The Umrah that is performed in Ramadan has a special merit over that which is performed in any other month. There are narrations encouraging Muslims to perform it in this month (Ramadan), showing its merit and reward and clarifying that it incurs a reward equal to that of performing Hajj.


Monday, Ramadan 8, 1440 AH (May 13, 2019)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah for granting us this time which our hearts, words and limbs have awaited with much anticipation. Endless praises and gratitude are due to Allah for His abundant favours that continue to increase, and we hope to attain His reward on the Day of Recompense. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone, without any partner. He has granted immense reward to those who fast in every generation. I further bear witness that our Prophet Muhammad is Allah’s worshipping servant and Messenger. He was the best individual who fasted, prayed and performed Umrah; he will be granted the loftiest rank in the hereafter, and those who follow his path will attain the greatest of rewards. O Allah, grant Your commendation, protection, and blessings to Your Messenger, as well as to his outstanding family and children, his esteemed Companions, and all who continue to follow their path until the Day of Recompense.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Abdullah Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that:

“When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) returned after performing Hajj (major pilgrimage), he asked Ummu Sinan Al-Ansariyyah, ‘Why did you not perform Hajj?’ She replied, ‘The father of so-and-so [i.e., her husband] had two camels and he went on pilgrimage on one of them, and the second is used for the irrigation of our land.’ The Prophet said [to her]: ‘It’s OK, an Umrah (minor pilgrimage) in Ramadan is akin to Hajj with me [in terms of reward].’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

According to another narration, he told her:

“When Ramadan comes, do Umrah as [the reward for] it then is equivalent to Hajj.”

The above quoted narration is indeed accepted as authentic by the absolute majority of the scholars and jurists (Fuqaha) in Islam.

Likewise, it was reported by Ummu Ma‘aqil, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to her:

“Perform Umrah in Ramadan, as it is equal to Hajj.” [Abu Dawud]

Similar Hadiths were also narrated on the authority of Jabir, Anas, Abu Hurairah and Wahb Ibn Khanbash, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Imam Ibn Battal commented on the aforementioned Hadiths, saying:

“The sentence that Umrah “then is equivalent to Hajj”, proves that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was actually encouraging her to perform a voluntary Hajj (Umrah), as the whole Ummah (Muslim nation) has unanimously agreed that the Umrah can never be a substitute for the obligatory Hajj. Moreover, what he meant is that they are like each other in reward, but virtues cannot truly be perceived through analogy; and Allah The Almighty bestows His Bounty upon whom He Wills.”

The Benefits and Rulings Derived From These Hadiths

1. The mercy and bounty bestowed by Allah The Almighty upon His servants is great, as He granted them huge rewards in return for small good deeds; so, we praise Him abundantly for that.

2. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was keen on ensuring the welfare of his Ummah and would ask after those under his rule. Just as he was the sincerest confidant to all people, any servant whom Allah The Almighty puts in charge of subjects should treat them leniently, advise them, check on their conditions and serve their worldly and religious benefits.

3. Umrah done during the month of Ramadan cannot be a substitute for the obligatory Hajj, i.e., they are equal in reward, but the former does not replace the latter as a fulfillment of the obligation that is unanimously agreed upon by the scholars.

4. The reward of good deeds increases in proportion to the virtue of the time they are performed in, as well as one’s heartfelt devotion and dedication.

5. This Hadith is similar to the narration that says:

“The Chapter Al-Ikhlas (Purification) is equals to one third of the Qur’an.”

It indicates that it is equivalent in terms of the reward of recitation, not that reciting it could, or should, substitute actually reciting [that much or] the whole of the Qur’an.

6. The Umrah here is considered equal to the Hajj in reward, when it is performed during the month of Ramadan, which is a great season for good deeds. Hence, whoever performs it then, enjoys the virtue of the place [i.e., the Sacred Mosque in Makkah] and time [i.e., Ramadan]; this is also the case with one who performs Hajj, as he is also in the same noble place and in a blessed time [i.e., months of Hajj].

In addition, doing Umrah in the month of Ramadan is more difficult. That is because one may be fasting while performing it or may break his fast due to the traveling involved, and then have to make up for it. This is not the case when one performs Umrah during any other month. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, once, when he ordered her to perform Umrah:

“It [i.e., its reward] is according to your effort.”

Or, as per another narration:

“According to your expenditure.” [Muslim]

7. This great reward is granted to whoever performs the Umrah during the month of Ramadan, even if he [or she] returns immediately thereafter and does not prolong his [or her] stay in Makkah.

8. These Hadiths do not mean that it is recommended for one to perform Umrah many times in the month of Ramadan or in a single day of it. This practice, which has become common today, differs from the Sunnah and traditions of the honourable Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, as it was not reported that any of them used to perform many Umrahs during the same journey to Makkah.

