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hajj umrah

The difference between Hajj and Umrah

As Muslims, one of the sacred pillars of Islam we should aim to fulfil in our lifetime is undertaking Hajj, the holy pilgrimage in Makkah. For those who are able, they can also go on Umrah. But what’s the difference between Hajj and Umrah?

Differences between Hajj and Umrah

Umrah is like a mini pilgrimage. It’s not a pillar of Islam but a blessing to undertake.

Umrah can be performed at any time during the Islamic calendar, unlike Hajj which can only be performed during the month of Dhul Hijjah.

When you undertake Umrah you will do your tawaf and sa’i.

Tawaf refers to walking in circles around the Ka’aba in an anti-clockwise motion. One tawaf is made up of seven complete circuits, with each one starting and ending at the black stone.

You can also offer voluntary prayers to thank Allah (SWT) for arriving safely and to mark the start of your spiritual journey.

After you’ve performed your tawaf, you’ll then perform sa’i – walking and running between the two hills of Safa and Marwa.

You’ll begin the sa’i on Safa and walk towards Marwa until you see the green marker at which point you will run until the next green marker, and continue walking till you reach Marwa. This completes one lap.

You will then return to Safa to complete your second lap. Your sa’i is complete once you have performed a total of seven laps between Safa and Marwa.

This is an important ritual in memory of Prophet Ibrahim’s wife Hajar (AS) and her struggle in the desert in search of water for her son Prophet Ismail (AS). Sa’i symbolises the ongoing struggle that we encounter throughout our lives, as Hajar (AS) experienced herself.

Once sa’i is complete, men will have their hair clipped or shaved whilst a woman clips her hair to the length of her fingertip.

This marks the completion of your Umrah, allowing you to leave ihram, until the 8th of Dhul Hijjah.

For those undertaking Hajj, the spiritual journey is much longer.

Other differences between Hajj and Umrah is that pilgrims go to Mina, Arafah and Muzdalifah. They undertake the Stoning of the Devil and spend Eid al-Adha at Makkah, undertaking their sacrifice (Qurbani).

During the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah, give your Zakat and Sadaqah and reap the rewards of this blessed month. Don’t forget though to give your Qurbani in time for Eid!

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