Your Guide to Umrah Rituals

Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!

 In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

What is Umrah

Umrah is a beautiful spiritual journey taken by every single Muslim to acknowledge Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala – Glory to him, the exalted) as the harbinger of peace and to commune with him to purge the impurities within. Any pilgrim who proceeds on this journey, goes along the path to purifying their soul, heart mind and body from the sins committed in the past to be distinguished from others on Resurrection day.

Essentially, the Umrah means ‘a visit’ to the Holy Kaaba (the Sacred House of God) in Arabic and can be performed by anyone, anytime of the year; unlike Hajj, which is an obligatory pilgrimage to Makkah, performed every year within the first 10 days of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah.


Umrah Rituals – How to Perform Umrah

The acts of faith performed by all pilgrims during their spiritual journey to the Holy Kaaba are collectively known as the Umrah rituals.

Depending on whether one wishes to perform Hajj after the commencement of Umrah rituals, there are two types of Umrah: Al Umrah Al Mufradah (optional before Hajj) and Umrah Al Tammatu (obligatory before Hajj).

Following are the four acts of Umrah Al Mufradah that involve fulfilling some religious duties and rituals, each anchoring the pilgrim in the right moment towards complete atonement.

Ihram from Miqat – The intention to perform Umrah

Before pilgrims wish to enter the Al Masjid Al Haram (the sacred boundary of Makkah) and move across to perform Umrah, they should wear Ihram in order to make haram and traverse the five different areas of Miqats in the Haram boundary:

  • Dhu’l Hulaifah (Abbyar Ali) is for pilgrims coming from or through Madina
  • Al-Juhfah (near Rabigh) is for pilgrims coming from or through Syria, Morocco, or Egypt.
  • Qarn-al manazil (As-Sail Al-Kabeer) is for pilgrims coming from or through Najd or Taif.
  • Yalamlam (Sa’adiyah) is for pilgrims coming from or through India, Pakistan or Yemen.
  • Dhat `Irq is for pilgrims coming from or through Iraq.

Prior to visiting the sacred boundary of Makkah, pilgrims are mandated to assume a state of Ihram, which is the combined sacred act of Niyyah and Talbiyah necessary to perform Umrah. Niyyah is the innate intention to perform an act of worship, while Talbiyah is a special prayer said in supplication.

To become a Muhrim (a pilgrim that has attained the state of Ihram), a pilgrim must prepare himself for Ihram by following the below steps as instructed by the Prophet (PBUH):

  • Performing ablutions – cleansing the body to attain physical purity, which involves some rituals that are mandatory (Mushtahab) and others, are preferable for Ihram:
  1. Ghusl (Mustahab)
  2. Perfuming the head & beard. (Mustahab)
  • Clipping finger & toe nails (Preferred)
  1. Trimming moustache (Preferred)
  2. Shaving off unwanted body hair (Preferred)
  • Changing into the sacred attire of two-pieced white Ihram sheets (Izar and Rida) for men and ordinary Islamic clothes for women. Both, men and women, should wear the flip-flops or sandals that expose the middle bones of the midfoot.
  • Performing the two Rakats of Salah al-Ihram while covering the head.
  • Pronouncing the Niyyah as the Miqat approaches
  • Reciting Talbiyah repeatedly while traversing the Miqat stations in the sacred boundary of the Grand Holy Mosque until the commencement of Tawaf before travelling to Makkah for the next step of Umrah.

Tawaf – Circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba in worship

After assuming a state of Ihram, the Muhrim performs the obligatory act of Tawaf in the Al Masjid Al Haram. The Muhrim must stop reciting the Talbiyah and start circumambulating the holy Kaaba seven times (as a reminder of the angels that circumambulate the celestial realms of Allah’s house, al-Bayt al-Ma’mur), by setting their right foot in and making Idtiba’a. Men must bare their right shoulder by placing the Rida under their right arm and the lower parts of it over their left shoulder during the entirety of Tawaf.

 They must circumambulate the Masjid Al Haram by starting from the Black Stone and completing it there at with the sincere intention of seeking closeness to Allah. The worship is validated only if the pilgrim recites the prescribed du’aa (supplication) during each one of the seven circumambulations.

Pilgrims can to Istilam (kiss or gesture towards the Black Stone), if he/she can during the circumambulations. Otherwise, they can touch it with their right hand and start moving towards completing the seven anticlockwise circumambulations while reciting du’aa with the holy Kaaba on their left, without any interruptions or distractions.

During the first three circumambulations, only the men must make Ramal (fast-paced walk on entry into the holy Kaaba) and the remaining four are completed by walking (at a normal pace) between the al Rukn al Yamani (the Rukn of the holy Kaaba) and the Black Stone.

