How to Perform Umrah

The rituals of performing Umrah explained in simple English

[By Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat]


This brief but comprehensive book is presented to you to outline the rituals of Umrah. It is only through the Infinite Mercy of Allah ta‘ala that I have been able to contribute this humble work for the cause of Islam.

It was in 1987, when I was recovering from my chronic illness, that my brother, (Maulana) Haafiz Ismail, directed my attention towards the need for a short and comprehensive book on Umrah in English. He repeatedly reminded me of his desire and insisted that I proceed with it. Inspite of my weakness, both spiritual and physical, I also had the great desire to do so, thus I firmly resolved and commenced the work in the name of Allah ta‘ala.

This book contains all the necessary information regarding the method, rites and formalities of  Umrah, with diagrams and sketches where appropriate. Inshaa’allah, you will find in it answers to many of your questions.

May Allah ta‘ala through His Mercy and Kindness pardon me for any errors herein, and abundantly reward all for their effort in making this publication possible.

I earnestly request the readers to remember me, my teachers, family and friends and all those who have contributed in the publication of this book in their du‘aa

Muhammad Saleem Dhorat Leicester, England


1.      It must be stressed at the very outset that there should be a sincere intention to perform  Umrah, for all actions are judged by intentions. The Holy Prophet  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

The reward of deeds depends on the intentions”.  _Bukhaari

The intention must be to please Allah ta‘ala exclusively, hopeful of earning rewards only from Allah ta‘ala, the Creator, believing in what has been promised by Allah ta‘ala through our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and performing the act according to the way shown by him. Hence, this must always be borne in our minds.

2.        Do not let the thought enter your mind that you are going on a trip or a holiday. No! You are going to fulfil one of the greatest  Sunnah  of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). You are going to Makkah where our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was born and to Madinah where he is resting. You are going to visit the house of Allah ta‘ala – Ka‘bah, which is surrounded by angels on all sides, and upon which continuously descend the Mercy and Blessings of Allah ta‘ala.

3.        As regards to your visit to the holy places, it must be borne in mind that Allah ta‘ala does not grant such blessed opportunities to all, and for those whom He has blessed with the opportunity, it will be very unfortunate to have spent time and wealth, and gain no benefit and reward. Generally, the loss and ruin is brought by Shaytaan  and  nafs  (base desires). Therefore, be conscious of their deception and wickedness.

4.        It is advisable to study this book prior to your departure for  Umrah, preferably with an  aalim  of your locality, seeking his explanations on what you do not understand.  Thus you will be able to follow the instructions laid down in this book with ease.

5.        If you have any queries concerning religious matters or concerning the  Umrah, consult an  aalim or a knowledgeable person and seek his advice.

Abdullah Ibn Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Perform Hajj and Umrah one after the other for surely they (Hajj and Umrah) remove poverty and sins just as the furnace removes the dirt of iron, gold and silver.”  _Tirmizi, Nasa‘ee


Umrah is also known as the ‘minor Hajj’. It is a Sunnah and can be performed anytime during the year except for the five days of  Hajj, i.e. from 9th Zul Hijjah to 13th Zul Hijjah. In these five days, it is  makrooh tahreemi  to perform  Umrah.

Virtues of  Umrah

1. One  Umrah  is an expiation for the sins committed between it and another  Umrah. _Bukhaari, Muslim

2. To perform one Umrah in Ramadhan is equivalent to a  Hajj. In another narration, … equivalent to  Hajj with me (The Prophet). _Muslim

3. The performers of Hajj and Umrah are deputations of Allah ta‘ala. If they call Him, He answers them and if they seek His Forgiveness, He forgives them. _Ibne Maajah

Necessary acts of  Umrah

The  fardh  of  Umrah  are:

1. Ihraam  (i.e. special dressing,  niyyah  and  talbiyah).

2. Tawaaf  (with  niyyah).

The  waajib  of  Umrah  are:

Sa‘ee  between Safaa and Marwah.

