Umrah vs Hajj
Indeed, Muslims exhibit their faith differently from Christians. They seem to have strict practices with regards in their faith to Allah. They don’t eat pork, and I have heard that they also perform pilgrimages which are long walks towards a sacred place called Mecca that must be done at least once in their lives. To think that you will not eat pork and you need to walk thousands of miles just to show the strength of your faith, I am glad I am a Christian. I don’t mind eating pork for a couple of days but a pilgrimage? I admire the Muslims in expressing their faith. From what I have known, there are two pilgrimages performed by Muslims. These are Umrah and Hajj. If you have an interest with Islamic culture and tradition, you have come to the right place! This article will provide you information regarding the differences between Umrah and Hajj.
In Arabic, “Umrah” means to visit a populated place. This type of pilgrimage is done by the Muslims at any time of the year towards the sacred place of Mecca. Umrah is known to be the minor or lesser pilgrimage since it is not an obligatory rite compared to Hajj, the major pilgrimage. Hajj is mandatory for every able-bodied Muslim who meets the following conditions: First, you need to be a Muslim. Any non-Muslim person who performs the Hajj will not be accepted. Second, you have reached the age of puberty, 15 years old. Other signs of puberty include: having a wet dream, ejaculating semen, growing pubic hair, and menstruating. The third condition is being physically and financially able and the ability to perform the rite safely. If these conditions are not met, you are not required to perform Hajj since its goal is not to put your life at risk.
A series of rituals are involved when Muslims perform Umrah. Tawaf is the circling of Kaaba seven times in a counter-clockwise direction. Sa’i is also done seven times. It is the back and forth rapid walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah. Halq or taqsir is the cutting of the Muslims’ hair. Women just cut their hair short while men shave the hair on their heads completely.
On the other hand, Hajj is said to be the fifth pillar of Islam while Umrah is not an Islamic pillar. Hajj is one of the greatest and one of the largest pilgrimages in the whole world. It is also a pilgrimage towards Mecca. As said earlier, it is an obligatory religious duty for able-bodied Muslims who meet the aforementioned conditions. When you perform Hajj, you are demonstrating your solidarity among the Muslim people. It also clearly expresses your strong faith to Allah. This pilgrimage is held every 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Hajj is said to be a kind of tribute for Muhammad, an Islamic prophet of the 7th century, but the Muslims also consider the pilgrimage a sacrificial walk for the father of the nation, Abraham. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims participate in the said event. Umrah and Hajj can be performed in conjunction with each other. However, Umrah can also be done independently from Hajj.
Umrah and Hajj are pilgrimages towards the sacred place of Mecca.
Both pilgrimages exhibit your strong faith to Allah.
Umrah is not a pillar of Islam while Hajj is a fifth pillar of Islam.
Umrah is not mandatory but highly recommended while Hajj is mandatory for able-bodied Muslims who meet some conditions.
An Umrah is done at any time of the year while Hajj is performed during the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.