9. Whoever performs Umrah in Ramadan and intends to stay at the Noble Mosque during the whole month or its last ten nights, should guard himself against committing any prohibition, because evil deeds are more sacrilegious in Makkah than in any other place, not to mention, during the month of Ramadan.

10. Whoever takes his family to stay at the Noble Mosque during the month of Ramadan, should take care that they, too, do not fall into committing any forbidden act; otherwise, he may return with sins that exceed the reward he came to earn, due to his negligence towards his wife and children.

11. If one entered the state of Ihram (ritual consecration) with the intention of performing Umrah and reached Makkah while fasting, he has the choice of either breaking his fast to be able to do it immediately or waiting to do it until after sunset. It is better for him to break his fast during the daytime and perform Umrah upon arrival, since doing Umrah right after reaching Makkah, is what the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Allah, The Almighty, urged His servants to race to do good deeds, which may bring them closer to Him in an attempt to gain His reward and forgiveness. This is indicated by the verses:

“So race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together.” [Qur’an, 5:48]

“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord.” [Qur’an, 3:133]

And among the greatest arenas for this race is visiting Al-Bait Al-Haram (Sacred House in Makkah) to perform Umrah (Minor Pilgrimage), owing to the great reward and the expiation of sins involved in doing that. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Performing two Umrahs expiates the sins committed in the interval between them.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

And he (Peace be upon him) said:

“Alternate between Hajj and Umrah, for they exterminate poverty and sins as the (blacksmith’s) bellows removes impurities from iron, gold and silver.” [Ahmad and others]

The Umrah that is performed in Ramadan has a special merit over that which is performed in any other month. There are narrations encouraging Muslims to perform it in this month (Ramadan), showing its merit and reward and clarifying that it incurs a reward equal to that of performing Hajj.

This was the practice of our righteous predecessors (As-Salafus Salih) who used to perform Umrah in the month of Ramadan. It was authentically reported that:

“Sa’id Ibn Jubair and Mujahid used to perform Umrah in the month of Ramadan (and observe Ihram for it) from Al-Ji‘irranah (a place 10 miles from Makkah). It was also narrated that Abdul-Malik Ibn Abu Sulaiman said that he and Ata’ set out in Ramadan (to perform Umrah) and observed Ihram from Al-Ji‘irranah.”

This discloses the secret behind the Muslim’s race towards the Sacred House to do this act of worship in the month of Ramadan. With that great scene, one feels as if in a major season of Hajj.

Hence, I should provide a reminder and some rules of Umrah, and how to do it as follows:

Generally, Umrah includes four main requirements: Ihram (state of consecration), Tawaf (circumambulation); Sa‘ayi (moving between As-Safa and Al-Marwah), and shaving or shortening the hair of the head.

Once having the intention to perform Umrah, the Muslim is recommended to have a wash (bath) and apply perfume, and then put on the clothing of Ihram after removing form-fitting clothes, like trousers and the like (for men only).

It is recommended (Sunnah) for men to wear lower and upper garments. As for women, they may wear whatever clothes they want, provided that the clothes cover their bodies and are free of adornment. It is prohibited for women to put the veil on their faces (niqab) except when men pass by them. They are also prohibited to wear hand gloves.

After that, one should pray two voluntary Raka’ahs intended as a Sunnah of ablution.

There is no prayer that should be made especially for Ihram. After the prayer, one should make Talbiyah for Ihram, saying:

“Labbaika Umrah.”

Then, one should start Talbiyah, saying:

“Labbaikallahummah labbaik, Labbaika lasharika laka labbaik. Innal hamda wanni’mata laka walmulk, la Sharika lak.”

Meaning:

“O Allah, here I am at Your service. There is no partner to be associated with You. Praise, blessing and dominion are Yours. There is no partner to be associated with You.”

A person in the state of Ihram should say Talbiyah as frequently as possible as it denotes the verbal slogan of the Umrah rite. This is especially emphasised in various conditions and times, as while ascending a high place or descending to a lower place, or at nightfall, and the like. Talbiyah should be said till the onset of Tawaf.

When arriving at Al-Masjid Al-Haram, one should enter with one’s right foot and say:

“Bismillah was-salatu was-salamu ala rasulillah. Allahummaghfir li Zunubi, waftah li abwaba rahmatik.”

Meaning:

“In the Name of Allah, peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah! Forgive my sins, and open to me the doors of Your Mercy.”

Then, one should enter the Mosque with humbleness, glorification of Allah, The Almighty, and recalling the Grace of Allah Who Has facilitated for him/her the arrival at Al-Bait Al-Haram.