2.  Halaq  or  Qasr.


1. Before departure, perform two  raka‘at  nafl  in your house. On completing the two  raka‘at, firstly  thank Allah ta‘ala for the favour which He has bestowed upon you by giving you the understanding and the blessed opportunity to go on this holy mission.

2. Thereafter, make  du‘aa  to Allah ta‘ala. Ask Him to make the journey easy for you and to make it full of  blessings and gains. Also that He safeguards you from the evil of Shaytaan and  nafs. Further that He gives you the opportunity to utilise your time in those actions which will bring His Pleasure and that He accepts your  Umrah.

3.  Now start your journey. Throughout your journey you must perform the daily five  fardh  Salaat regularly and punctually. You must not be a cause of harm to anyone. On the contrary, you should be of assistance to anyone who needs help. Do not waste your time. Engage  yourself in learning, teaching, preaching and  remembrance of Allah ta‘ala.


1. On (or prior to) reaching  Meeqaat [(i.e It is the place which is fixed for putting on ihraam or in other words, it is the boundary beyond which a person intending to go to Makkah cannot go without  ihraam. (Jeddah is beyond this boundary, therefore one must put on  ihraam  before reaching Jeddah)], perform  ghusl  if possible, otherwise  wudhoo. Thereafter, put on the clothes of  ihraam, preferably of a white colour two sheets, one to cover the lower part of the body and the other for the upper part of the body. At this moment, men folk may apply  ‘itr  (perfume). The women should keep all their body covered in their normal clothing, except the face.

2.  Perform two raka‘at nafl with the intention of ihraam (with your head covered). Recite ‘Qul yaa ayyuhal kaafiroon’ in the first  raka‘at and ‘Qul huwallaahu ahad’  in the second  raka‘at. On completing the two  raka‘at, sitting bareheaded on the prayer mat, make the niyyah of Umrah  saying:

allaahumma innee ureedul umrata fayassirhaa lee wataqabbalhaa minnee

O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah. Make it easy for me and accept it from me”.

Then read the following  du‘aa  (known as  talbiyah) three times:

Labbayk, Allaahumma labbayk. Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal hamda  wanni‘mata laka wal mulk. Laa shareeka lak.

Here I am at Your Service, O Lord, here I am. Here I am, no partner do You have, here I am. Truly, the Praise and the Favour is Yours, and the Sovereignty. No partner do You have”.

Men should recite these words loudly, and the women silently. Now, read durood shareef and make du‘aa for as long as you can.
Ihraam  becomes complete on

(a) making  niyyah
(b) recitation of  talbiyah.

Now you must refrain from certain acts which become forbidden.

Things prohibited in ihraam

1.  It is strictly prohibited to indulge in sexual intercourse, to kiss, embrace or talk about sex in the presence of women.

2.   It is prohibited to indulge in those acts which Allah ta‘ala has made unlawful, e.g. obscenity, transgression, conflict, etc.

3.   It is prohibited to hunt animals or help or guide anyone in this act; even killing a lice is prohibited.

4.    Do not use scent, perfume, perfumed oil or anything that has a fragrance; whether on the body or on the clothes, or in food or drink.

5.    It is prohibited to shave or clip hair from any part of the body or to clip the nails.

6.     It is prohibited for men to use stitched clothes.

7.     It is prohibited for men to wear footwear of any kind that will cover the central bone of the upper part of the feet.

8.      Men must not cover their heads and faces.

9.      Women should not cover their faces. However, in the presence of men, the face will have to be covered in such a manner that the covering does not touch the face.

10.     Do not cause harm to any Muslim – be it verbal or physical.

Things permissible in ihraam

1.        It is permissible to use an umbrella or shadow of any object such as a car roof, as long as it does not touch the head.

2.        It is permissible to put on a ring, a pair of glasses, a hearing aid, a wrist watch and a belt or girdle which protects one’s money and documents.

3.        It is permissible to change one’s garments and to wash them as well as to wash one’s hair and body without removing dirt by the means of using soap.

