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ʿUmrah

By:
Imtiyaz Yusuf
Source:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World What is This? Provides comprehensive scholarly coverage of the full geographical and historical extent of Islam

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ʿUmrah

The ʿumrah is the lesser pilgrimage to the Kaʿbah that is mentioned in the Qurʿān (2:158, 196). The ʿumrah may be performed at any time during the year with the exception of the 8th, 9th, and 10th of Dhū al-Ḥijjah—the days of the ḥajj. In 632 CE, Prophet Muḥammad performed the ʿumrah before the ḥajj and distinguished the two rituals by removing the iḥrām in between, thereby showing the independence of each pilgrimage.

The ʿumrah pilgrimage begins with the donning of the iḥrām at one of the miqat marking approaches to Mecca. The ʿumrah pilgrimage consists of performing the following rituals conducted within the vicinity of the Grand Mosque of Mecca. The first ritual begins with the performance of the ṭawāf al-qudūm (the circumbulation of advent) around the Kaʿbah seven times, followed by two rakʿāt prayer facing the Kaʿbah at al-multazam, the space between the Black Stone and the door of the Kaʿbah but behind Maqām Ibrāhīm—the footprint of Abraham. Then follows the ritual of drinking Zamzam water and performing the al-saʿy—running between the two hillocks of Ṣafā and Marwah uttering prayer at each end. The final ritual is the clipping of hair or shaving the head marking the end of the ʿumrah performance. The ʿumrah pilgrimage is an act of personal devotion and an intimate religious experience of the divine at the center of one's being.

See also HAJJ; KAʿBAH; and MECCA.

Bibliography

  • Peters, F. E.The Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and the Holy Places. Princeton, 1995.
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