The answer to “Are Hajj and Umrah the same thing” is in the negative. Hajj is an annual religious pilgrimage to Mecca which is attended by several people from everywhere on the planet each year. Umrah may be a pilgrimage that may be completed at any time of the year. Both are holy journeys, but their significance is different. Hajj is Fard (compulsory worship) and Umrah is Sunnah (non-compulsory worship). So, you will need to get Hajj Packages and Umrah Packages for Hajj and Umrah respectively.
What is Hajj?
Hajj is the annual pilgrimage of Muslims which is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. The rituals that were performed during this journey were established by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). However, based on the Qur'an, these rituals are traced back to Prophet Ibrahim, who was told to leave his wife and son in the desert of Mecca. According to Islamic beliefs, performing these acts of worship with faith in Allah represents submission to God and merit.
What is Umrah?
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca that can be performed at any time of the year. Muslims call it 'minor Hajj' which purifies the pilgrim and frees him from his past mistakes and sins. Umrah is highly recommended in the Islamic religion as it is an act of worshipping and acknowledging Allah.
Differences between Umrah and Hajj:-
While it is true that both Hajj and Umrah are important in Islam and are performed at the Kaaba, they are very different from each other based on rituals and importance. There are several grounds on which these pilgrimages can be considered different. Some are the following:
A major difference between Hajj and Umrah is the time. Muslims travel for Hajj within the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Hajj rituals are performed between the eighth and twelfth of this month. While Umrah will be done at any time of the year.
Required time to do Rituals of Hajj and Umrah
Pilgrims of Umrah and Hajj also differ based on the time required to complete the journey. A pilgrimage can perform Umrah in just a few hours, but at least five to six days are required to complete Hajj. The rites and rituals and physical labour required to be put into these pilgrimages are responsible for the variation in time.
Pillars of Hajj and Umrah
In the case of Hajj these are four pillars:
- The first is Ihram, about which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that deeds are rewarded according to intentions. There is a specific time of Ihram that pilgrims have to observe.
- The second is Sa'i, for which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that Allah's command is to do Sa'i.
- The third is waqf. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Hajj is Arafa. It is sufficient to stand for a moment at any place of Arafah during the dawn of the 9th Dhul-Hijjah.
- The last circumambulation is the circumambulation which is essential. Allah Almighty says about him that he should end his restlessness and circumambulate the ancient house.
In Umrah, we have four pillars like hajj, but they are not the same as hajj:-
- The first pillar of Umrah is Ihram, which is a sacred state that must be entered into before starting the journey.
- The second is Tawaf, where a pilgrim circumambulates the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction.
- The third is Sa'i, which involves a ritual walk between the mountains of Safa and Marwah. It symbolizes the daily struggle of life.
- The last pillar is Qasr, which means the cessation of the sacred state of Umrah. Pilgrims must shave or cut their hair after performing Umrah.
We should not miss any opportunity to perform Hajj and Umrah because performing both is to earn the mercy of Allah. Due to the increase in inflation, these sacred journeys have also become expensive. This inflation has affected every industry. Hajj and Umrah are no longer possible without the help of professionals. These professionals know best what are the best Hajj and Umrah packages for the aspirants.