To perform Umrah in Ramadan is one of the most exalted acts of worship. The Prophet (S.A.W) said: “Performance of Umrah during Ramadan is like accompanying on me Hajj.”
Whilst the rewards of this ritual is immeasurable, it’s important to be prepared for this pilgrimage. Here are some tips for performing Umrah in Ramadan:
It’s important to seek the counsel of a reliable travel agency before beginning your journey. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a family, it’s essential that you finalize your bookings early on as it’s very difficult to secure flights and hotel bookings in Ramadan. Booking early will ensure you cheaper lodgings, flights, and transport.
Select a travel agency that will book everything for you, and opt for 5-star Umrah packages, as despite the high prices, they book the hotels that are close to Masjid-e-Nabwi and Masjid-e-Haram.
Ramadan attracts a throng of worshippers from around the world; hence, the holy mosques are packed with pilgrims from all walks of life. Make sure you’re well-prepared for dealing with such a big crowd.
For personal safety, maintain a system of communication with your fellow group members through mobile phones, and select a predetermined location to meet-up if you’re separated during busy hours. Activate ‘International Roaming’ on your sim-card; you can also save time and money by buying a sim-card in Saudi Arabia.
You require a passport, Umrah visa, and a thumb-print to buy a sim card. The shops can be located easily. Check the roaming-rates beforehand with your operators if you want to activate overseas roaming, to keep a check on your mobile finances.
Things you need to pack
It’s appropriate to only pack the things you need on your trip to keep your luggage on the light-weight side. A mini Quran or a book of supplications is an absolute necessity, along with a mobile phone. This would allow you to prepare the prayers that you’ll offer at various holy sites.
A portable prayer-mat can come in handy in mosques as there’s a chance that you may not find one during busy hours of Salah. During your stay, make it a habit to re-use empty plastic-bottles to refill zam-zam water instead of buying new ones; this not only saves money but also doesn’t create an inconvenience for the cleaning staff.
Things to remember
It’s very easy to get separated from your group or family in the crowd; so use hotels as a meeting location in such a situation.
The purpose of Umrah is to gain the favour of God, so, in the spirit of Ramadan, help others, practice good behaviour, and observe patience. Don’t spend a lot of time splurging money on things you don’t need. Instead, focus on the reasons why you made the pilgrimage.
During the month of Ramadan, the place for Tawaf is very crowded, so make sure you keep an eye on the prayer timings during your pilgrimage. It becomes increasingly more crowded after Asr.
As the duration of Tawaf is about an hour, so, by the time you’re done with this ritual, it’s time for Iftar. It isn’t wise to force yourself to perform Umrah in the states of thirst, hunger, and fatigue; therefore, the best time to perform Umrah during this month is in the morning hours.
This ritual, which is an integral part of the Isha prayers, is one of the main features of Ramadan; hence, you should rest up, gather your strength and wits, and be prepared to offer Isha prayers en masse for a few hours.
Umrah is one of the few rituals in Islam that requires of you to walk for long distances and for extended periods of time; hence, focus on maintaining your health before you leave on your pilgrimage. Keep a small first-aid kit on you at all times that’s got medicines and first-aid supplies such as pain-killers, aspirin, cough or cold medicines, bandages, etc.
Iftar and Suhūr
Make sure you keep a note of your hotel timings for Iftar and Suhūr. To keep your energy up, eat whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables and drink plenty of water. Avoid eating too much meat, spicy and junk food, and processed food items; they will increase your stomach’s acidity and put extra stress on your body.
Whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables, on the other hand, will provide your body with fibers that are necessary for digestion and building your energy levels. Be mindful of your diet in this month.