The last circumambulation ends exactly where the first one began, to ensure that the pilgrim completed all seven rounds without moving or falling behind a single step or more. And with the seventh round of circumambulation and performance of eight Istilam, the state of Tawaf concludes. At this point, men must cover their shoulders with the upper part of the Ihram sheet.

Upon completion of Tawaf, pilgrims can go behind Maqam Ibrahim (the station of Ibrahim) and perform Salat of Tawaf to offer the two short rak’aa’s and thereafter drink the holy Zamzam water from Well of Zamzam in the basement of the Sacred Mosque while supplicating to Allah.

After drinking Zamzam, pilgrims then proceed to the Multazam, a section of the holy Kaaba between the Black Stone and the door of the Kaaba, to supplicate to Allah and offer du’aa.

Sa’iy – Walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah in worship

Umrah pilgrims intending to make Sa’iy must make their way out of the Al Masjid Al Haram towards the Masaa’ (the place of Sa’iy) which commemorates the struggle Prophet Abraham’s wife Hazarat Hajra went through to search for water for her son in between the hills of Safa in the south and Marwah in the North. In essence, Sa’iy is a great way to spend some time on self-reflection and self-realisation.

Pilgrims start Sa’iy by going up the hill of Safa to see the holy Kaaba from the Safa door. They must face the Kaaba with utmost devotion and love, while raising their hands to supplicate to Allah. They must then descend from Safa and walk towards the hill of Marwah while reciting the supplication Subhan Allah and keep moving until they reach two green pillars between which only the men have to run through while the women walk at a normal pace. When on top of Marwah, praise Allah facing the Kaaba and recite the supplication mentioning Allah.

The procedure continues with pilgrims going from Safa to Marwah and returning back to Safa, until the they complete seven laps in total. Each round is nearly 450m long. The seventh round will end at Marwah where all pilgrims must stand facing the Kaaba and repeat the same supplications that were recited at Safa. Men must perform Sa’iy with their shoulders covered.

After offering two Raka of Nafl (at a desirable time) in the Al Masjid Al Haram, pilgrims should come out of the Holy Mosque with their left foot out and then offer a du’aa.

Halq (shaving the head) or Taqsir (clipping or shortening of the hair for men and women)

Finally, the last step of your journey, shaving or clipping the hair in Mina. Men should get their head completely shaved, or get their hair clipped. While women are forbidden to shave their heads and only allowed to have a lock or strand of their hair clipped. The act of cutting the hair symbolizes one’s detachment from physical appearances and complete subjection to Allah.

All the prohibitions imposed on the conduct of pilgrims by Irham are lifted, upon completion of this last obligatory ritual. They can then remove Ihram sheets and change into their regular clothes.

Discover some of the best 5-star hotels in Makkah near haram abound with amenities perfect for pilgrims, families and business travelers.

What guests love about the Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel

When you read the guest reviews for Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel in Makkah, it’s clear that this new hotel is loved for its professionalism, efficiency and high international standards. Here are a few of the highlights:


Masharaf Tea Lounge

Masharaf Tea Lounge, one of many popular facilities in the Swissôtel Makkah hotel


“Outstanding hotel services”

Almost all reviews praise the “incredibly helpful” staff, described as “professional and helpful”, “supportive” and offering “impeccable” service.

They give a “sharp response” and “they try their best to please the guests”. This applies to all staff: “luggage services, front desk, concierge, security guards etc…. Thank you so much.”

The reception and concierge staff are especially highly praised. Several guests wish to “thank the reception staff and the front office managers”, with many agreeing that “hotel staff at the reception were particularly friendly and very accomodating.”

“Check in was quick and efficient”

With over 1,600 rooms and suites, the Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel has a challenge to keep check-in and check-out running efficiently. Nobody wants to wait in a line to check into their room!

Thankfully, the comments are positive, ranging from “the check in and check out experience was so easy” to “the check-in process was smooth” and “check in/check out was very fast”.

“Clean and modern”

Opened in 2017, the hotel has the latest standards of buildings and technology – something guests really appreciate.

It’s a “new hotel, neat and clean” says one guest, while a British visitor describes it as an “amazing hotel, very clean…very comfortable stay and modern property”.

Crowding is not an issue despite the 1,624 rooms and suites: a “sufficient no. of high speed elevators are available for ease of movement during prayer timings”“the lifts were quick and easily available”.

Good internet access is essential these days. One UK visitor was pleased to find that “despite being on one of the highest floors, the wifi was excellent” and another agrees: “good WIFI in room and public areas within hotel”.

