Introduction to Umrah
And complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah
Known as the minor pilgrimage, Umrah can be performed at any time of the year. The rituals of Umrah are four in number as described in the interactive map below.
The interactive map below is a broad outline of the rituals pilgrims perform during Umrah. It is by no means a substitute to one’s own reading and research but should prove a useful aid to helping one understand the main obligations.
Click on each number below to display a description of the rituals. A glossary of specific words is also incorporated within the text. Hover over the underlined word to reveal a translation or short explanation.
- Remove unwanted hair, clip nails, trim moustache etc
- Make Ghusl (if possible) or make Wudhu
- Wear Ihram prior to arriving at the Meeqat
- Pray 2 raka'at (optional)
- Make an intention for performing Umrah with the following words:
Allaah humma inni ureedul amrata fa yas-sir haa lee wa taqabbal haa minni
"O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah; make it easy for me and accept from me"
- To enter the state of Ihram, recite the Talbiyah:-
Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeyka laka labbayk,
innal-hamda wan-ni'mata laka wal-mulk, laa shareeyka lak
"Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. Here I am, you have no partner, here I am.
Verily all praise and blessings, and all sovereignty are Yours. You have no partner."
- Proceed to Makkah and head to al-Masjid al-Haram, oft-repeating the Talbiyah
- Before commencing Tawaf, uncover the right shoulder (men only). This is known as Idtiba.
- Approach al-Hajar al-Aswad, raise your right hand and make istilaam with the words:-
Bismillahi, Allaahu Akbar
"In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest"
- Commence the Tawaf in an anti-clockwise direction ensuring the Kabah is on your left.
- During the first 3 circuits, men are to walk at a brisk pace (where possible). This is known as Raml. The remaining 4 circuits are completed at normal pace.
- During Tawaf, one is free to recite Quran, make Dua and Dhikr as he/she chooses. There are no specific recitals during Tawaf other than between the Yamani corner and the black stone, it is Sunnah to recite:-
Rab-banaa aatina fid-dunyaa hasanah wa fil aakhirati hasanah waqina 'azaaban naar
"O Allah, grant us goodness in this world, and goodness in the hereafterm and save us from the punishment of the fire"
- Upon completion of Tawaf, cover the right shoulder and pray 2 rak’at sunnah behind Maqam Ibrahim. If there is no space, anywhere in the mosque will suffice.
- After the prayer, drink zamzam water calling to mind the etiquettes and supplications of the Prophet (PBUH).
- Proceed to Mount Safa. Ascend the raised area, face the direction of the Kabah and make supplication.
- Walk to Mount Marwa, remembering to recite Quran, make Dua and Dhikr along the way.
- Men only should walk briskly or jog between 2 points, indicated by green lights on the wall.
- Upon reaching Mount Marwa, make Dua again facing the direction of the Kabah. This is one circuit completed.
- Complete 7 circuits in total. You should finish at Mount Marwa on the 7th circuit.
- After completing the Sa’ee, shave or trim your hair (men only) from the barber shops available. Women are required to gather their hair and cut approximately a fingertips length from the end of their plait.
- Umrah is now complete. All the restrictions of Ihram are lifted and you are free to live as normal.
Preparing for Umrah
It is important to bear in mind that performing Umrah may require considerable physical exertion. It is thus advisable to undertake some form of exercise in preparation which may involve prolonged walks and light jogging to get into shape.
Preparing the mind
To gain the most out of this spiritual journey, we advise pilgrims to spend time learning about the rituals of Umrah, to reflect on the wisdom behind such acts of worship and to read about the experiences of those who have previously made this journey. Watching documentaries will also assist in visualising the rituals in action. We are not endorsing one book over another but the following collection may help to focus one’s mind:
- HANDBOOK FOR HAJJ AND ‘UMRAH: By Sarwar Alam Raz, 1999 The Islamic Foundation, UK
- HAJJ & ‘UMRAH FROM A TO Z: By Mamdouh N. Mohamed, 1996 Mamdouh N. Mohamed, USA
Hajj and Umrah made easy by Dr Taqi Hashmi and Adnan Mali
- FIQH US-SUNNAH; HAJJ AND ‘UMRAH (VOL. 5): As-Sayyid Sabiq, 1992 A.T.P., USA
- INNER DIMENSIONS OF ISLAMIC WORSHIP: Al-Ghazali, translated by Muhtar
- One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travellers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage, Grove Press, 1998
- THE DIFFICULT JOURNEY: Ahmad Thomson, 1994 Ta-Ha Publishers, UK
- THE WAY BACK: Ahmad Thomson, 1994 Ta-Ha Publishers, UK
- JOURNEY TO MAKKAH: Murad Hofmann, 1998 Amman Publications, USA
- THE PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF A PIGRIMAGE TO AL-MADINAH & MECCAH (2 Vols.): By Sir Richard F. Burton, Dover Edition (Unabridged republication of the Memorial Edition, 1893)
- THE WATER OF ZAMZAM: Majdi Ibrahim, 1996 Dar Al-Taqwa, UK
- MECCA THE BLESSED, MEDINA THE RADIANT, THE HOLIEST CITIES OF ISLAM: Photographs by Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi, Essay by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
What to take
What to take and what to wear are perhaps the most common questions asked by pilgrims. Below is a checklist of recommended travel items. This is by no means an exhaustive list; we also recommend speaking to friends and family for advice.
