As part of our #hautearabiatraveldiary series I am taking you on my journey to the holy lands. In part two I detail the essential requirements for fulfilling an Umrah. However, I don’t just cover the rules and regulations, I examine the history and rationale for which we perform this pilgrimage. Without an understanding of why we do things actions can become devoid of meaning and so this part aims to fill your soul with love, excitement and anticipation for this blessed journey. As a student of traditional Islamic teaching I have sat with my Sheikh to compile this for you and have therefore sought to ensure it is as accurate as possible. We will be distributing print copies of the handbook so please do keep a look out for this too.
Alhamdulillah (All praise to Allah for the blessing of being able to go on this journey). Umrah is one of the ibadat that Allah mentioned in the Quran (many were not mentioned). To remind you of just how important the Umrah is Rasullah (alayhisalam) said between one umrah to the next umrah all your sins are forgiven.
This handbook aims to be a simple pocket size guide to remind you of the blessings and grace that are to surround you through the course of your journey to the holy lands of Makkah and Madinah. We pray that this guide enables you to complete the simple rituals with blessings and ease and with a sense of true understanding for all that you will embark on. We ask you to remember our Shaykh and all of us in your du’as during this journey.
- The Grace of Umrah
To understand the true blessings of Umrah one should look at the example of our beloved Prophet (alayhisalam). How Rasululla (alayhisalam) suffered to go to Umrah. Rasulullah (alayhisalam) saw in his dream that he was doing Umrah and so this commenced his (alayhisalam) journey. When he (alayhisalam) got close, the Quraysh denied him entrance to Makka. He (alayhisalaam) was denied access to the house his family built after travelling over 430 km from Madina along with many of the sahaba on foot. They had with them their families and travelled this long distance only to reach Makkah and be denied entry. The Quraysh belittled and humiliated Rasullula (alayhisalam) by placing many conditions on an entry for the next year, nevertheless Rasululla (alayhisalam) accepted these. Rasululla (alayhisalam) shaved his hair before returning without doing Umrah. The following year he (alayhisalam) returned and finally completed this Umrah. If people understood these lengths that Rasullulla (alayhisalam) went to complete this Umrah they would wish to go for Umrah and this indicates to us the importance of the Umrah.
We know of the other blessings of Umrah from Surah Nisa, Ayah 80 where Allah said, ‘Whoever obeys the messenger of Allah (alayhisalam) he has obeyed Allah. This action of Umrah links us to this very strong Ayah and this is the grace of Umrah.
- Pre-Umrah Preparations
First and foremost its’ critical to understand that everything related to Islam is simple. The simplicity of this deen comes from the simplicity of everything to do with Allah. We see this from when Allah said in the Quran on speaking about Yaqub (alayhisalam) ‘All types of food were halal for the children of Israel (Yaqub) except the types of food which Yaqub made it haram himself’. In Surah Al Baqarah Allah (SWT) says he (SWT) he wanted ease for us. This is more than wanting to make things easy for us, this is before the situation which needs to be made easy. Allah simply wanted us to have it easy before doing anything. We however, are the ones who make situations complicated.
Therefore we need to understand to start with the rememberance that Umrah is very simple and all of our religion is based on this simplicity. Complication has nothing to do with the Deen of Allah. Our life should be simple and our ibadadt simple.
To commence therefore all we need is a Niyah (intention). Our intention before going should be;
- To make Tawba, Allah SWT said, ‘and repent to Allah, all of you who are the believers’.
- Tawba has three conditions;
- To depart from whatever you are doing, (n.b. depart is different to stop, depart is described as flying from it – moving on and leaving it totally). This has to be immediately and without any condition. You shouldn’t say when these conditions stop etc. Allah will help despite how difficult it seems but seek Allah’s help.
- Tawba has three conditions;
You will achieve Allah’s love from the above, because Allah loves those who repent.
2. Regret the past but don’t dwell on past memories.
Once you enjoy the sweetness of Tawba, you will realise and regret the past, but we have to be very careful here. We have to remember not to bring up the past memories and we should only regret the time that we spent without remembering Allah SWT.
3. Being nice to each other and dealing with each other as if you were dealing with Allah.
If you want to make your relationship stronger with Allah you have to start by being nice to his slaves. Allah SWT wants us to deal with everyone around us as if we are living with him SWT. This means dealing with everyone from your brother/ sister/ father / neighbours/ colleagues/ with everyone that you meet in the way that you would deal with Allah. Deal with them as if Allah is in them. That’s why Allah said, when I was sick you did not visit me, when I was hungry you did not feed me. When asked how ya Allah could I not have fed you – you do not need food? Allah explained you did not deal with so and so when he was hungry etc. Even our guide, the noor of Allah (SWT) in his last sermon he said, anyone that I hurt I apologise and if anyone has anything against me – take their right from me in this dunya (I don’t want them to complain to Allah).
- Other ways we need to prepare ourselves for Umrah,
- By making a lot of Dhikr to Allah before we go,
- To remember that the journey that you are going on is the journey that has started with Ibrahim (alayhisalaam), the grandfather of Rasullula (alayhisalam). It is the journey that many saliheen have gone through and to remember the hardship that the lonely and single mother Hajar went through to understand the Rahma of Allah.
