Umrah is the sacred spiritual pilgrimage that Muslims undertake to the revered city of Makkah. Usually, pilgrims make a list of important things to do before Umrah, so that nothing is missed on their pilgrimage to the house of Allah. Umrah is performed in Makkah because Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was granted the vision to look into the Quran here. It is the most pious journey for devout Muslims after Hajj. The journey is voluntary and can be done throughout the year.
All Muslims wish to go for this spiritual journey once in their lifetime. The main aim of the pilgrimage is to seek forgiveness from Allah and cleanse the mortal sins. There are a lot of preparations to make and things to do before Umrah, which first time pilgrims need to make themselves aware of. A little initiation can go a long way in making your journey to the house of Allah a memorable one.
How To Prepare For Umrah? – Getting Ready For The Holy Pilgrimage
In order to ensure that the journey bears fruitful gains, pilgrims can prepare by:
1. Understanding the rules of Ihram – a sacred state that pilgrims must enter before they can perform Umrah is the most important among various things to do before Umrah. There are various Ihram rites and rituals—a bit different for men and women—that pilgrims must be familiar with before heading for Umrah.
2. Understanding different Duas and Surahs along with their interpretations.
3. Performing Salat al-Tawbah – the prayer of repentance that asks for forgiveness from Allah with a clean heart.
4. Understanding how to offer Salatul Janaza – the funeral prayer.
5. Forgiving, and seeking forgiveness from those one has wronged.
6. Learning the history of Umrah and of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
7. Making a list of duas for loved ones. Making these duas in the most sacred place is the best chance of them being accepted. However, duas must be offered with pure intentions and a malicious-free heart.
Things To Do Before Umrah – Tips To Make It Memorable
Most first-timers undertaking the Umrah journey are not sure regarding what to do before Umrah. A few key things must be done before one to make the spiritual pilgrimage a memorable one.
8. Virtually exploring the sacred sites in Makkah. After finishing the Umrah, pilgrims can visit other revered sites in Madinah and Makkah. There are numerous ziyarats, or pilgrimage sites that are considered sacred and holy by Muslims. Some of them are:
- The cave of Saur, also known as Ghar-e-Saur, is actually the place where the Holy Prophet, along with Hazrat Abu Bakar, spent three days and three nights. It was during the time of traveling from Makkah to Madinah
- The cave of Hira, in the mountain Nour is of extreme importance as per Islamic tradition. This is where the Prophet received the message of Allah through angel Jibreel.
- The house of Abu Jahal, while it does not exist anymore, is still a spot that is visited by the pilgrims. Abu Jahal, originally named Amr ibn Hisham, was a staunch opposer of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He was labeled as the Pharaoh of the Ummah by the Prophet.
- Ayesha mosque acts as a Miqat, where one can wear the Ihram clothing to begin Umrah or Hajj. Also known as Taneem Mosque, this is the place where Aisha, Muhammad (PBUH)’s wife, entered Ihram to begin Umrah.
- Jabl-e-Rehmat, also known as Mount of Mercy or Mount Arafat, is actually a hill in the Arafat valley. It is located just outside Makkah and is the site where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon on the completion of Hajj.
9. Making early reservations is helpful in saving last minute chaos. The pilgrimage is done by millions of Muslims every year. Due to its immense religious significance, there are seasons when it gets really difficult to find rooms in Makkah hotels.
10. Focusing on physical fitness is important for pilgrims to successfully complete Umrah. In total, one has to undertake a journey of at least 4.2 km on foot. Thus, one of the most essential things to do before Umrah is to start taking long walks and concentrating on breathing technique. Walking such long distances in humid conditions requires a lot of stamina and determination.
Umrah preparation for ladies
Umrah preparation for ladies is slightly different than men. There are many guides on what to do before going to Umrah for women. Read them and speak to scholars to know about best practices. Some of the common but important points to keep in mind are
11. Be aware of the suitable clothes to carry. You will require two kinds of clothes – one to perform Umrah and others to wear on other days while still in Makkah.
12. Be aware of the activities that break Ihram.
13. Learn everything about the rules and rituals of Umrah for women.
14. Know about Masjid Ayesha as a miqat for menstruating women.
15. Know all about legal requirements and paperwork if you are traveling without a mahram.
Preparing for Umrah involves focussing on one’s physical, mental, emotional as well as spiritual well-being. All things to do before Umrah ready you for the life-changing experience that it will turn out to be.