Then, one should move toward the Black Stone, starting Tawaf from there. One should touch and kiss it if possible. If not, one may merely point to it from afar, saying:

“Bismillah. Allahu Akbar!” Meaning: “In the Name of Allah. Allah Is The Greatest.”

One should not throng with others in an attempt to reach it. One is supposed to make seven rounds, starting from the Black Stone and finishing at it. At the beginning of each round, one should say:

“Allahu Akbar.” Meaning: “Allah Is The Greatest.”

It is favourable that one touches the Yemeni Corner (Rukunil Yaman) that precedes the Black Stone in every round if possible. It is not permissible, however, to kiss it or point to it if one cannot manage to do so. Between the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone, one should recite the Quranic verse:

“Our Lord, Give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” [Qur’an, 2:201]

During Tawaf, one should remember Allah, The Almighty, supplicate to Him and recite something from the Qur’an. There are no specific supplications that should be said in every round.

It is recommended to uncover one’s right shoulder, placing the middle part of the upper garment under the armpit and putting the ends of the garment on the left shoulder, in all the rounds. It is also recommended to quicken one’s pace with short steps in the first three rounds. Upon completing the seven rounds, one is supposed to proceed to the Maqamah Ibrahim [standing place of Ibrahim, may Allah exalt his mention] and recite the verse:

“And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Ibrahim a place of prayer.” [Qur’an, 2:125]

Then, one should perform two Raka‘ahs behind the Maqamah Ibrahim if possible. Otherwise, one should make them elsewhere in the Mosque.

After that, one should proceed to do the Sa’ayi, and while approaching As-Safa hillock, one may recite the verse:

“Indeed, As-Safa and al-Marwah are among the Symbols of Allah.” [Qur’an, 2:158]

Then, one is to ascend As-Safa till one can see the Ka‘abah, to look at it and raise one’s hands and supplicate to Allah, The Almighty. In this regard, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to supplicate to Allah, The Almighty by saying:

“La Ilaha Ilallah, wahdahu la sharika lah. Lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu, wa Huwa ala kulli shai’in Qadir. La Ilaha Illallahu wahdah, Anjaza wa‘adah, wa nasara Abdah, wa hazamal-Ahzaba wahdah.”

Meaning:

“There is none worthy of worship except Allah, to Him no partners should be associated. To Him are the Sovereignty and Perfect Praise, and He is Competent to do everything. There is none worthy of worship except Allah, Who fulfilled His promise, supported His Servant and defeated the parties.”

This is to be mentioned thrice, with supplications in between.

Then, one is to descend As-Safa proceeding to Al-Marwah and hurrying between the two green pillars without crowding others. When reaching Al-Marwah, one should ascend it, face the Qiblah, raise his hands and make the supplication that he made on As-Safa, without reciting the verse:

“Indeed, As-Safa and al-Marwah are among the Symbols of Allah.” [Qur’an, 2:158]

With that, one has completed one out of the seven rounds. Then, one is to descend from As-Safa, walking, where walking is required and hurrying where hurrying is required, till the end of the seven rounds, starting with As-Safa and finishing with Al-Marwah.

Upon the completion of Sa’ayi, men are supposed to shave or shorten their hair. Shaving is better. As for women, they should shorten their hair by just trimming an amount equal to a fingertip.

With shaving or shortening one’s hair, the acts of Umrah are finished, and the person has come out of the state of Ihram. Thus, everything that was forbidden in the state of Ihram becomes lawful.

Finally, the Muslim should not miss this chance. He should take advantage of this noble time and place and do many voluntary acts of worship and obedience, especially in the blessed month of Ramadan and in the blessed place of Al-Masjid Al-Haram. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“One prayer performed in my Masjid (Mosque) is better than one thousand prayers performed in other Mosques save Al-Masjid Al-Haram. Also, one prayer performed in Al-Masjid Al-Haram is better than one hundred thousand prayers performed in other Mosques.” [Ahmad in his Musnad]

One should be most cautious not to commit any violations or sins that may eliminate the reward, and cause one to come back with loads of sins. As reward is multiplied in such a place, sins which are committed there are not the same as sins that are committed elsewhere. Allah, The Almighty Says:

“And [also] whoever intends [a deed] therein of deviation [in religion] or wrongdoing – We will make him taste of a painful punishment.” [Qur’an, 22:25]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The most hateful among people to Allah are three… A person who deviates in religion at Al-Haram.” [Al-Bukhari]

May Allah guide us all to good words and deeds, and accept from all of us in this blessed month of Ramadan. Ameen.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

We ask Allah the Most High to strengthen us in this Ramadan, accept our fasts and prayers, and reward us with His forgiveness and the highest place in Paradise. Ameen.

Written by your brother, Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.