Umrah is a great Sunnah, which has been recommended by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Jabir ibn Abdullah Al Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) tells us about an occasion when our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked whether Umrah was obligatory? To this, he answered, "No. But if you perform it, it is virtuous." (Chapters on Hajj, Jami' At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2, Hadith No. 931).
According to some Islamic scholars, there are two types of Hajj - the 'Greater Hajj' (of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah) and the 'Lesser Hajj' (Umrah).
There are certain benefits associated with Umrah for pilgrims who make the journey to the holy city of Makkah in order to fulfil their sacred intention. Firstly, performing the lesser pilgrimage is an expiation of sins; and secondly, the individual performing Umrah becomes a guest of Allah. You can reap these wonderful benefits with our excellent range of Umrah Packages.
One can perform the lesser pilgrimage at any point of time in the year. However, it carries a special reward if performed during the holy month of Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had once said, "When the month of Ramadan arrives, go for Umrah, because Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying me on Hajj." [Sahih al-Bukhari (1764)]
Today, people staying in countries outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can make their journey to Makkah for pilgrimage by choosing from a wide range of Hajj and Umrah packages. Simply Hajj and Umrah specialises in providing different types of cost-effective Umrah packages for people residing in the United Kingdom. This helps them in fulfilling their sacred intention of visiting the house of Allah to perform the lesser pilgrimage.
Eligibility of the Pilgrim
Most of our Umrah packages for this year include flights of the leading airlines that help pilgrims based in the United Kingdom to arrive at the King Abdulaziz International Airport from any of the UK’s international airports without any hassles. The return flights included in our superlative Umrah packages would help the pilgrims in departing from the airport to their home country with complete peace of mind after having completed all the rites of Umrah.
Procedures for Performing Umrah
Ihram is the intention to enter a holy state for performing Umrah, and the one entering this state is called 'Muhrim'. It is the very first among the rites to be performed in the lesser pilgrimage. The pilgrim assumes the state of Ihram as soon as he or she reaches the 'Meeqat', which is one of the designated points in the vicinity of Makkah. Meeqat is one of the points where the individuals intending to perform their Hajj or Umrah put on their Ihram. We provide accommodations in hotels close to the holy mosque in our Umrah packages, which makes it easier for you to enter into the state of Ihram and keep its purity intact.
For getting into this holy state, the pilgrim must wear the prescribed white seamless garment. A man entering into this holy state must not wear knotted or stitched items. Women in the state of Ihram must not cover their faces with the Burqa or Niqab. However, it is obligatory for them to wear the Hijab or Dupatta. The pilgrim in this state must refrain from using scents or scented liquids neither on the body nor on the clothing. If the clothing has been fouled by dirt or has been touched by scented liquids, a new Ihram clothing must be worn.
Cutting the nails, trimming the hair or beard, engaging in any form of sexual activity, smoking, and swearing is strictly forbidden. Other forbidden acts include quarrelling or fighting, taking oaths, killing animals, and the use of cosmetics. Both males and females must use the unscented soap available for pilgrims for cleansing their bodies. All focus must only be on the Almighty Allah and nothing else.
After having assumed the state of Ihram, the pilgrim pronounces his or her 'Niyyah' or the intention of performing Umrah. Next comes the recital of 'Talbiyah', which is a prayer that communicates the intention of the Muslim to perform the pilgrimage only for the glory of Allah.
After entering the state of Ihram, pronouncing the Niyyah, and reciting the Talbiyah, the pilgrim enters Makkah and proceeds to the Masjid Al-Haram to perform the 'Tawaf' and other rites. Tawaf involves circumambulation of the holy Kaabah, with seven rounds in anti-clockwise direction while keeping the House of Allah to one's left. Men complete the first three rounds at a hurried pace and the remaining rounds closer to Kaabah at a slower pace. All these rounds begin from the corner of Kaabah and end at the same spot.
