Aspects Of The Islamic Faith - 123: The Umrah During The Pilgrimage Season

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

A point that causes much confusion among some people is that of offering the Umrah in the pilgrimage season which starts on the first day of the month of Shawwal and extends into Dul-Hijjah. Many people mention that if a person offers the Umrah in these months, that person must also offer the pilgrimage.

If he cannot do so, then he must not offer the Umrah until the pilgrimage season is over. This is totally incorrect, as can be clearly understood from the following Hadith. "Anas was asked how many times the Prophet offered the Umrah? He answered: Four. The first was the one when the Al-Hudaybiyah agreement was signed in the month of Dul-Qaada. The unbelievers prevented him from completing it. The second was a year later in Dul-Qaada, in accordance with the terms of the peace agreement. Another Umrah he started from Al-Ji'ranah after sharing out the spoils of the Battle of Hunayn. The questioner asked: How many times did he offer the pilgrimage. He said: Once." (Related by Al-Bukhari)

This Hadith mentions that the Prophet (peace be upon him) offered the Umrah four times, but specifies only three. The fourth is the one which the Prophet offered with his pilgrimage in year 10 AH. It also started in the month of Dul-Qaada.

We learn from the Hadith that the Prophet offered the pilgrimage once only, but offered the Umrah four times, all of which were in the pilgrimage season as the month of Dul-Qaada is the second month in that season. Had it been obligatory to offer the pilgrimage if you do the Umrah in the pilgrimage season, then the Prophet would have had to offer the pilgrimage four times. The fact is that he offered it once only.

Apart from the time when he offered the Umrah with his pilgrimage, the Prophet initiated only the Umrah on all three occasions. He did not intend to offer the pilgrimage on any of these occasions. It is perfectly permissible to do so. Today, if someone arrives in Makkah at any time during the pilgrimage season, performs the Umrah and leaves, he is perfectly entitled to do so. There is no obligation that he must do the pilgrimage as well. These are separate duties and can be offered independently from each other or together.

The confusion arises when a person offers the Umrah in Shawwal or Dul-Qaada, which are in the pilgrimage season, having no intention at the time to do the pilgrimage as well, then when the pilgrimage is due, he manages to offer it. He has thus offered the two duties separately in the same year and during the pilgrimage season. Although when he offered the Umrah he had no intention of doing the pilgrimage, he is deemed to have done the two duties in the tamattu' method. He is required to offer a sacrifice of one sheep in gratitude to God for enabling him to offer both duties in the same season.

These are separate issues. Doing the Umrah in the pilgrimage season is perfectly appropriate and imposes no obligation to do the pilgrimage as well in the same year. The other issue is that of actually doing both duties in the same season. This is the tamattu' method, whether one has intended it at the time when he did the Umrah or not. The tamattu' method is the one preferred and recommended by the Prophet. Therefore, one should be grateful to God for enabling him to offer the two duties, and a sign of this gratitude is to sacrifice a sheep. He may partake of the meat of the sacrifice, but should leave most of it to the poor in the Haram area. These days the sacrifice has been organized so as to give the poor in the Haram area all they need, and to send the surplus to other Muslim countries. This is perfectly appropriate.



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