Assalamualaukum warahamatuallahe wabarakatuh
Umrah or Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca at Mosque-Al-Haram (the only mosque where men and women are not segregated). Although not mandatory but Umrah holds huge rewards in Islam, unlike Hajj, Umrah does not have specific dates according to the Islamic Lunar calendar, and it can be performed anytime in the year. Few question arises while deciding to going out for Umrah e.g., how Umrah is performed?
How long does Umrah take? Can a female perform Umrah without a Mehram? What type of Visa is suitable for Umrah? e.t.c.
Before we answer the above questions, first let us understand what is Umrah? Umrah as we all know is a holy pilgrimage to Mecca, Muslims throughout the world consider themselves lucky if they got this golden opportunity even once in a lifetime. The word Umrah is derived from Arabic word ‘Itimar’ which means ‘visit’. One can say there are total 4 pillars of Umrah ,i.e Ihram,Tawaf, sayee, and Tahal-lul. Ihram (Unstitched two piece cloth) is attained at reaching Meeqat (Islamic boundry for ritual purification), Tawaf is circling around Kabah anticlockwise for 7 times, Sayee is walking back and forth between hills of Safa and Marwa and then finally Tahal-lul , i.e coming out of state of Ihram followed by Hulq or shortening of hair (partial or complete).
Umrah can be performed in a day, Women are not allowed to perform Umrah alone, they are supposed to do it along with their Mehram (male relatives with whom Nikah or Marriage is forbidden) however, women over 45 years of age are permitted to do Umrah without a male Mahram but in a group of Ladies.
Since the climate of Saudi Arabia is very harsh, it is advised to carry the First Aid Box, Pilgrims may face little discomfort due to the hot and dry winds of desert. Also it is always advisable to go for precautionary measures like vaccinations since people from all around the globe come into contact with each other and spread infections.
Places To Visit In Makkah Jabal – Al – Nour
Jabal Al Nour is the mountain of the light or the hill of the illumination, In Arabic language Jabal Means Mountain and ‘Nur’ means ‘light’, This Mountain has a cave called Hira where Prophet Mohammad used to meditate and finally received quranic revelation from Angel Gabriel. Since the first verse of Surah Alaq from holy Quran was chanted in this cave and thus from here it got its name which means ‘light’ or ‘Nur’. One can easily see the Masjid Al Haram from the top of this mountain. It is advised to carry a praying mat and water bottle along since it takes one and a half hour to climb the mountain.
Al Wahba Cra
The crater is filled with water usually but it becomes salt bowl in summer when all the water evaporates, the crater is formed by volcanic eruptions and is circular in shape, people can climb up the sides of crater and move to the top. This area is known for a lot of volcanic activity with sandy plains covered with volcanic ash.
There are a lot of palm trees around the crater for tired hikers to rest under its shades. Camping is allowed near the crater, tourists can hire guides if they are planning for night stay.
Makkah Auction is just few meters away from Masjid Al Haram, It is an auction house where there are antiques, jewellery, textiles, watches, ornaments, and handmade items, etc. There is a big shop of gold and silver where jewellery is auctioned, they sell the jewellery by bidding new jewellery in the stock every day, the one who bids the highest wins, ladies visit is a must for this place.
Abrat – Al – Bait
Abraj Al Bait Tower also known as Makkah Royal Clock Hotel Tower, with clock tower in the middle of the complex, the building is informally called Makkah Clock Tower. Makkah royal clock hotel tower and the whole complex are not only used just as hotels it has various Shopping Malls, Islamic Museum, Prayer Rooms, etc. It is located just outside the Masjid-Al- Haram is a five star hotel owned by government of KSA, it is also counted amongst the tallest buildings in the world with around 120 floors,1542 guests rooms, 858 suits, 56 elevators, and 9 state- of- the-art restaurants, the hotel offers a perfect blend of traditional Arab hospitality and luxurious design.
It is a beautiful average size shopping mall with all famous branded shops inside it like Zara, Max, Sketchers, Splash etc, there is a large chain of supermarkets both local and international. You can never regret coming to this place. From high end dining to shopping and entertaining families, this place is considered the complete shopping Mall in Makkah for both Saudis and visitors; people can have a perfect leisure and shopping experience here.
Mina Arafat is around 5km to the east of Makkah. It is the temporary home for around 3 million Hajis during Hajj, Mina has 100,000 tents or Khemas. It is also the place of Stoning of Satan or Devil, a ritual performed during the last day of a Hajj. Mina is mainly visited by Hajj is during Hajj for religious significance but tourists can still see the site all over the year.