A two-Rakaat prayer is said near the 'Maqam-e-Ibrahim' [the place where Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) stood while constructing the House of God] after completion of these seven rounds. If the pilgrim is not able to do so owing to crowds, he or she can say the prayer elsewhere in the Masjid Al-Haram. Our Umrah packages that include accommodation in hotels with views of the holy mosque from the hotel room, which makes your intention of Umrah even stronger.
Sa'i or Sa'ee is performed after the completion of Tawaf, which re-enacts an important event that happened in the life of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). When his second wife, Hajar, searched for water frantically for their infant son, Prophet Ismael (peace be upon him), the Almighty Allah sent archangel Jibreel (A.S) to instruct her to lift up the infant prophet. As she lifted her baby, she noticed that a spring of water had arisen on the spot where the infant prophet had hit the ground with his feet.
Today this water source is called the 'Well of Zamzam'. When Hajar searched for her son, she had run seven times back and forth between the two mountains of Safa and Marwah in the scorching heat. The Sa'i ritual emulates this event, as the pilgrims walk to and fro between Safa and Marwa mountains near the Kaabah. The elderly pilgrims would benefit greatly from our Umrah packages with hotel accommodations closer to the holy mosque, as they can save themselves from exhaustion resulting from long travel.
This rite of Umrah involves cutting of hair by the pilgrim. 'Halq' is performed on men and 'Taqsir' is performed on women. In case of male pilgrims, the hair has to be shaved off completely from the head while performing the Halq. When it comes to women, a minimum of one inch of their hair is cut while performing the Taqsir.
Our Umrah packages include stays in some of the best hotels in Makkah, that have elegantly-designed rooms and suites provided with the latest facilities. These hotels are located close to the holy mosque which makes it easier for you to perform all the rites associated with Umrah. The Umrah packages of Simply Hajj and Umrah also include the luxurious hotels located just a few steps away from the Masjid Al-Haram that provide excellent views of the holy site.
Best Seasons for UK Muslims to Perform Umrah
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had once said that Umrah in the holy month of Ramadan is just like accompanying him on Hajj. This clearly indicates the significance of performing the lesser pilgrimage during the holy month. Imagine the feeling that you would get being in the Masjid Al-Haram during Ramadan for your Umrah. You would feel as if you are in company of the Almighty Allah's messenger (peace be upon him). Every moment of this heartwarming experience can be enjoyed with our Umrah packages for Ramadan.
Muslims residing in the United Kingdom can book our Umrah packages for the month of Ramadan and get the rare opportunity to see the followers of Islam from different parts of the world sit together to break their fast. You would feel a sense of brotherhood surface in your heart almost instantly, despite being aware of the fact that all of you are complete strangers to each other. It would feel great to witness everyone seeking the mercy and blessings of Allah, as you would be striving for the same.
2. December Holidays
The last week of December is a wonderful time for Muslims in the UK to perform their Umrah, as all the schools and most of the offices in the country are closed for Christmas celebrations. You can make the most of this holiday season and book your Umrah packages with us well in advance to have greater savings for your journey. The last week of December is also a great opportunity to take your entire family for Umrah and give them the opportunity to go through this wonderful experience.
Another benefit of performing the lesser pilgrimage during this season is that you can escape the harsh weather of winter. The climate in Makkah around this time of the year is extremely pleasant, which is bound to make you feel grateful. Additionally our Umrah packages would give you greater comforts by providing you with an excellent accommodation in a hotel located close to the holy mosque.
3. February Half Term
As the schoolchildren in the United Kingdom enjoy their half-term holidays in February, it would be a great opportunity to introduce your children to Umrah, and all the spiritual benefits associated with the lesser pilgrimage. We have created a range of Umrah packages for the month of February to help you make your journey to Makkah with your children to perform Umrah.
