohibited things so there will be not any kind of doubt left in the acceptance of Hajj or Umrah.

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MAY ALLAH ALMIGHTY ACCEPTS YOUR HAJJ AND UMRAH AND FORGIVES ALL OF YOUR SINS AMEEN.