Umrah is a spiritual experience of a lifetime and the beauty of Umrah is it is not time-bound in simple words this pilgrimage that can be offered at any time of the year. It is pertinent to mention here that in Islam Umrah is not mandatory but it applies to those who have ample amount of money and are in good health. Unlike Hajj Umrah can be performed in a few hours because the places which are required to perform Umrah are present inside the Masjid-al-Haram.
The blessed month of fasting and worship, Ramzan is around the corner and it is the peak time when Muslims all over the world reach the holy city of Macca to perform Umrah. With new Umrah policy rules introduced by the Saudi government this year it has now become more difficult to arrange an Umrah package all by you. It is advised to hire an authorized Umrah agent who can look after all the Umrah related matters for you. Authorized Umrah agents can guide you properly which package suits you the best. Whether it is a cheap Umrah package or a 5 star Umrah package it is the responsibility of your agent to arrange everything smoothly so you can perform your religious duty without any inconveniences.
Performing Umrah Twice:
When it comes to the question that can we perform Umrah twice in a year most people get confused and start mixing up Hajj with Umrah. But there is no confusion here and the answer to this question is simply yes, yes one can perform Umrah every year and also multiple times in the same year. There is no objection to the people who want to perform Umrah twice in the same calendar year. Muslims can go to Macca multiple times and every time they are in Macca they can perform Umrah.
New Umrah Visa Rules:
Before 2019, the visa fee rules for the second time Umrah pilgrims were different. According to the 2018 Umrah visa rules, a traveler who is going to Macca first time to perform Umrah has to pay 300 SAR as an Umrah fee but if he or she applied for the Umrah for the second time in the same calendar year they have to pay additional visa fee of 2000 SAR as a tax fee.
In 2019 Umrah policy this repeat Umrah fee was revised and then totally removed which was a piece of good news for all the applicants who wish to perform Umrah for the second time but Saudi government also revised the Umrah visa fee and hiked it up to 6 times. Now all the pilgrims have to pay 850 SAR including transport fee as Umrah visa fee for each time they travel to Macca to perform Umrah this new fee is fixed and each applicant has to pay it for the issuance of their Umrah visa.
Steps in Umrah:
Contrasting to Hajj, Umrah has just four steps and completed just in a few hours and is quite pocket-friendly. This is the reason more and more people opt to perform Umrah every year. There are only four basic rites of Umrah which are Ihram, Tawaf, Sa’ee and Qasr/Halaq.
When you leave for Saudi Arabia make sure that you are in the Ihram clothing. After leaving your home it is advised to recite Talbiya continuously, it is compulsory to recite Talbiya loudly once. Before putting on Ihram one should perform the following actions to make sure that they are prepared to enter into the state of Ihram
- Trim your nails.
- Shave the underarms and pubic hair.
- Men should trim their moustache.
- Take a bath with the intention of Ihram and wear Ihram sheets.
- You can use perfume or body spray on your body but not on the Ihram sheet.
- Offer two Rakat Nafal prayers by covering your head.
Niyyah is the most important part of Ihram and you cannot enter into the state of Ihram without it. Niyyah is done when you have passed the Miqat and pilgrims set the intention of Umrah and recites Talbiya before Miqat.
- Prohibition in Ihram
- Cutting your nails and hair or removing extra hair from any part of the body.
- Use of any kind of scents on the body and on the Ihram.
- One should not wear stitched clothes before the completion of Umrah.
- Wearing such footwear is prohibited which covers the ankle and back of the foot.
- Covering your face or head and one should not hurt animals even of lice in the state of Ihram.
- One must avoid every kind of sexual activity.
Tawaf means circulating Kabba seven times. Tawaf is done with respect and devotion and pilgrims must walk keeping Kabba on their left side. Upon arriving at Masjid-al-Haram stop reciting the Talbiyah. You should do the ablution. Men should leave their right shoulder bare only during the Tawaf when the Tawaf is completed they need to cover both their shoulders.
- Start the Tawaf one yard or parallel the Black Stone.
- Kiss it after completing each circle if you are not able to kiss it just point at it with your right hand.
- During Tawaf do not enter into the Hateem area if you enter in this area your Tawaf will get invalid and you have to do it all over again.
- After completing your Tawaf proceed to Maqam-e- Ibrahim and offer two Rakat of Nafal prayers.
The meaning of Sa’ee is to run. In Sa’ee the pilgrims walk back and forth for seven times between the hills of Safah and Marwa which are located at the North and South of Kabba. During the Sa’ee for men, it is compulsory to walk fast while women can walk at their normal pace. The last round of Sa’ee will end at Marwa and after this pilgrims will offer two Rakat Nafal prayers.
This is the last step of Umrah. After Sa’ee male pilgrims will get their heads completely shaved and female will cut their hair equal to the length of a fingertip. Now your Umrah is completed and all the Ihram rules are lifted.