The virtues of Umrah
Umrah is known to be the ‘minor Hajj’ and is a Sunnah act performed at any time of the year except for the five days of Hajj, in which it is makrooh, or disliked, to perform Umrah. One who steps out in the path of Umrah is considered a pilgrim until he reaches back home. In a hadith found in the book of Ibne Maajah, The Prophet (S) said: “The performers of Hajj and Umrah are deputations of Allah (SWT). If they call Him, He answers them and if they seek His forgiveness, He forgives them.” This hadeeth clearly shows the great significance of Umrah and how much Allah (SWT) loves those who sacrifice their time and wealth for His cause. In another hadeeth, the Prophet (SWS) says:
One Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and another Umrah. (Bukhari, Muslim)
The above hadeeth implies that Umrah is not something we perform just once, but rather one should strive to perform Umrah multiple times in their lives. Unfortunately, now-a-days, some people go for Umrah without even knowing the great virtues and blessings of the many actions we perform on this journey. It is extremely critical and important that a person who intends to perform Umrah learn the basics of this act of worship including the obligatory actions and what makes Umrah null and what should be done in case there is a chance to compensate for mistakes. As is the case for Hajj, there are many people who perform Umrah and it will be accepted from them by Allah (swt), but there are others who do not just perform Umrah as a duty and leave, but they also cease this great opportunity to get a lot of reward from Allah (swt) and have their sins forgiven. And the best way to get reward is by following the best pilgrim and the best worshipper of Allah, Muhammad (S). Hajjplans.com invites you to navigate through the appropriate links in order to better prepare for such a noble journey which will allow for a spiritual uplifting insha’Allah.
Let us start with the virtues of Umrah in order to truly understand the immense amount of impact the journey has on one’s spiritual state. The Prophet (S) has related various ahadeeth about the great blessings and rewards of performing Umrah throughout one’s life. We at Hajjplans.com have taken amongst the strongest sayings of the Prophet (S) and compiled them into one easy-to-read summary of the different virtues, each with a proper reference from the books of Hadeeth.
1. The act of Umrah is known to cleanse one’s soul from past committed sins. It is advised to do Umrah more than once in your lifetime so that it can act as a washing of the sins from the last time one performed Umrah. Abu Hurairah (R) narrates that the Prophet(S) said, ‘An Umrah to another Umrah will be redemption of sins for whatever (minor) occurs between them.’ (Bukhari, Muslim).
2. Performing Umrah also protects one from poverty since they are there solely for the sake of Allah(SWT) spending their wealth and time in completing the deed. Ibne Mas’ood (R) said that the Prophet (S) said, ‘Follow up the Hajj and Umrah, because they certainly remove poverty and sins as fire separates the impurities from iron, gold and silver.’ (Tirmidhi, Ibne Khuzaimah, Ibne Hibbaan). Also Umar bin Khattab (R) said that Nabi (SAW) said, ‘Follow up between the Hajj and Umrah, because certainly succession between the two of them increases the life span and dispels poverty and sins as fire removes impurities.’ (Baihaqi)
3. Like Hajj, the act of Umrah is amongst the best deeds one can perform when pleasing Allah (swt). Allah (SWT) loves those who strive in his path in hopes of pleasing Him alone and Umrah is an act in which Allah (SWT) considers the pilgrim to be answering His call. Ibne Umar (R) narrates that Prophet (S) said, ‘The warrior in the cause of Allah, the pilgrim and the one who is performing Umrah are all the delegation of Allah. He called them and they responded and they will ask of His bestowals and He will give it to them.’ (Ibne Majah, Ibne Hibbaan)
