Hajj is one of the basic pillars of Islam. There are certain rules and regulations…
The fundamental rites of Umrah
Umrah is compulsory for all Muslims at least once in life. Whenever there is an organised activity held by large number of people at a place, certain rules and regulations are set in advance. Similarly, there are clear instructions and rules for Muslims to follow while performing Umrah or Hajj. Some of these rules or obligations are so strict that their violation makes Hajj or Umrah void. On the other hand there are some violations for which there is a punishment or compensation in the form of a sacrificial animal like sheep.
When a pilgrim intends to perform Umrah, during the months of Hajj or any other time, he must understand the procedure of Umrah. First of all, a pilgrim intending to perform Umrah has to enter the state of Ihram from the point of Miqat. Ihram is a specific unstitched white robe which is compulsory to be worn by all pilgrims going for Hajj or Umrah. Once he assumes the state of Ihram, he must abide by some rules, otherwise his Ihram will be terminated. He must refrain from cutting or shaving his hair, trimming his nails, killing animals, smoking, having marital relations, using perfumes, speaking ill of others, using foul language and looking at other women with bad intentions. Ihram for woman is her usual clothes that fulfil the Islamic requirement of dressing. Women need not cover their faces during Ihram, but they can wear their jewellery.
Some of these rules or obligations are so strict that their violation makes Hajj or Umrah void
Next step is Tawaaf. Once the pilgrim reaches the Holy House of Allah, he starts to walk around the Kaaba, with Kaaba on his left side. He has to touch or kiss the holy black stone in every round if possible. If not possible, he should point towards it and keep on reciting the prays and verses specific for the tawaaf. He should walk briskly, however, women do not need to walk fast. The pilgrims should complete seven rounds reciting the certain verses and then go on to offer two rakaat prayer behind Maqam e Ibrahim.
Then a pilgrim is required to run between the hills of Safa and Marwa, reciting the specified verses. This act is known as Saa’ee and is a commemoration of the historic event when Prophet Ibrahim left his wife and infant son there to show obedience to Allah. When the food supplies were finished, the mother, Hajra ran here and there to find some help for infant son. When she returned to him, she saw a spring of cold water near him. This was a reward from Allah Almighty for her patience and struggle. Allah made this act compulsory for Umrah and Hajj, so that Muslims always remember the struggle and piousness of Prophet Ibrahim and his wife.
Once these rites are completed, the pilgrim has to cut or trim his nails and hair and resume routine activities to terminate the state of Ihram. If the pilgrim has performed Umrah during the month of Hajj, he reenters the state of Ihram on 8th Dhulhajj to complete tamattu type of Hajj and join other Muslims in Arafat.