“The food was amazing ”

The quality of the cuisine is something guests comment on. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner are well arranged” with a “good menu” and “tasty food”. This includes the servers: “Staff at Al-Khairat was very efficient and looking at every table with full attention.”

The “buffet breakfast was awesome” says one guest. Another explains: “breakfast was excellent with wider range of continental and Arabic cuisine.” Visitors from the UAE comment on the “well prepared breakfast with excellent variety” and “huge variety of buffet breakfast”.


Al Khairat restaurant

“Amazing food” at Al Khairat restaurant in the Swissôtel Makkah hotel


Note: This article includes quotes from authentic reviews on Tripadvisor and other hotel booking sites. If you’ve enjoyed your stay at the Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel, please take a moment to write a review! Your comments are really valuable, both to hotel staff and future guests.

What guests love about the Swissôtel Makkah hotel

As one of the most popular hotels in Makkah, the first Swissôtel in the Middle East still maintains its sky-high standards of service and cleanliness. Evidence: these recent guest reviews!

“Beautifully arranged, neat and clean”

Guests agree that “everything was high standard” at the Swissôtel Makkah, with many comments about the “clean rooms and facilities overall”. Reviews rave that “the rooms are super clean” and “bedding was so comfortable”.

Many people thank the cleaning staff personally – “housekeeping service has been super”. This satisfied guest gives more details: “Very clean hotel! The cleaner on our floor was amazing, very friendly, very efficient… the first day where we accidentally clicked do not disturb button, he caught our attention in lobby and asked if we needed anything, very polite!…. Just great in terms of cleanliness and hospitality.”


Swissôtel Makkah service

Everyone praises the high standards of cleanliness at the Swissôtel Makkah


“Breathtaking view of Holy Kabba”

Another much-loved aspect of the rooms and suites was the view – especially for those rooms with a Kaaba view.

One guest calls it a “beautiful hotel with breathtaking view of Holy Kabba” while another tells how the “view was just mesmerizing”. “Great view of the holy Kaaba from the window” and “the views of Kaaba from the Jr Suite were really amazing” say other guests.

If you’re booking a room at the Swissôtel Makkah, perhaps you should take this guest’s recommendation: “Choose the room with Kaaba view. You won’t regret it.”


Room with a Kaaba view

Guests recommend booking a room with a Kaaba view


“My children loved it”

Families appreciate the hotel due to its convenient access to the Haram. “Moving from the hotel to Haram is smooth. It is very recommended if you have kids.” It’s “very close to Haram even for older people”, recommends another guest. “Lifts are not overcrowded.”

The staff are also family-friendly, according to family reviewers. Comments range from “I had children with me and could not have expected anymore from the hotel staff” to “Housekeeping took extra care of me and my family, I can’t thank them enough.”

Grandma and grandpa are also well looked-after: “I lost count the number of times they voluntarily helped various family members in wheelchairs.”

“Never seen such friendly staff…”

… wonderful staff that do whatever it takes to meet your needs.” This guest echos what so many others also say.

As this reviewer praises: “Hospitality was excellent and all staff were welcoming and helped all your needs.” Another agrees: “Amazing service. Very friendly and professional staff.”

There is a clearly welcoming atmosphere in the hotel. Says this Umrah pilgrim: “The first night we were welcomed with a huge smile in the hotel for the reception.”

Note: This article includes quotes from authentic reviews on Tripadvisor and other hotel booking sites. If you’ve enjoyed your stay at the Swissôtel Makkah hotel, please take a moment to write a review! Your comments are really valuable, both to hotel staff and future guests.

What guests love about the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel

In the top 5 on Tripadvisor with a 79% “excellent” rating, it’s clear that guests absolutely love the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel! But what exactly do they love? Here’s a quick summary of what some recent guests find special.

“Service was outstanding”

It’s amazing to see how many reviews mention the superb level of service and friendly staff. The “staff are friendly and professional”, says one reviewer. An Australian guest raves that: “From the bell boy to the manager, everyone has the most utmost respect for the customers.”


Service at the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel

You can expect attentive service at the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel


Traveling to Makkah can be challenging in hot weather and busy times, but as one reviewer says, “the staff were amazing, they made sure everything went smoothly.”

Many guests praise the “ease of check in & out”. “I like the check in…” says one happy reviewer, “…they take me from the taxi station direct to my room and I sign all my papers in my room.”

“Amazing breakfast”

The best meal of the day for Raffles Makkah Palace hotel guests seems to be breakfast, as everyone praised the choice and quality. Comments range from simply “the included breakfast was amazing” to “the breakfast in the hotel was very tasty. It has a large selection too.”