The whole purpose of Umrah is then to understand the Yaqeen and trust in Allah that a single, lonely, poor and helpless mother had. She had left everything and was content to be with Allah. She Hajar (radialllanha) was the grandmother of our Rasululla (alayhisalam) a slave from Egypt but was married to our prophet Ibrahim (alayhisalam).When Allah blessed him with a baby boy that he loved so much, Allah SWT ordered him to leave her in a desert, an empty place with no rain, water, food and in a completely unhabitable situation with her child. When her husband gave her his back she asked one question, is it Allah’s command to leave me here? He replied yes, and then her Yaqeen came out as if a pregnant women was giving birth to a new life – she said with Yaqeen Allah is not going to waste me.
This Umrah that you are embarking on that is a result of that Yaqeen. The result of Hajar’s Yaqeen was that Allah blessed her with Zamzam, the water that is running for thousands of years. This Yaqeen resulted in a desert that has become a target for all the people from around the world. The Yaqeen of this single woman took an empty place that no one was interested in to become such a blessed place. It is with this Baraka that Allah ordered Ibrahim to build a house of Allah.
This journey is then one of hope. Allah has given rizk, strength and rahma and when we embark on this journey we should go with that Yaqeen that Allah can give me what was given to Hajar. This journey of Hajar was a journey of great strife and struggle. We cannot imagine how it would be to live and almost starve to death in such a situation. Yet Hajar did not give up hope and she still ran – between Safa and Marwa to search for someone and something to help. This did not mean she did not have Yaqeen but it meant she did not forget the practicalities as well.
From the barakat of rabbi (SWT) we learn that this journey of strife and struggle will result no doubt to a lot of Khair and Baraka. Yes Hajar suffered and she was thirsty, hungry and lonely, she was away her country and her loved ones, but because of her Yaqeen and patience the result was this continuous Baraka for thousands of years. Allah did not only solve her problem but she became a source of khair and inspiration until now. So let us make his journey of renewing our Iman,. our Yaqeen, our patience and our rememberance for Hajar.
Let us make Hajar (radiallaanha) an inspiration for all of our khair.
- What is Umrah
Umrah is a not just any visit, but a visit to the House of Allah, and why is the Kaabah called the house of Allah? Does a house have to be `accommodation’? Allah called the Kabah his house as a test, yes it is sacred and honoured, but Allah is testing my iman. Rabbi chose from the days Friday and chose from months – Ramadan, and from his creation Rasululla (alayhisalam) and chose the 10 days of Ramadan, and from this he chose Laylat-al Qadr.
So Allah chose this piece of land to be his house, and Allah sent Ibrahim (alayhsisalam) and Ismail to build it. So when you visit you are saying to Allah I accept your commands, whether I understand the wisdom behind them or not Allah made it a Qibla for me in my salah, so in every salah I remember this house and now I will stand there in front of this sacred place.
Umrah is accepting the call of Allah, Allah invited us and we are accepting the invitation of Allah and going so it is an honour that Allah has invited us and a Rahma that Allah has facilitated for us and a tawfiq that Allah made us fulfill.
- Umrah, the practicalities.
The first thing;
- Ihram meaning (sacred) and having a different state.
- There are some areas for each part of the world where you declare your Umrah from, which normally happens when we are on the plane when going for Umrah/ Hajj.
Before going on to the plane;
- Take a shower and prepare;
- We make the intention for Ihram when on the plane;
- Ihram – is making the intention for Umrah;
- From this point you begin recitation of ‘La baik, AllahummaLa baik’ I respond to you Allah and I respond to your call.
‘La baik la humma la Umrah’, I responded to your call for Umrah
- And we add what Rasulullah (saw) has added, ‘fa in habasanee habisun fa ma hili haythu habasthany’ – it means I answered your call Allah but if something outside of my control stops me from completing my Umrah then it is not something that I wanted to do.
Why do we add this point?
Allah (SWT) said in Surah Baqarah – complete your Hajj and Umrah for the sake of Allah, so it becomes compulsory once you make your ihram and should you not complete it you would have to redo it again. However, if you say the above statement then you are free, and this is the Rahma of Rasululla (alayhisalam) to make things easy for us.
The greatest form of Ibada once you make your ihram, is to stop from all conversations and irrelevances, focus now on saying only – ‘la baik la humma la baik, la baik la sharika la baik’, I respond to you and not anyone else but you.
Innal hamda – verily all the praise
Wa naimata – and all the blessings
Lak (it is from you)
La sharika lak (you’ve got no partners/ no associated, all the khair that I have is from you and is not from no one else)
We keep repeating this until we enter Makkah.
During this from the time of ihram we have to keep ourselves away from certain things;
- Cannot cut nails;
- Cut hair;
- Remove anything from our body;
- Cutting trees;
- Any hunting;
- Any relationship between husband and wife;
Once we enter Makkah;
- We have to understand that we are in a sacred place, all our good deeds and bad deeds are multiplied. It is said one salah is the equivalent of 100,000 salah. So each tasbih, each dhikr has sadaqah.
- Even your bad deeds have a high multiplication so it’s even more pertinent to watch everything you do.
- Sayyidina abullahi wa ibn abbas used to live in Makkah and then moved to Taif, and when he was asked of this, he said that is a place where the good is multiplied and for someone sinful like me maybe my sins will be multiplied.
- Entering the Masjid & Tawaf
When we enter the masjid, we enter by sending salawat upon Rasululla (alayhisalam) and we make the dua’a of entering the masjid, which is;
Allahumma iftah lee abwaba rahmatik.
Oh Allah open for us the doors of your Rahma, (not one but all your doors, whether it is rizk, love, health but this includes all possible doors of your Rahma’.
In Part 3 I will complete the practicalities of the Umrah guide. Keep reading x