The Hajj is an obligation, one of the most important in Islam. It is a pilgrimage to Mecca organized by the Muslim community at least once a year.
Umrah is the lesser of the two Hajj pilgrimages Muslims perform; it can be done anytime throughout the year, unlike the Hajj, which is only to be undertaken during Hajj season which is from mid-thul-q’dah to mid-thul-hajja.
Many umrah travel agencies are providing cheap hajj and umrah packages. Hare we discuss what is the difference between hajj and umrah.
What is Hajj
Hajj is the fifth of the Five Pillars in the Islamic faith. It is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that Muslims are required to do at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able. The Hajj takes place during the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah.
Hajj occurs from the 8th to 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and is one of the two main pillars of Islam, along with fasting during Ramadan. The word hajj means “to intend a journey.”
The hajj starts with ihram, also known as the state of consecration, which involves wearing only simple garments and abstaining from worldly comforts such as shaving or cutting nails.
The hajj ends on the 13th day with Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice). The pilgrims shave their heads and sacrifice an animal such as a sheep or goat in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice for God.
What is Umrah
Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, that can be undertaken at any time of the year.
Umrah is an Arabic word meaning “to visit a populated place”. In Islam, Umrah refers to a pilgrimage performed outside the annual Hajj and is sometimes called the “minor pilgrimage”.
In contrast to Hajj, Umrah can be performed at any time during the year (except during the last 10 days of Ramadan) and does not have specific rites or rituals associated with it. However, they are both essentially visits to Mecca and are prerequisites for each other.
There are several types of Umrah:
Qiran Umrah – where you complete all rites of umrah in one trip (this is also known as Tamattu’ or Ihram Tamattu’). This form of umrah is performed only by men who intend to return home after performing Hajj later.
Qiran Umrah Mufridah – where you complete all rites of umrah in one trip but then go back home instead of proceeding to Taif. This form of umrah is performed only by women who intend to return home after performing Hajj later. Easiest way to go for Umrah is to go with any Hajj and umrah travel agency.
The main difference between Umrah and Hajj is that Umrah is a pilgrimage to the sacred city of Makkah, while Hajj is a pilgrimage to the sacred city of Makkah and its surroundings.
The main purpose of both Umrah and Hajj is to worship Allah (God). However, the rituals performed during these two pilgrimages are different.
Umrah can be performed at any time throughout the year, while Hajj can only be performed during the last month of the Islamic year.
During Umrah, Muslims visit the Kaaba in Makkah without wearing special clothes or Ihram. They also cover their heads with headscarves (Khimar) and wear normal clothes that are not too tight or loose.
On the other hand, during Hajj Muslims wear special clothes called Ihram which consists of two white sheets made from cotton or wool that are wrapped around their bodies from head to toe as well as white socks on their feet and a pair of white sandals on their feet.