4.        It does not matter if some hair come off by themselves during washing without you intending it.

5.        It is permissible to cover the body, including the feet with blanket, quilt, sleeping bag, etc.  Do not cover the head and the face.

6.        It is permissible to use  miswaak  to clean the teeth.

7.        There is no harm in carrying something on the head.

Sahl Ibne Sa‘d (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “When a Muslim recites talbiyah, then verily every stone, tree and all the ground to his right and left recites the talbiyah with him to the end of the earth.” _Tirmizi

Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) relates from Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam that he said, “One hundred and twenty mercies from Allah descend upon the Ka‘bah every day and night; sixty for those performing tawaaf, forty for those who are engaged in Salaat and twenty for those who are merely looking at the Ka‘bah.” _Bayhaqi


After putting on ihraam, you should engage yourself in the remembrance of Allah ta‘ala, istighfaar and recite the  talbiyah as much as possible until you reach Makkah.

1.       Enter the sacred city of Makkah with utmost respect and humility reciting  talbiyah.

2.      Make your arrangements and immediately go to the sacred Masjid which is known as Al Masjidul Haraam. You must enter the Masjid with utmost humility and a sense of the Greatness of Allah ta‘ala and sacredness of the place.

3.      When entering the Masjid, put your right foot in the Masjid and say:

bismillaahi wassalaatu wassalaamu alaa rasoolillaah. Allaahummaftah lee abwaaba rahmatik

In the name of Allah. May the Peace and Salutations (of Allah) be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah, open for me the doors of Your Mercies”.

4. When you see Ka‘bah, say three times:

allaahu akbar. Laa ilaaha illallaah

Allah is the greatest. There is no deity except Allah”.

Thereafter, read  durood shareef  and make  du‘aa while standing, facing Ka‘bah.

NOTE: This moment is very precious, for whatever du‘aa is made is most certainly accepted by Allah. Make du‘aa  as much as you can. One must not forget to make this  du‘aa:

O Allah, when you take me away from this world, take me in the state of  Imaan. O Allah, enter me into Jannah without any account. O Allah, accept all my du‘aa and keep me steadfast on  Deen”.

Do remember this humble writer in your  du‘aa  also.

Mas’alah: A woman in the state of haydh (menstruation) or  nifaas  (period after childbirth) must not enter the Masjid.


Now you must perform  tawaaf  which is  fardh  in Umrah. During  tawaaf, engage yourself in  du‘aa  and remembrance of Allah ta‘ala. The recital of the holy Qur’an is also permissible. Be mindful that you do not raise your voice as this will cause disturbance to others performing  tawaaf.

1.        Proceed towards the corner of the Ka‘bah in which lies Al Hajarul Aswad.

2.       Looking from the Ka‘bah around the arched walls of Al Masjidul Haraam, you will see a green light directly opposite one of the four corners of Ka‘bah. In this corner (of Ka‘bah) lies Al Hajarul Aswad. Another clue for locating Al Hajarul Aswad is that at present it is located in the corner of Ka‘bah facing the corner with only one minaret; (the rest of the three corners have two minarets each).

3.        On (or prior to) reaching this corner, make idhtibaa and stand facing the Ka‘bah, such that the whole of Al Hajarul Aswad lies to the right of your right shoulder. (The floor is marked with a black/brown line which stretches from Al Hajarul Aswad).

4.       Stop reciting  talbiyah  and make  niyyah  (which is fardh) to perform  tawaaf.

5.       Move slightly to your right, keeping the face and chest towards Ka‘bah, and stand on the black line which indicates that you are directly in line with Al Hajarul Aswad.

6.        Raise your hands upto the ears (palms facing Al Hajarul Aswad) saying:

bismillaahi allaahu akbar walillaahil hamd

In the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest, and all Praise is for Allah”.

7.       Place both palms on Al Hajarul Aswad and kiss it gently without a smack. If kissing is not possible, then merely touch it with one hand or both hands or raise your hands (palms facing Al Hajarul Aswad) saying:

bismillaahi allaahu akbar

In the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest”. and kiss them. This is known as  istilaam. It should be performed at the end of every round standing on the black/brown line facing Al Hajarul Aswad.

