Umrah is the spiritual Islamic ritual of the Muslims performed by them with utmost religious zeal and zest. Unlike Hajj it is a non-mandatory Ibadah that can be performed anytime in the year. The Muslims who are physically, mentally and financially sound intend to go their holiest city of Saudi Arabia to cleanse their heart and soul and to multiply their wealth.
When a pilgrim enters into Haram, he or she wants to stay alone to feel the proximity with Allah (SWT). However, it is also a fair idea to get your memorable spiritual experience through the group umrah journey. The benefits of the Group Umrah journey are multi-folds than the individual one. Along with getting Allah’s rewards, you will experience the sense of Muslim brotherhood and friendship with your fellow pilgrims. Traveling in a group can save you from the hassles of the journey. You can have a meaningful religious conversation with each other. Moreover, the Group Umrah also ensures a sense of security among one another.
Members of the Group
Your Umrah Group can be the members of your own family with other families. It can also be your office colleagues and other relatives. If you are traveling with the unknown people, you would be able to know your Muslim fellows and their manners with a different lifestyle.
Consultation with the Travel Company
Well, whoever you decide to travel with, it is highly recommended to consult with a certified trusted and experienced travel company for your spiritual itinerary. Because the Saudi Govt. allows your Umrah proceedings only through a certified Hajj/Umrah travel company.
Umrah and its Pillars
Umrah is derived from the Arabic word Itimar means a visit. In Islamic terms it means paying a visit to the glorious Holy Kaaba, performing Tawaaf around it in Ihram, walking between Safa and Marwah seven times. The pilgrim at the end puts off the Ihram and gets his hair shaved or cut. You can also perform Umrah with your Hajj. This means that your Umrah consists of four pillars which are;
Ihram- assume a two-piece white cloth
Tawaaf- Circling the Holy Kaaba
Sa’ey- walking between Safa and Marwah
Tahal-lul- coming out of the State of the Ihram
Ihram is the first pillar of Umrah, before initiating your Umrah itinerary, the male pilgrims must put off Ihram. It is a two-piece white cloth. One is called Rida and the other one is known as Izar. Rida covers the upper body while Izar covers the lower half. This appealing white Umrah male outfit also showcases the mystical sense of Muslim brotherhood and uniformity among the Muslim Ummah. If you are accompanied by your Group, this sense of unity and togetherness gets intensified.
Places of Ihram
Many Muslims assume the state of Ihram at Jeddah airport or even at the airport of their hometown. However, there are the things that you are prohibited to do during and after the state of Ihram. If you do these things, your Umrah or Hajj would be null and void.
Therefore, it is better to wear your Ihram at the stay places of Makkah and Madinah. These places enable Muslims to wear their Ihram with all ease and contention. In Arabic terminology, these places are known as Meeqat.
Meeqat is the place where the Umrah or Hajj pilgrims take their Ihrams.
Meeqats in Ahaadees
There are five Meeqats. Four of them have been broadly discussed in Ahadees. These are
Dhul Hulaifa for the people of Madinah
Al-Juhfa for the pilgrims of Sham
Qarn ul Manazil for the people of Najd
Yalamlam for the people of Yemen
Similarly, the people of Makkah would assume the state of Ihram from their places respectively.
Meeqats from Makkah
The following are the Meeqat locations, whose directions are determined for Makkah. These are also mentioned in Islamic traditions.
Masjid e Aisha
It is also known as Masjid e Taneem. Masjid e Aisha in Hill that is 75 KM away from Kaaba. It is the place where the Holy Prophet ( SAW) directed Aisha ( R.A) to wear Ihram. This is located in the South of Makkah on the road to Madinah.
It is located 18Km northwest of Masjid e Nabwi ( SAW) AND 410 km North of Makkah. The Miqat Mosque is located at Dhul Hulaifa. It is the place where the pilgrims from Madinah come to assume the State of Ihram. The name of the architect of this Meeqat Mosque is Abdul Waheed Al-Wakeel.
it is located at 182 Km Northwest of Makkah. It is specifically calibrated for the pilgrims travelling from North America, Europe, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, and numerous other African countries. Pilgrims can also adorn their Ihram at the place called Rabigh, a town just to the North of al-Juhfa.
Qarn Al Manazil
It is also known as Al-Sayl. It is located 55 55 km north of Taif and 75 km east of Makkah. The Hajis and Umrah pilgrims in groups converge at this place to assume the state of Ihram. The Saudi locals there, show immense hospitality and courtesy to the pilgrims. This Miqat is the largest stay area for the residents and Saudi Nationals. The locals there have generously opened up the different stalls to accommodate and satiate the hunger of pilgrims. The owners of these stalls have inherited the responsibility of their ancestors or forefathers to cater to every need of their guest pilgrims.
It is made for the people arriving from Iraq, Iran, China. It is the Meeqat of Hajj. That’s located 90 kilometres to the northeast of Makkah. This construction has three sections: Maslakh is the first one. Qumrah is the second one and Dhat Irq is the third one. It is recommended to wear Ihram from Maslakh, however, there is no problem in wearing on the other two points as well.
This location is located 100 km south of Makkah. In Hadis e Nabwi ( SAW) It is meant for the people of Yemen. This place is saved for the pilgrims coming from the countries of South Africa, Nigeria, Pakistan, Japan, etc., and those who come by ship. (For the people coming from the South.)