Meaning of 'UMRAH in English


the minor pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims whenever they enter Mecca. It is also meritorious, though optional, for Muslims residing in Mecca. Its similarity to the major and obligatory Islamic pilgrimage (hajj) made some fusion of the two natural, though pilgrims have the choice of performing the 'umrah separately or in combination with the hajj. As in the hajj, the pilgrim begins the 'umrah by assuming the state of ihram (ritual purity). Following a formal declaration of intent (niyah) to perform the 'umrah, he enters Mecca and circles the sacred shrine of the Ka'bah seven times. He may then touch the Black Stone, pray at the sacred stone Maqam Ibrahim, drink the holy water of the Zamzam spring, and touch the Black Stone again, though these ceremonies are supererogatory. The sa'y, running seven times between the hills of as-Safa and al-Marwah, and the ritual shaving of the head complete the 'umrah. In its present form, the 'umrah dates from Muhammad's lifetime and is a composite of several pre-Islamic ceremonies that were reinterpreted in monotheistic terms and supplemented by Muslim prayers. See also hajj.

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