8.       Now move towards the right, keeping the Ka‘bah on your left and walk around Ka‘bah (anticlockwise) until you return to Al Hajarul Aswad. Here, perform  istilaam. You have now completed one round. You must complete seven rounds in this manner to complete the  tawaaf.

8.       On completing the seventh round, perform istilaam and go to Maqaame Ibraaheem and offer two raka‘at waajib. It is  Sunnah  to recite ‘Qul yaa ayyuhal kaafiroon’ in the first  raka‘at and ‘Qul huwallaahu ahad’ in the second  raka‘at. Thereafter engage yourself in  du‘aa.   

NOTE: If  you cannot find a place at Maqaame Ibraaheem, it is sufficient to perform the two  raka‘at anywhere within the sacred Masjid.

10.      You should now proceed to the well of Zam-zam and facing the direction of Ka‘bah, drink its water as much as you are able to. Also pour it over the body.

11.         Returning from Zam-zam, go to Multazam and cling to the wall of Ka‘bah, with arms stretched above the head placing on it your right cheek and at times the left and engage in  du‘aa, for whatever you ask is certainly granted by Allah ta‘ala.

NOTE: If you wish, you can go to Multazam prior to going to the well of Zam-zam.

12.    Return to Al Hajarul Aswad once again and perform  istilaam. This  istilaam  before  sa‘ee  is mustahab.

Mas’alah: The kissing of Al Hajarul Aswad is a Sunnah, while safeguarding the dignity of Muslims is  fardh. A fardh  cannot be sacrificed for a  Sunnah, because Allah ta‘ala does not accept a Sunnah which violates a fardh. Some pilgrims ignore this fact when they harm others in their zeal to kiss Al Hajarul Aswad, which is merely a  Sunnah. To harm any believer in performing this Sunnah is haraam (prohibited). How is it possible to carry out a  Sunnah  observance while performing a  haraam deed? Therefore, when the area is crowded it is sufficient to raise the hands saying ‘Bismillaahi allaahu akbar’ and to continue to move into the flow of the people. In shaa’allah, Allah will grant you His Mercy and will increase your reward.

Mas’alah: There are no prescribed du‘aa for tawaaf. One should rather make du‘aa for the fulfilment of one’s needs of both – this world and the hereafter.

Mas’alah: Hateem is part of Ka‘bah. Therefore, one must go around the Hateem to complete the  tawaaf.

Mas’alah: It is  Sunnah for men to perform the first three rounds with  ramal.

Mas’alah: Idhtibaa is for men only, and it is Sunnah ONLY during tawaaf. Discontinue the idhtibaa after completing the seven rounds of  tawaaf.

Mas’alah: During  tawaaf  when you come to Al Ruknul Yamaani, merely touch it with both hands or the right hand. It is not  Sunnah  to kiss or raise hands at this corner.

Mas’alah: Between Al Ruknul Yamaani and Al Hajarul Aswad it is  Sunnah  to recite:

Rabbanaa aatinaa fid dunyaa hasanataw wafil aakhirati hasanataw waqinaa ‘azaaban naar

O Allah, grant us goodness in this world, and goodness in the hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire”.

Mas’alah: The Ka‘bah should at all times be on one’s left side during the  tawaaf. Do not keep your back, chest or right arm towards the Ka‘bah.

Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that he heard Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say, “The touching (of Al Hajarul Aswad) removes sins and whoever performs the tawaaf properly (according to rule) the reward (is like) that of the freeing of a slave and one does not place one’s foot on the ground nor raises it (in tawaaf) except that Allah removes a sin (from his deeds) and orders for him one good deed.” _Tirmizi

Jaabir (radhiyallahu anhu) relates from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that, “The water of Zamzam is for that (intention) for which it is drunk (i.e., whatever intention one makes while drinking the water, one will achieve that intention, e.g. for thirst, food, medicine, etc.)” _Ibne Maajah


1.      After the  istilaam  proceed to Safaa – again in the direction of the green light on the wall.

2.      Climb Safaa until you reach the place from where Ka‘bah is visible between the pillars of Al Masjidul Haraam and make  niyyah  for  sa‘ee.

