Umrah in definition can be understood in two ways:
Liguistically: to visit
Juridically: a way of worshipping Allah swt by making an intention to perform Umrah, beginning with observing the rules of Ihraam to Tawaf (circumventing) around the Ka’bah and Sa’ie between Mount Safa and Marwa and completing it by the shaving or cutting hair (also known as Tahallul).
Umrah is a mini Hajj that is gaining popularity amongst the Muslim community. This could be for several reasons:
- More affordable than Hajj
A deluxe* 11 days Umrah package cost a quarter of the price of a 30 days Hajj package (all inclusive).
*Standard package – With accommodation less than 100metres from both Grand Mosques, food three times a day and guide provided throughout the journey.
- Shorter duration – easier to apply and be granted leave
Unlike that of Hajj where a pilgrim is required to be away for a minimum of 15 days to a maximum of 35 days, Umrah can be as short as 9 days.
- Can be performed anytime during the year (except for the five days of Hajj and depending on the issuance of Umrah Visa from the Saudi government)
- Long waiting time for HajjSingaporeans have to wait in average 20 – 30 years (currently) from the time they register their intent with MUIS (the regulatory body who manages the Haj quota in Singapore) until the time that they are called to perform their Haj.
- More (and younger) Muslims are more aware of the significance and benefits of Umrah
Which one of these FIVE groups do you belong to?
It is so heartening to see a growing volume of Muslims going for Umrah every yearmonth. Even with the recently imposed levy (https://berita.mediacorp.sg/mobilem/singapura/jemaah-umrah-berulang-perlu-bayar-levi-s-720-jika-ingin-tunai/3856550.html), we find many repeated Umrah go-ers who do not mind paying the additional SR2,000 on their next registration.
While discussing the content of my first blog post with Ustaz Jalaluddin, I openly asked, “Kenapa makin ramai orang nak buat Umrah, especially those yang kena bayar levy?” And as I know he would, Ustaz Jalaluddin took out a few books of references from his floor-to-ceiling bookcase.
I pretended to flip through some books (which were obviously in Arabic) knowingly trying to spot the word ‘عُمرَة from the list of contents to no avail.
He gently dusted one beautifully covered book, which title I could barely decipher. “Buku Ibn Maajah,” he said, reading my mind and proceeded to share where he bought the book from and who this Ibn Maajah was.
It became such a wonderful hour of enlightening sharing.
In his book, Ibn Maajah quoted our Beloved Prophet Muhammad saw, “The performers of Hajj and Umrah are deputations of Allah Almighty If they call Him, He answers them and if they seek His forgiveness, He forgives them.”
From the above hadith, he went on to clarify the significance of Umrah.
- The most eminent purpose of Umrah is to cleanse one’s spritual self from the sins committed in the past.
Hazrat Abu Huraira RA narrates that Prophet saw said, “An Umrah to another Umrah will be the refurbishment of sins for whatever occurs in between them.”
I find it so beautiful that Allah swt thinks of various ways to forgive His believers. While Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and its benefits are great, Allah swt did not place Umrah on any less of an importance or significance. He erases one’s sins from the previous Umrah to the next Umrah that a Muslim performs. Who wouldn’t want that? Masya Allah!
- Allah swt rewards every good deed of His people when they spend their wealth, their time, their energy in His way by multiplying their rizq and sheltering them from difficulties. There are many verses in Al-Baqarah mentioning this. One of my favourite is from Al Baqarah:261where it is mentioned:
“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”
In other hadiths, there were also mentions:
Ibn e Masood RA also mentioned that Prophet Muhammad saw said, “Perform Hajj and Umrah because they certainly remove poverty and sins as fire separates the impurities from iron, gold and silver.”
Umar bin Khattab RA narrated that Prophet Muhammad said,” Follow up between Umrah and Hajj for they increase the life span and dispels poverty and sins as fire confiscates impurities.”
On top of cleansing and strengthening the spiritual soul, the abovementioned hadiths reinforces the fact that Allah rewards His believers who perform Umrah greatly by granting them prosperity. Ustaz Jalaluddin shared, “Sepanjang sepuluh tahun saya bawa jemaah ke Umrah, tak ada satu orang pun yang balik dari Umrah atau Haji dan terpaksa jual rumah kerana tidak cukup duit. Bahkan, mereka berulang-ulang kali tunaikan Umrah walaupun gaji sederhana. Berkah, Masya Allah!”
- In this temporary life, our main purpose is to please our Creator. Like Hajj, Umrah is one of the best conducts to please Allah swt. Ibn e Umar RA mentioned that Prophet Muhammad saw said, “The warrior in the cause of Allah, the pilgrim and the one who is performing Umrah are all the delegations of Allah swt. He called them and they responded. They will ask of His conferrals and He will give it to them.”
This hadith is proof that Allah holds dear and is very much satisfied with those who walk through His path in hopes to please Him. And the act of performing Umrah is one in which He considers to be answering His calls.
- Now, this hadith is especially for those who feels their time for Hajj is beyond one’s reach. Allah is All-Knowing. He has decreed that should a Muslim perform Umrah in the month of Ramadhan, he will be granted the reward of performing Hajj with our Prophet Muhammad saw. That is a double-bonus! The rewards of performing Hajj is great but to be granted the rewards of performing Hajj WITH the beloved Prophet Muhammad saw – who wouldn’t want that? Ya Allah!
Among the strongest Hadith in this regard is the one in which Ibn Abbas narrated that Prophet Muhammad saw said, “Umrah performed in the month of Ramadan will be equivalent (in rewards) to that of Hajj performed with me (Prophet Muhammad saw)”.
- The last, is always kept for the best, isn’t it? Ustaz Jalaluddin said, “Cara paling senang tetapi paling susah nak dapat adalah apabila seseorang itu meninggal sewaktu menunaikan Umrah atau Haji.”Truly, a Muslim who is or on his/her journey of Umrah and passes away, is promised Jannah. SubhanAllah! Hazrat Aisha RA reported that Prophet Muhammad saw said, “Whoever leaves his home with the sole intention of performing Hajj or Umrah and he dies, nothing will be presented to him nor will he be held liable on of the day of judement and it will be said to him – enter into Jannah.”
With so many significance of Umrah shared, I hope it puts a little (or strengthens the) faith that going on your first, second or umpteenth Umrah never goes unnoticed (by Allah swt).
And now, let me ask you – Are YOU ready?