Umrah and Hajj are two types of pilgrimages that Muslims undertake as a token of their faith.
Although both umrah and hajj are pilgrimages, there are many differences between the two. For instance, an umrah is considered as a small or minor pilgrimage while a hajj is a major pilgrimage among Muslims.
The natures of both pilgrimages are also different. An umrah is a recommended and non-compulsory pilgrimage, but a hajj is an obligatory one. There are also more requirements and qualifications for a pilgrim in conducting a hajj.
The weight or importance between the two pilgrimages is also distinct. The hajj carries more weight and importance in comparison to an umrah.
The Umrah is a pilgrimage that can be done any time of the year or in combination with a hajj. As a pilgrimage, it has two types: al-Umrat al mutradah (umrah without hajj) and Umrat-al tammatu (umrah with hajj). The first type can be performed by the individual while the second type can be performed collectively with the other pilgrims for the hajj.
The first type of umrah is performed anytime with the exclusion of the hajj months while the latter kind can be performed within the hajj months.
On the other hand, a hajj can be done at a specific time of the year. There are designated months for the hajj, namely: Shawwal, Dhul-Hijjah, and Dhul-Qadah.
Also, hajj is included in the five pillars of Islam, meaning it is considered as a religious duty by all the religion’s followers. The performance of hajj is very important. Muslim tradition requires that a Muslim at least do the hajj once in a lifetime. The hajj has three forms. The first form is the ifrad or the hajj itself. The second form is the tamattu or the complete but separate undertaking of both an umrah and a hajj. Lastly, the third form is qiran or the combination and alternate performance of an umrah and a hajj.
Despite their differences, both umrah and hajj have similarities. Both pilgrimages are marks of strong Muslim faith, fidelity, and piety. The two also promote a unified and one Muslim community in retelling and retracing the steps of the Muslim faith.
Another distinction is the length and the steps of the rituals. Both the umrah and the hajj require the ritual of purification known as ihram. After the ihram, a tawaf is performed. The tawaf involves circling the Ka’aba along with prayers. The tawaf ends with th drinking of water from the well of Zamzam. After this step, there are more steps in the hajj that include going to Mt. Arafat and Muzdalifah, performing the stoning of the devil and animal sacrifice. Another Tawaf, called Tawaf Az-Ziyara and Tawaf al-Wida are performed. The last tawaf is considered the final and closing ritual of the hajj. Meanwhile, the tawaf in umrah is succeeded by a Sacii and ends with the cutting of the pilgrim’s hair.
Both umrah and hajj are Muslim pilgrimages. The main difference between the two is on the importance, observance, and practice between the two.
Umrah is also known as a small or minor pilgrimage. It is a recommended pilgrimage and not mandated or compulsory in nature. Meanwhile, hajj is a major pilgrimage and has a significant meaning. It is an obligatory practice among Muslims. Muslim tradition dictates that a Muslim should at least perform the hajj once in their lifetime.
Umrah has two types: al-Umrat al mutradah and Umrat-al tammatu. The first type refers to the Umrah without hajj and can be performed anytime except during the hajj months while the second type is a combination of an umrah and a hajj. On the other hand, hajj has three forms: ifrad (hajj only), tammatu (complete but separate performance of an umrah and a hajj), and lastly, qiran (sequential execution of an umrah and a hajj).
The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam while an umrah is not.
Umrah can be a highly individualized ritual while a hajj can be done with other pilgrims.
The umrah and hajj have the same two first steps, but the hajj continues into more steps and rituals. Umrah only adds two more steps to complete the pilgrimage.