3.      Facing Ka‘bah, raise both hands up to the shoulders in the way in which hands are raised while making du‘aa. Then say three times:

allaahu akbar laa ilaaha illallaah

Allah is the Greatest, there is no deity except Allah”.

4.      Read  durood shareef  and make  du‘aa  for the fulfilment of your good wishes and others’ also. Remain engaged in  du‘aa  for quite a long time, for this is a place where  du‘aa  is accepted.

5.       You must now walk (at normal pace) towards Marwah (the other side). While walking between Safaa and Marwah you should engage yourself in remembrance of Allah ta‘ala and making  du‘aa.

6.       When you reach the green lights, you must quicken your pace and run slowly until you reach the other set of green lights. Thereafter, you should resume the normal speed of walking till you reach Marwah. Women, however, must walk at their normal pace between the green lights too.

7.       On Marwah too, you should go upto such a place from where the Ka‘bah is visible. The same actions must be performed as on Safaa. This is one round.

NOTE: Ka‘bah is not visible from Marwah, therefore climb Marwah and estimate the direction of Ka‘bah.

8.        From Marwah proceed towards Safaa in the same manner as described above. On reaching Safaa you have completed the second round.

9.        Complete seven rounds in this manner. The final round will end at Marwah.

10.      At this stage it is mustahab to perform two raka‘at inAl Masjidul Haraam.

Mas’alah: During sa‘ee you are not restricted to anyspecific du‘aa. You may make any du‘aa you wish.However, it is Sunnah to recite:

rabbighfir warham antal a‘azzul akram.

O my Lord, forgive and have mercy. You arethe most Majestic, the most Generous”.

The Mas‘aa

The two hills are separated by a distance of 394m/1247ft which is called Mas‘aa


After completing the sa‘ee, you must shave your head or trim the hair of the entire head in such a manner that you trim at least one inch of each hair. Shaving the head is more virtuous.

The women should trim slightly more than one inch from the end of their plait.

After shaving or trimming the hair, the rituals of Umrah  have ended and all restrictions imposed due to the  ihraam  will be lifted.

May Allah ta‘aalaa accept your  Umrah  and bestow you with its blessings.

Yahya Ibn Husayn reported on the authority of his grandfather that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj made du‘aa thrice for those who shave their heads and once only for those who trim their hair. _Muslim


1.      You should remain busy in  Salaatdu‘aa  and recitation of the holy Qur’an. You should complete the recitation of the holy Qur’an at least once.

2.       Perform each and every  fardh Salaat  with congregation in Al Masjidul Haraam. One such Salaat  is equal to two million and five hundred thousand  Salaat  performed elsewhere.

3.       Perform virtuous deeds as much as you can because every  virtuous act in Makkah is equivalent to one hundred thousand virtuous acts. The holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)  said,

Besides Makkah there is no city on the surface of the earth where Allah multiplies one virtue by a hundred thousand times”.

4.       You should avoid all prohibited and execrable acts and things. Hadhrat ‘Umar and Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas  (radhiyallahu anhum)  said, “I would much rather prefer to commit seventy sins at Rukyah than to commit one  sin in Makkah”.

NOTE: Rukyah is a place outside Makkah.

5.       Perform as many  tawaaf  as much as possible because a  nafl tawaaf  is superior to a  nafl Salaat.

NOTE: The  offering of two raka‘at at Maqaame Ibraaheem  is essential even after  nafl tawaaf.

6.       Perform  Salaat  in the Hateem whenever you have the chance.

7.       Visit Jannatul Ma‘alaa (the graveyard of Makkah) and other sacred places of Makkah.

8.       Utilise your time in doing good.  Remember! You may not get this opportunity again.

When a person sets forth to perform Hajj or Umrah and passes away en route, he shall not be brought (before Allah) for judgement, nor will he have to give account. It shall be said to him: ‘Enter into Jannah.’ _Targheeb

Ibne Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) says that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) addressed Makkah, “What a beautiful town you are and most beloved to me. If my people did not expel me from you I would not have stayed elsewhere._Tirmizi


Al Hajarul Aswad: The stone set in the southeast corner of the Ka‘bah. It is set about 4.5 feet from the ground in a silver casing.

