Are Hajj and Umrah Same Thing or They Are Different?

No, Hajj and Umrah are not the same thing; they are two different forms of pilgrimage.

Hajj is usually referred to as the major pilgrimage or the Pilgrimage, and Umrah as the lesser one.

Both Hajj and Umrah consist of a journey to Makkah that involves certain rituals such as ihram, circumambulating the Ka`bah, walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah, and shaving or cutting the hair.

So, What are the differences between Hajj and Umrah?

1. Extra rituals

The rituals mentioned above are the basic rituals of Umrah. Hajj, on the other hand, has these and additional rituals, including spending days and nights in `Arafah, Mina, and Muzdalifah – areas neighboring the city of Makkah.

The rituals of Umrah are limited and can be finished in few hours, that is why it is described as the lesser pilgrimage. Hajj rituals require at least 4 days and 3 nights to complete them.

2. Time frame

Another difference between Hajj and Umrah is related to their time frame. While there is a specific time for Hajj, you can perform Umrah at any time in the year.

3. Ruling

In addition, Hajj and Umrah differ regarding the ruling of each of them.

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam. Allah says in the Qur’an

{And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither} (Aal `Imran 3:97).

? Read Also: Responding to the Precious Call of Hajj (Hadiths & Experiences)

`Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying

“Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no god but Allah that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the zakah, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.”

So Muslim scholars unanimously agree that Hajj is obligatory once in a lifetime for those eligible.

As for Umrah, Muslim scholars disagree whether it is obligatory or merely a recommended Sunnah. However, it is better to perform it in order to be on the safe side.

You can choose the mode of Hajj known as tamatu` in which both Umrah and Hajj are performed. More information on tamatu` and the other modes of Hajj are provided in this article.

About Muhammad Fathi
Muhammad Fathi is the managing editor of the Shari`ah page, and a former Imam and teacher at the Quran Institute of America, MI, USA.