Umrah and Hajj, are both the pilgrimages of the Islamic faith, however distinctive in their importance and rituals. Though Hajj and Umrah involve many similar aspects, the difference in their level of obligation and the specific rituals persists. There’s no such equivalence between them. Therefore, pilgrims traveling through Umrah packages must know that no amount of Umrahs is equivalent to Hajj.
Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
Umrah is a voluntary pilgrimage that can be performed at any time of the year. It is not obligatory to perform Umrah rituals even if one has the physical and financial means for it because it is a Sunnah pilgrimage. That’s why it is shorter compared to Hajj and only consists of a few key rituals.
The key rituals of umrah are four;
1. Entering Ihram.
Pilgrims of Umrah necessarily enter a state of absolute purity i.e., Ihram by wearing special clothing and observing specific restrictions.
2. Performing Tawaf.
The ritual of Tawaf involves circling the Holy Kaabah seven times in a counterclockwise direction while reciting prayers.
3. Undertaking Sa’i.
Pilgrims walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times, for the performance of the Sayee ritual.
4. Shaving or trimming the hair.
After completing the Tawaf and Sa’i, pilgrims opt for the last ritual of Umrah which usually includes shaving the heads (Halq – for men) or trimming the hair (Taqsir – for women).
Hajj is an obligatory pilgrimage in Islam that is mandatory to be performed at least once in their lifetime for every Muslim who is financially and physically capable of it. Unlike Umrah, Hajj only takes place during specific days in the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah i.e., 8th of Dhul-Hijjah to the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah.
The additional rites of the Hajj pilgrimage include;
1. Standing on the Plain of Arafat.
Pilgrims gather on the Plain of Arafat, spending the day in supplication and reflection.
2. Staying in Muzdalifah.
After sunset, pilgrims proceed to Muzdalifah, where they spend the night in prayer and collect pebbles for the next ritual.
3. Stoning the Jamarat.
Pilgrims stone symbolic pillars representing the devil in Mina, symbolizing the rejection of temptation.
Pilgrims offer an animal sacrifice as an act of gratitude and following the example of Prophet Ibrahim (AS).
So, as far as equivalence in performing Umrah and Hajj is concerned, umrah does not fulfil the obligations of Hajj and vice versa.
Hajj remains a mandatory and great pilgrimage, while Umrah is a voluntary act of worship. Therefore, the spiritual and religious rewards associated with Hajj are considered greater than those for Umrah due to its obligatory nature and the comprehensive set of rituals involved.
Importance of Umrah in Ramadan.
While Hajj and Umrah have an individual level of significance for the believers, it has been narrated in the Hadith of Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) that; (description) Umrah performed by the pilgrims in the holy month of Ramadan holds an equivalent reward of the Hajj pilgrimage. You have to consult to the Trusted Umrah Travel Agency, Baitullah Travel because they offer the Ramadan Umrah Packages at cheaper costs.
Note that, according to this hadith, it is only the reward of performing Umrah that is equivalent to the reward of the Hajj pilgrimage. Some believe that the performance of Umrah in Ramadan suffices for one’s hajj pilgrimage but the concept is totally wrong.
Performing Umrah in Ramadan only gets you equivalent rewards from Allah Almighty but doesn’t fulfil your religious obligation of Hajj. For the hajj pilgrimage, one has to travel separately, during specific days performing the holy rituals collectively as prescribed in the religion.
To conclude, we can say that no amount of Umrahs can ever be equivalent to Hajj at any time. Umrah remains a voluntary pilgrimage while Hajj is obligatory. So, you cannot fulfil your obligation by performing multiple voluntary prayers. It should be performed separately.
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