Al Masjidul Haraam: The sacred Masjid in Makkah.

Al Ruknul Yamaani: The corner of the Ka‘bah preceding the corner in which lies Al Hajarul Aswad

Baytullaah: See Ka‘bah (below).

Deen: The religion Islaam.

Du‘aa: Supplication, prayer.

Durood Shareef: Salutations upon the holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

Fardh: Obligatory.

Ghusl: Bath.

Halaq: To have the head shaved.

Haraam: Forbidden.

Hateem: The semi-circle outside Ka‘bah.

Idhtibaa: To put one end of your cloth (covering the top part of your body) on the left shoulder, and take the other end from below the right armpit, throwing it over the chest onto the left shoulder, thus leaving the right arm and shoulder entirely exposed.

Ihraam: To put on the special dress (i.e. two unsewn sheets of cloth, preferably new and of white colour). Thereafter, to make the niyyah of Umrah and recite talbiyah. It has been named ihraam because after performing these three actions, certain permissible acts become prohibited (haraam)

Women enter into the state of  ihraam  without putting on the special clothing. It is for men only.
Istighfaar: To ask forgiveness from Allah ta‘aalaa.

Ka‘bah: The Sacred House of Allah ta‘aalaa which stands in the centre of the sacred Mosque of Makkah.

Makrooh Tahreemi: Prohibited.

Maqaami Ibraaheem: A few meters away from the door of Ka‘bah stands a small kiosk (gold in colour) which contains a stone with a figurative indentation of a footprint of Prophet Ibraaheem  (alayhis salaam). This footprint was impressed into the stone during the building of Ka‘bah.

Marwah: See Safaa (below).

Mas‘aa: See Safaa and Marwah (below).

Meeqaat: It is the place which is fixed for putting on ihraam or in other words, it is the boundary beyond which a person intending to go to Makkah cannot go without  ihraam. (Jeddah is beyond this boundary, therefore one must put on  ihraam  before reaching Jeddah).

Miswaak: A stick used for cleaning teeth.

Multazam: It is the part of the Ka‘bah situated between Al Hajarul Aswad and the door of the Ka‘bah. It comes from the Arabic word meaning to become attached, and perhaps it is so called because this is the section of the Ka‘bah where a person should attach his body.

Mustahab: Desirable.

Nafl: Optional.

Niyyah: Intention.

Ramal: To walk with quick short steps; lifting the legs forcefully; chest out; and moving the shoulders simultaneously.

Sa‘ee: To walk between Safaa and Marwah seven times. It is performed walking, except for a portion in the middle, today marked by green lights, where the pace is quickened.

Safaa and Marwah: Two small hills, in Makkah. The remains of both hills are enclosed within the sacred Mosque. The two hills are separated by a distance of 394m/1247ft which is called Mas‘aa. This distance is walked, and in part run, seven  times by  those performing  Hajj  or  Umrah.

Sunnah: The way shown by the holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)  – physically or verbally.

Talbiyah: Labbayk, Allaahumma labbayk. Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal hamda  wanni‘mata laka wal mulk. Laa shareeka lak.

Tawaaf: The ritual circumambulation of the Ka‘bah, starting from Al Hajarul Aswad. This is done anticlockwise with the Ka‘bah on the left hand side, seven times.

Umrah: To enter into  ihraam  from Meeqaat or (for those people already in Makkah) from Masjid Tan‘eem, perform tawaaf  of Ka‘bah, walk between Safaa and Marwah and shave the head. Its rituals take place entirely in Makkah.

Waajib: Incumbent, less than fardh.

Wudhoo: Ablution.

Zam-zam: The blessed water in Makkah.


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