4. In the blessed month of Ramadan, the reward of performing Umrah is equal to that of performing Hajj with the Prophet (S). On many different occasions, the Prophet (S) has told his companions that performing Umrah in the blessed month of Ramadan has rewards which are equal to performing Hajj with the Prophet (S) himself. In one Hadith, a women heard that the Prophet of Allah (S) was going for Hajj and had asked her husband to allow for her to go with the Prophet (S). Her husband said to her, ‘I do not possess a conveyance with which I can carry you upon.’ She said, ‘Take me on such and such a camel of yours.’ The husband said, ‘that is held up in the path of Allah.’ The man then went to Nabi (SAW) and said, ‘My wife conveys her Greetings to you and she has asked me to carry her on hajj with you.’ I told her, ‘I do not have something to carry her upon.’ She then told me to carry her upon such and such a camel of mine.’ I told her that it is kept in the path of Allah.’ Nabi (SAW) told him, ‘If you carried her upon it for Hajj, it will still be in the path of Allah.’ She also told me to ask you (SAW), ‘What equals a Hajj with you O Nabi of Allah? Nabi (SAW) said, ‘Convey my greetings to her and inform her that Umrah performed in the month of Ramadhaan is equal to Hajj performed with me.’ (Abu Dawood). In another Hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas (R), Umm Sulaim (R) came to Prophet (S) and said, ‘Abu Talha and his son have both went for Hajj and they left me.’ The Prophet(S) said, ‘O Umm Sulaim, Umrah done in Ramadhaan equals Hajj done with me.’ (Ibne Hibbaan). And finally, amongst the strongest hadith in this regard is the one related again by Ibn Abbas in which he said he heard the Prophet (S) say ‘Umrah performed in the month of Ramadan will equal (in rewards) to that of Hajj or Hajj performed with Me (SAW).’ (Bukhari, Muslim)
5. Another absolutely breathtaking virtue of Umrah is that if one passes away in their journey of Umrah, the reward for them is Jannah. ‘Aisha (R) said that the Prophet (S) said, ‘Whoever leaves his home only for the purpose of Hajj or Umrah and he dies, nothing will be presented to him nor will he have any accountability on the day of Reckoning and it will be said to him, enter into Jannah.’ (Tabraani Baihaqi)
Visiting the City of the Prophet (S)
Medinah, which lies 447 kilometers north of the Holy City of Makkah, is the city of the Prophet (S). This is the place in which the Holy Quran was compiled and the Prophet’s (S) companions administered the affairs of the Muslim Ummah. The following is a list of things to consider and implement before and after your arrival to Medinah.
1. When you start traveling to Medinah, Make your intention as such: “O Allah! I am starting my journey to visit the holy tomb of Prophet Muhammad (S). Please accept it from me”. Also during this journey, recite Darud Sharif frequently, which is asking Allah to give peace and blessings on the Prophet (S).
2. When the city of Medinah is in sight, show your extreme fondness and excitement and humbly enter the city while reciting Darud Sharif.
3. After putting your luggage at your hotel or place of residence, take a bath or perform ablution (wudu), put on new and nice looking clothes, apply perfume, and proceed towards the Prophet’s Mosque while repeating Darud Sharif.
4. Try to enter the mosque through gate Al-Jibril or gate As-Salaam as these are the gates which lead to the grave of the Prophet (S). However, if this is not possible, enter through any other door.
5. Place your right foot first in the entrance, praise Allah (such as say Allahu Akbar, Subhan Allah, Alhamdu Lillah, etc.), recite Darud Sharif and say:
“Allah humma aftah li abwabe rahamte ka” “Oh Allah open for me the doors of your mercy.”
6. Upon entrance into the Masjid, offer two raka’s of nafl tahiyyat Al-Masjid (greeting of the Masjid) anywhere in the mosque. If one is able to do this in the Riyadh Al-Jannah area, (the area in the Masjid which is known to rise into Jannah, this is also where the Prophet (S) used to lead the Salah) then this is preferred. However, this place is normally packed of people at all times, especially in the Hajj season. Don’t let that stop you from praying two raka’s there at least once on your visit, but also don’t exhaust yourself trying to always pray there, for this could involve harming other to do so.
