The oldest and the most holy site of Islam in Saudi Arabia is Mecca, and the place is very important for all the Muslims around the world.
It is the sacred place where the holy book, Quran, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. During the pandemic, Umrah was banned but now it is open and let us try to explain what Umrah is and how it is performed.
Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca, a mini version of Hajj. The word “Umrah” in Arabic means “visiting a populated place.”
Performing Umrah offers a chance and an opportunity for Muslims to refresh their faith, seek forgiveness, and pray for their needs. One who performs this ritual is said to be cleaned of their sins.
The major differences between Hajj and Umrah
While Hajj is a compulsory pilgrimage, Umrah is voluntary. People who are well off and can afford the trip perform the ritual more than one time in their lives. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and Muslims are required to perform it at least once in their lifetime.
Hajj can be performed only during a specific season but Umrah can be performed at any time of the year. Umrah is a spiritual “quick-fix” and it can be completed in two hours, depending upon the how busy the place is. Hajj is more intense experience and one has to spend at least a month in Mecca to complete Hajj.
While we are discussing a major Islamic pilgrimage, you must know that Hajj is one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world with more than two million pilgrims attending each year from around 188 countries. Umrah, which is a smaller pilgrim is performed by several million people every year. The primary reason for more people performing Umrah is that it is cheaper as compared to Hajj and quicker to complete.
That said, the focal point of both the pilgrimages is the Kaaba, which is a black boxed mosque in the center of the city of Mecca. It is in the direction of the Kaaba that Muslims face when they are offering their daily prayers five times a day, irrespective of where they are residing in the world.
As far as the devotional acts are concerned, Hajj and Umrah both has the same set of core acts. You can just anticipate more intense acts when it comes to performing Hajj.