List of recommended travel items for Umrah
- Sandals or slippers (preferably used ones)
- Vitamin tablets
- Wet wipes
- Surgery mouth masks
- Imodium, Lip Balm
- Pain killers e.g. Paracetamol, Annadin, Ibuprofen
- Savlon cream and a supply of plasters
- Sun block cream
- Travel sickness tablets
- Prescription drugs if needed (e.g. Ventolin, diabetic medicines etc.)
- Toothbrush, mouthwash, toothpaste etc…
- Bath towels, face towels
- Feminine toiletries (non-perfumed)
- Cash for your expenses
- Black permanent marker for labeling luggage
Note: American Express is not accepted everywhere. Credit Cards are accepted for many items.
Buy a strong suitcase!
Reasonable size – think about getting it on top of the bus and being thrown around! Hard case is preferable to soft but either will do.
Try to find an innovative way of identifying your suitcase – very useful when there are so many similar styles and colours. Please note it is crucial you ensure your suitcase and all hand luggage are labeled.
A few more important suggestions & why
- Sunglasses ― Sunglasses are essential for those whose eyes are strained by the bright sunlight
- Money* / ATM cards ― Cash works well, plenty of exchanges
- Money belt/Waist pouch ― To keep money, passport & valuables
- Water bottle ― Hydration is important! In the interest of ecology and recycling our advice is that you purchase water for your journey in the departure lounge and try to use the same container throughout the journey
- A plastic bottle ― Right throughout your Umrah refilling it constantly with Zam Zam for your use. See if you can arrive back in the UK with the same bottle – well done!
- Umbrella ― Optional; available there
- Electric shaver/trimmer ― For shaving your own/other brother’s heads (only if out of Ihram)
- Scissors** ― For cutting hair, small pair of nail scissors ideal
- Qur’an & books ― Your ‘own’ Qur’an; Any Umrah reading
- Note book and pen ― For taking notes during talks/ reminder
- Padlock for safety deposit box ― Needed for safety deposit boxes
* How much spending money will you need? Don’t get carried away with shopping. You’ll regret it in retrospect. Dates & Zamzam are ideal gifts
** Pack all scissors and knives in main luggage. These will be confiscated if left in hand luggage. Be sure to put all the liquids you are carrying on board the aeroplane in a clear plastic bag and keep them within the 100ml restrictions
What to wear
- Belt, safety pins etc…
- Comfortable sandals, shoes
- General thawb with pyjamas underneath Or normal comfortable clothing.
- Loose, comfortable clothes with pyjamas, loose trousers, underneath
- Abayah / Shalwar Kamees
Comfortable shoes/sandals are essential on Umrah. Buy your footwear now and wear them regularly so that your feet are used to them before Umrah. Good Sandals should be purchased from Clarks or any outdoor shops. If you have old sandals your feet are used to and are fit for the purpose – best to use them. Crocks are ideal for Umrah for both men and women. They are light and because they do not absorb water and dry out quickly they are ideal for regular performance of Wudu.
We would not recommend flip flops unless you are very accustomed to wearing them regularly. Please note that the amount of walking done on Umrah requires good footwear.
Health & Safety
If you have a health condition, seek your doctor’s advice to help you decide whether you are fit to travel and if you are, then ask your doctor to confirm it in writing. If you are on medication, take a supply long enough to last you through the trip.
Meningococcal A, C, W135 and Y is obligatory Your GP will give you advice on other vaccinations.
Everyone gets it. Be Prepared! Can be severe or light – best to have the Flu jab before going on Umrah.
Very important to drink enough fluids e.g. Water, preferably Zam Zam, rather than fizzy drinks (Yoghurt drink)
Be careful when you eat from outside vendors. Eat plenty of fresh fruit.
The need for good comfortable, sensible footwear cannot be overemphasised. Blisters can cause a problem if not treated promptly Sore feet from walking on hard marble – suggest slipper socks for women Soreness from rubbing ‘skin on skin’ in heat (e.g. inner thighs) – use Vaseline.
You can delay your period for a time by using Norethisterone. Speak to your GP and get full advice on how and when to use it.
Drink plenty of fluids and always carry a small water bottle with you. Additionally, in order to prevent cramps and headaches
If you need to see a doctor, the Saudi authorities provide free medical services for all pilgrims. Alternatively, you can seek advice from any of the doctors and pharmacists within our group.
Medical Contact Points in Saudi Telephone numbers for the emergency services in Saudi Arabia are:
- Ambulance: 997
- Police: 999
There are medical facilities for pilgrims at the Great Mosque in Makkah should you require medical assistance. Clinics have a white sign with a red crescent and can be found at the following locations:
- Bab Ajyad: Door number 5
- Bab Abdul Aziz: Door number 1
- Bab Fatah: Door number 45
Hospitals in Makkah include the Ajyad Hospital and Noor Hospital. In Madinah there is no medical clinic at the Great Mosque but a Saudi-German Hospital is located nearby.