7. Visit the grave of the Prophet (S) and that of Abu Bakr and Omar. In front of the sacred tomb of The Holy Prophet (S), there are three sections of brass screens and all three have holes in them. If you stand in front of the middle section between the pillars, you’ll see a big round hole on your left. This is in front of the face of the Holy Prophet (S). Adjacent to it is a door that stays closed. Right after it on the right side is a round hole which is in front of the face of Abu Bakr As-Siddique. On the right of it, there is another round hole which is in front of the face of Umar Bin Khattab. Standing in front of it and facing it, say in a respectful and low voice:” Assalamu alaika, ayyuhan-nabiyya wa rahmatul-lahi wa barakatuhu” (Peace be on you, O Prophet, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.) After this say: “Assalatu was-salamu alaika ya Rasul-Allah”, “Assalatu was-salamu alaika ya Nabi-yallah”, “Assalatu was-salamu alaika ya Habib-Allah”. Then supplicate to Allah for good things in this life and the life after death. Then move a little to the right and stand before the grave of Abu Bakr. Greet him and supplicate to Allah to bestow His mercy and forgiveness on him. Then move a little to the right and stand before the grave of Umar. Greet him and supplicate to Allah to bestow His mercy and forgiveness on him.
8. When you have to leave Medinah, offer your Salam again to the Prophet (S), cry at this separation, supplicate to Allah and leave with the earnest desire to come back.
Historical Places of Medinah
The following are some of many historical places in Medinah which a pilgrim would like to visit. Out of these, a visit to Masjid Quba is highly recommended as holds very high status, next to the Holy Prophet’s Mosque.
The graveyard of Medinah, where a large number of Sahabah (companions) including Usman, Abbas, Imam Hassan, and wives and daughters of the Holy Prophet are buried. This graveyard is close to the tomb of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), right after the courtyard of Masjid Al-Nabawi.
2. Masjid Quba
This is the first mosque in the history of Islam whose foundation stone was laid down by Prophet Muhammad (S) himself on his migration to Medinah. To offer 2 raka’s of nafl in it is equal to one Umrah. After visiting the Prophet’s Mosque and his tomb every pilgrim should try his/her best to visit it and pray in this mosque as well. A visit to Masjid Quba is highly recommended since the Prophet (SWS) used to visit it quite frequently to pray 2 raka’s.
3. Masjid Qiblatain In this mosque, Allah directed Prophet Muhammad (S), who was in the middle of a Salah along with his companions, to turn his face from Islam’s first Qibla (Bait-ul-Muqqadis) to Ka’aba in Masjid Al-Haram. That is why this mosque is known as a mosque with two Qiblas.
4. Masjid Jumuah This mosque was built at a place where the Prophet (S) offered his first Jumuah prayer in Medinah.
5. Masjid Ghamama This mosque is not far from Masjid Al-Nabawi. The Prophet (S) used to offer his Eid prayers here. Once the Prophet led Istasqa prayer (prayer for rain) in it and suddenly the clouds appeared and it started raining, hence the name Ghamama (clouds).
6. Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Umar Farooq and Masjid Ali These three mosques that are near Masjid Ghamama.
7. Badr The plain of Badr is south west of Medinah where the first battle between 313 Muslims and 1000 Quraish of Makkah took place in 624 A.D. The Muslims had seventy camels and two horses whereas the Quraish had a cavalry of 200 Horses and 700 camels. They were superior in weapons too, but Muslims were victorious because they were strong in morale and strategy due to the leadership of the Holy Prophet (S).
8. Jabal Al-Uhad About four miles on the north of Medinah, famous battle of Uhad was fought at 3 A.H. Hazrat Hamza, the Holy Prophet’s uncle, and other companions are buried here.
There are also many other historical sites in the blessed city of Medinah. Each pilgrim is recommended to visit as many sites as possible in Medinah, and it is therefore encouraged to ask group leaders which sites are planned to be visited in the journey.