The Umrah (Arabic: عمرة) is a journey to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be embraced in any month of the year, in comparison to the Hajj. In Arabic, Umrah signifies “to visit a populated spot”. In the Sharia, Umrah intends to perform Tawaf round the Kaaba and Sa’i between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, subsequent to wearing Ihram (a sacred state), either from a Miqat like Zu ‘l-Hulafa, Juhfa, Qarnu ‘l-Manāzil, Yalamlam, Zāt-i-‘Irq, Ibrahīm Mursīa, or a place in Hill. It is oftenly called the ‘minor piligimage’ or ‘lesser piligimage ‘, the Hajj being the “real” journey and which is obligatory for each hale & healthy Muslim who can afford it. The Umrah is not necessary but rather highly suggested.
The traveler or piligrim performs a progression of ritual acts typical of the lives of Ibrahim (Abraham) and his second wife Hajar, and of solidarity with Muslims around the world. These demonstrations of faith are: Perform a tawaf “طواف”, which comprises of moving around the Kaaba in circles seven times in an anticlockwise path. Men are urged to do this three times at a rushed pace, followed by four times, all the more nearly, at a comfortable pace.Perform a sa’i “سعي”, which implies quickly walking seven times forward and backward between the slopes of Safa and Marwah. This is a re-establishment of Hajar’s unhinged quest for water. The infant Ishmael cried and hit the ground with his foot (some versions of the story say that a heavenly attendant scraped his foot or the tip of his wing along the ground), and water inexplicably sprang forward. This source of water is today called the Well of Zamzam. Perform a halq or taqsir, signifying a trimming of the hair. A taqsir is a fractional shortening of the hair, while a halq is a complete shave of the head, with the exception of ladies, as they trim a little measure of hair. These rituals finish the Umrah, and the pioneer can decide to go out of ihram. Although not a part of the custom, most piligrims drink water from the Well of Zamzam.
Different organizations of Islam perform these customs with somewhat diverse techniques. The peak times of journey are the prior days, during and after the Hajj and amid the last ten days of Ramadan.