Umrah is an important act of worship
When Allah Almighty established this universe with human beings, the first house built in this world is the Kabah of Allah. Thus, the Kabah is a reference point for Muslims around the world. If a person reaches here and feels peace of mind and spiritual bliss, it will be the same natural feeling that happens to a person returning home from a journey.
That is why there are two obligatory acts of worship in Islam that are related to the Kabah. Wherever a Muslim prays, his face is towards the Kabah, and Hajj cannot be performed anywhere except in Makkah and its environs.
Apart from Hajj, the other act of worship in which a person enjoys the bliss of visiting the Holy Haram is Umrah. The real meaning of ‘Umrah is to visit and meet, and in Shari’ah terms, “Visiting the House of Allah in a special way is called’ Umrah”. Since visiting the House of Allah refreshes one’s faith, therefor Umrah has significant importance in Islam.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever comes to the House of Allah and does not commit any sexual act or sin, he returns as he was born in his mother’s womb.”
Another narration has been narrated from Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (RA) and it clarifies both Hajj and Umrah ” Whoever performs Hajj avoiding any sexual activity and sin, he will return to his home as if he was born today.” According to another narration, whoever comes to Baitullah Sharif and his purpose is to visit this house and perform Tawaf, then he will be cleansed from his sins as his mother had given birth to him.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “When a person performs another ‘Umrah after one’ Umrah, this second ‘Umrah becomes an expiation for the sins in between.” However, in this hadeeth, sin refers to minor sins, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “If you turn away from the great things which are forbidden to you, We will remove from you the minor sins.”
While Hajj and Umrah bring spiritual benefits, it forgives sins and brings rewards, it also removes poverty and needs. It is narrated from Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas and Hazrat Jabir (RA) that the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said: “Perform Hajj and Umrah one after the other, they remove poverty and destitution in the same way that a furnace removes crushed iron.”
The reason for the similarity in the spiritual and material benefits of Hajj and Umrah is that Tawaf and Sa’i related to Baitullah Sharif and Talbiya and Ihram, which are performed in Hajj is also done in Umrah. That is why Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) has described Umrah as a minor Hajj.
This is the general virtue of Umrah, but since the reward for every action increases in Ramadan, the reward for performing Umrah in Ramadan is also greater. There was an Ansari woman in Madinah named Umm Sanan. She could not join Hajj with Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in the farewell pilgrimage. Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked her the reason. She said, “I have only two camels, one camel my husband and son took away with them and had the pleasure of Hajj with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the other camel is used for fetching water and other things. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do Umrah when Ramadan comes because Umrah in Ramadan is equal to Hajj”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not perform ‘Umrah in Ramadan after His migration, and because of unhappy relations with people of Makkah, it was not possible for Holy Prophet and his companions to perform Umrah repeatedly. However, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performed four Umrah’s regarding the Hudaybiyyah incident. First, when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) visited Hudaybiyyah and peace was established there, this ‘Umrah remained incomplete because of the obstruction of polytheists of Makkah Holy Prophet could not perform Umrah. The second Umrah is to make up this Umrah next year, it is called “Umrah Al-Qada”. The third Umrah was on the occasion of the conquest of Makkah, when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) entered ihram for the Hajj of the Qur’aan, in which both Hajj and ‘Umrah are combined. And all these Umrahs were performed in the month of Zul-Qaeda.
Muslims who can afford it should perform Umrah instead of wasting money on other less important things. Umrah removes poverty and brings health and wealth benefits.
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