Hajj and Umrah

Difference between Hajj and Umrah

Hajj and Umrah, both are pilgrimages performed by Muslims. Although many practices performed in Hajj and Umrah are the same, yet there are some differences between the two.

What is Hajj

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory for every Muslim once in their lifetime, provided they are physically fit and financially able to do so and can support their dependants during their absence. Hajj is performed during the specific month, according to the Islamic calendar. It is pilgrimage made to specified places in and around Mecca and the pilgrims perform Hajj duties in the month of Dhul-hajjah. It formally begins at the eighth day Dhul-hajjah.

Pilgrims spend the ninth day of Dhul-hajjah (the day of Arafat) in Arafat, before performing Hajj. They spend the entire day there for devotion and supplication. Then they move to Muzdalifa in the evening and stay there overnight to perform various prayers. After that, they stone the Satan with seven pebbles when they return to Mina, and then sacrifice a camel, cow or sheep and distribute the meat to friends, relatives and the poor.

Significance of Hajj

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Is erases all the past sins of the pilgrim. The reward of Hajj is nothing but Jannah (paradise).

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.” (Hadith # 596, Sahih Bukhari, Narrated by Abu Huraira)

What is Umrah

Umrah is non-mandatory pilgrim made by Muslims to Kab’bah at any time with the intention to purify themselves and visit holy places. The pillars of the Umrah are:

  • Ihraam
  • Twaaf: Around the Kab’bah
  • Sa’y: Rapidly walking seven times back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah
  • Taqsir or halq: a shaving of men’s hair

Significance of Umrah

The Noble Prophet Muhammad (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said, “A person who circumambulates this House (the Kaaba) seven times and performs the two Rak’at Salat (of Tawaf) in the best form possible will have his sins forgiven.”

Main Differences

  • Both are Islamic pilgrims, the main difference is due to the level of importance and method of observance.
  • Hajj is obligatory for every Muslim once in their lifetime, provided they are physically fit and financially capable.
  • Hajj is performed in designated Islamic month. However, Umrah can be performed at any time.
  • Hajj is one of the five pillars of the Islam.
  • Both seem similar in the start. Umrah can be performed in less than a few hours while Hajj is more detailed, involves more rituals.

Conclusion

Hajj is the major pilgrimage and Umrah is considered as a lesser one. From the religious point of view, the importance of Hajj is greater than that of Umrah’s.

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