The rituals of worshiping Allah have a special place in the hearts of the Muslims, and its spiritual aspect also has a great value for their souls. As a result, so many of them are seeking to visit Mecca in order to perform the Umrah and they are eager to see the holy places and to worship the Almighty God. And perhaps what is encouraging them to perform the Umrah is their strong belief in Allah, their glorification of the Islamic rituals and the more chances they have compared to performing the Hajj, as the Umrah doesn’t have a certain time frame and it can be performed anytime of the year.
The times of the Umrah vary depending on the time people have and also on their capabilities to perform. If the Muslim has the freedom to choose the time in which he will perform the Umrah, it is preferred to do it in the holy month of Ramadan, as the prophet PBUH said: "(The performance of) 'Umrah during Ramadan is equal to Hajj (pilgrimage)."
If it is not possible to perform it in Ramadan, it is recommended to do it during the months of the Hajj, which are Shawwal, Dhul Qa’dah and Dhul Hijjah, because the Umrah is better performed in those holy months. In the holy Quran, Allah called it the little pilgrimage as it coincides with the great pilgrimage. Also, in case it is not possible, Allah gives the possibility to perform it whenever the Muslim is capable of doing it.
It is interesting to note that despite the consensus of the scholars about the non-obligatory aspect of the Umrah, and despite the hardship and big efforts that are necessary to perform it, Muslims all around the globe are eager to perform it at least once in their lifetime. As a result, they make a lot of efforts and sacrifices in order to be able to provide for the travel demands and necessities, while being full of hope to earn the mercy of Allah and his blessings.
It is not strange to notice that some Muslims performed the Umrah once or even more, as they are all racing towards the blessings and approval of the almighty Allah. Nor it is surprising to find that some Muslims find it difficult to perform the Umrah to physical, health reasons, or even organizational reasons, as in some Arab countries, it is obligatory to win your place to the Umrah, in order to avoid the overcrowding. Perhaps, what these people should know is that Allah won’t deprive them from the rewards of the Umrah if they did not actually perform it, as their intentions count. The holy prophet PBUH said: “Actions are to be judged only by intentions and a man will have only what he intended.”
Written by: Amine Hilal