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Umrah is an Islamic rite and consists of pilgrimage to the Ka‘bah. A set of religious and devotional rites performed in Makkah at any time of the year in a state of dress and condition known as Ihram with the intention of performing certain religious rites there according to the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace). It has also been referred to in English as the minor pilgrimage andmajor pilgrimage being the Hajj.
Umrah can be performed in few hours whereas Hajj requires 6 days which are fixed from 8th of Zilhijjah to 13th of Zillhijjah. It consists essentially of Ihram (dress and conditions), Tawaaf (i.e. circumambulation) around the Ka‘bah (seven times), and Sa‘ee (i.e. walking between As-Safa and Al-Marwah (seven times) and hair cutting or shaving. It is called minor Hajj since it need not be performed at a particular time of the year and its performance requires fewer ceremonies than the Hajj. It also requires some obligations from the pilgrim until the state of Ihram is ended.
In Arabic, the word 'Umrah is derived from I'timaar which means a visit. However, 'Umrah in Islamic terminology, means paying a visit to Ka' bah, performing Tawaaf (circumambulation) around it, walking between Safaa and Marwah seven times. A performer of 'Umrah puts off his Ihram by having his hair shaved or cut. 'Umrah can be performed along with Hajj and in other days as well.
'Umrah can be performed during anytime in the year, there is no fixed time for 'Umrah.
Obligations (Wajibath) of `Umrah
a) Ihram: which is assumed at the Meeqat.
b) Tawaaf: around the House.
c) Sa'ee: walking between As-Safaa and Al-Marwah, which consists of seven circuits.
d) Hair: Shaving or trimming the hair
During 'Umrah, pilgrims do not go to Mina, 'Arafah and Muzdalifah or throw pebbles on the Jamrahs (stone pillars representing devils) or offer animal sacrifice. These rites are only performed during Hajj.
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