THE Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Umrah is an expiation for the time between it and the previous Umrah, and an accepted Hajj has no less a reward than Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)

The person who intends to perform Umrah “clips his nails, trims his mustache, shaves his pubic hair, and plucks out the hair of his armpits. Then he performs Ghusl (complete bath), and the male pilgrim wears an Izar (lower garment worn at the waist like a bath towel) and a Rida’ (a garment worn over the shoulders) that are both clean and white.” (Note: Women may enter the state of Ihram in any clothing within the Shariah guidelines.

After completing this and while approaching one of the Meeqat (marked posts around Makkah for Hajj and Umrah), he should enter the state of Ihram which is “the intention to enter into one of the two sacred rituals, Al-Hajj or Al-‘Umrah.”

The state of Ihram has certain prohibitions; some of which are as follows:

• Wearing stitched clothing such as shirts, socks, hoods, and a thawb by men
• Applying perfume
• Shaving the hair or cutting it, even a little
• Clipping the nails of either the hands or feet.
• Having sexual intercourse with one’s spouse and the actions that precede it like kissing.

The pilgrim should then begin the Talbiyyah (answering of the command) and continue it until he reaches Masjid Al-Haraam. The Talbiyyah is to say: Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, Labbaik Laa Shareeka Laka Labbaik. Innal-Hamda Wann-Ni’mata Laka Wal-Mulk, Laa Shareeka Lak.

The meaning of the wording for the Talbiyyah is: “I am here at Your service, O Allah; I am here at Your service. I am here at Your service; You have no partner; I am here at Your Service. Verily the Praise, and the Blessings are Yours, and also the Sovereignty. You have no partner.”

When the pilgrim arrives at Masjid Al-Haraam, he should proceed to the area of Tawaf being in a state of purity. He comes to the Black Stone and kisses it, touches it, or points to it if he is unable to reach it. He then begins Tawaf, with the Ka’ba on his left performing Ar-Ramal (walking with a brisk trot) while making supplication to Allah. Whenever he passes the Yemeni corner, he touches it if he can. On reaching the Black Stone again, a circuit is complete. He repeats this procedure for two more circuits. For the remaining four circuits the pilgrim stops Ar-Ramal and walks at a normal pace with tranquility. A total of seven circuits must be completed during Tawaf.

After completing the Tawaf, the pilgrim should pray two Rak’ah (units) of Salah behind the Maqam (standing place) of Ibrahim reciting Surah Al-Kafiroon in the first unit and Surah Al-Ikhlas in the second one.

Thereafter, the pilgrim should proceed to the hill of As-Safa to begin Sa’ee which is “to walk between As-Safa and Al-Marwah.” He stands on As-Safa, faces the Ka’ba, and supplicates to Allah for as long as he wishes. Then he walks to the hill of Al-Marwah moving quickly between the two green markers, making Du’a along the way. Arriving at Al-Marwah constitutes one unit.

Standing on Al-Marwah, he supplicates to Allah (facing the Ka’ba) for as long as he wishes. He then walks back to the hill of As-Safa increasing the pace between the two green markers and supplicating to Allah along the way. On arriving at As-Safa the second trip is completed. The pilgrim must make a total of seven units completing As-Sa’ee at the hill of Al-Marwah.
After completing the Sa’ee, the pilgrim must cut his hair to exit the state of Ihram. The male pilgrim may either shorten all of his hair or shave it off completely.

(Note: When Hajj is near, it is best to clip the hair, so one can shave his hair after Hajj.) The female pilgrim shortens her hair the length of a fingertip. This completes the Umrah.

– By Sheikh Muhammad Nasir-ud-Deen Al-Albani