4. Easter Holidays
In this period, the schoolchildren in the UK get more than a week of holidays and their parents can also enjoy some time off from their workplaces. This can be a blessing for Muslims of the UK to make their journey to the holy city of Makkah either alone or with their family to perform Umrah. With the help of our Umrah packages, you can also visit the other places of importance in and around the city during your stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This would prove to be a memorable experience both for you and your family.
5. Summer Holidays
Schoolchildren in the United Kingdom get to enjoy May half term and their long summer holidays every year. Their parents can also take some time off from work and take their children to interesting destinations. We have created Umrah packages that would enable you to go for Umrah with your family to Makkah and also visit the family holiday destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, it is advisable to go in May half term, as the climate can get unbearably hot in Makkah during the following months.
Although the climate in the holy city can be slightly uncomfortable, our Umrah packages for the month of May can be a great boon for your children as they get introduced to the lesser pilgrimage and its benefits at an early age. With some of our Umrah packages, they can also make the most of their time spent in another fascinating destination after performing their Umrah in Makkah.
Places of Importance Around Makkah
Located at a distance of about 3 kilometres from Makkah in the Hejaz region, this cave is on the Jabal al-Nour mountain. One has to climb 1,200 steps to reach Ghar-e-Hira or the Cave of Hira. It is estimated that about 5,000 individuals visit this site during the Hajj season, as it is the place where the first revelation of the holy Quran was made to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by archangel Jibreel (A.S). With a comfortable accommodation arranged in one of the finest hotels of Makkah as a part of our Umrah packages, you would have greater convenience in visiting this fascinating site during your stay.
2. Ghar al-Thawr
This cave, located on the Jabal Thawr mountain in the lower part of Makkah, is the place where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr took refuge from the Quraish tribe during the migration to Madinah. When the Quraish arrived at the cave, they saw a spider web spread across the cave and birds nests near it. Upon seeing this, they thought that it was impossible for anyone to be inside this cave and moved on. Upon booking your Umrah packages with us, you can visit this cave at your own convenience from the hotel where your stay has been arranged.
3. Jannat al-Mu'alla
To the north of Masjid al-Haram is this cemetery where many of the relatives of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were buried. In the years that followed, domes and structures were built over graves of the prominent people among them. Your visit to this place is made hassle-free with an accommodation in an elegant hotel close to the holy mosque provided with our Umrah Packages.
Located in Arafat, this mosque reminds pilgrims of the day when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered the last historic sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for Hajj. It is here that the 'Khutbah' of Hajj is delivered. Every year, on the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, pilgrims arrive here from Mina for the most important part of the pilgrimage and the Zuhr and Asr prayers are offered together. The courtyard area of this mosque remains open for offering the 'Nawafil' prayers, but its inner hall remains closed. You can book any of our Umrah packages that help you enjoy an extended stay in Makkah to explore this site.
5. Makkah Gate
Another interesting place to visit during your stay in Makkah is the Makkah Gate, which is also known as the Quran Gate. It is located on the Makkah al-Mukkarramah road of Jeddah-Makkah Highway. This gate is the entrance to the holy city of Makkah and indicates the boundary of the area where the entry of non-Muslims is prohibited. The architect of this gate was Samir Elabd. It was built in the year 1979 with the design done by Dia Aziz Dia. A major part of this wonderful structure is the holy Quran resting on a 'rehal' or book stand. The entire structure has various patterns of decorations, which get illuminated at night. You can browse through our range of Umrah packages and choose a suitable one that would enable you to explore this attraction.
6. Makkah Museum
This museum was established in Makkah's Al-Zahir Palace and has a total area of 3,425 square metres. It was completed in the year 1946 on the order of King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud with an objective of highlighting the cultural and historical aspects of the Makkah region. The museum brilliantly details Makkah's history and civilizations that thrived in the region right from the dawn of history until the present. Today, this museum has been made popular as the Makkah Museum for Antiquities and Heritage. You can choose any of our Umrah packages that give you a considerable amount of time to explore this museum and the other popular places in the city.