One traveler from Mauritius particularly liked the healthy options: “The fresh juice variety options on the spot is amazing. So tasty and healthy.”

“Spectacular view of the Kaabah”

Right outside the Grand Mosque with views over the Kaaba, it’s no surprise that the location is a major advantage. “Location, ambiance and close vicinity to the Haram mosque are reasons enough why one should choose to stay at Raffles.”

Another guest lists the benefits: “convenient location, few steps from Haram, Kaaba view, shopping mall inside.” The shopping mall is the famous Abraj Al Bait Mall with hundreds of international stores and restaurants.

“The hotel suite is just wonderful”

Families and couples love the hotel’s 214 suites, all with a spacious living room and many with stunning views.

“Room is so clean with excellent view,” enthuses one guest. Another agrees: “Beautiful rooms with spectacular view of the Kaabah is definitely an added advantage”.


Raffles Makkah Palace hotel suite

Guests rave about the spacious suites with their elegant living rooms


“The right choice”

Let’s end with the words of one happy visitor from Dubai: “The minute you step foot in Raffles you immediately know that you have made the right choice and that you’ll definitely come back. The hospitality of all the staff around you make you feel like home and they’ll just do anything to make your stay as remarkable as it get again.”

Note: This article includes quotes from authentic reviews on Tripadvisor and other hotel booking sites. If you’ve enjoyed your stay at the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel, please take a moment to write a review! Your comments are really valuable, both to hotel staff and future guests.

What guests love about the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont hotel

With its more than 1,600 rooms and suites occupied year-round, the Fairmont hotel in the landmark Makkah Clock Royal Tower is clearly a favourite with visitors to the Holy City. Why do so many guests return to the hotel? Here’s a summary of some recent guest reviews.

“Perfect for families”

Families love the flexible room options at the Fairmont, including connecting rooms for two, three or four guests and spacious suites. “We had a residential quad room with two bathrooms and two bedrooms,” says one mother traveling with her husband and three children. “It was spacious and immaculate.”

Another is just as happy: “I stayed with my family in two triple connected rooms which were spacious and very comfortable.” A recent family of four “upgraded to the two bedrooms/two bathrooms suite with a view of the Haram” while another family “stayed in the two bedroom apartment. It was huge and had an amazing view (Kaaba view).”

One family with Fairmont Gold membership was especially impressed that “the team were all exceptional and went out of their way to make us feel welcome and ensure that our toddler (19 months) was happy.” And as another Fairmont Gold member says, “the welcome fruits and kava [coffee] and dates was a surprise treat for the family.”


Kids Corner

Families love the kid-friendly rooms and facilities


“Breakfast on 29th floor with amazing view”

Many guests love dining with a Kaaba view. “The breakfast is fantastic and one of the best I have ever tried,” says one diner. “The breakfast was great with such a wide range of choice of food” says another.

Many agree with the reviewer who praises the “awesome breakfast venue” with its Kaaba view.

Several mention Al Dira restaurant in particular, with one happy diner calling it “a no-miss for all.”

“Excellent prayer room with Kaaba view”

Pilgrims appreciate the chance to pray in the hotel’s large prayer room – “I really enjoyed praying on floor S2”.

“The view of Kaaba from the prayer area of hotel was breathtaking,” says one pilgrim. “The prayer room at S2 was beautiful,” enthuses another.

“Excellent service”

Guests are impressed at the professionalism and personal attention of the staff, despite having to deal with hundreds or even thousands of guests each day. “The staff were friendly and always greeted very politely whenever we met them.” This goes for every member of staff: “reception, hotel management, housekeeping and the concierge team.”

One guest thanks the hotel manager for solving a problem he had. “I must say he shows exemplary professionalism in dealing with the situation….These experiences differentiate & create lifetime memories. I thanks #Fairmont & their staff.”


Concierge Service

Everyone mentions the friendly and professional Fairmont staff


Note: This article includes quotes from authentic reviews on Tripadvisor and other hotel booking sites. If you’ve enjoyed your stay at the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont hotel, please take a moment to write a review! Your comments are really valuable, both to hotel staff and future guests.

5 reasons to stay at the Pullman Zamzam Makkah hotel

The Pullman Zamzam Makkah hotel offers Umrah and Hajj accommodation that combines connectivity and comfort with quick access to the Grand Mosque.

Here are five reasons for pilgrims, families and business travelers to stay at the Pullman Zamzam Makkah hotel.

1. Easy access to the Haram

In the Abraj Al Bait complex, the hotel is a few minutes’ walk from King Abdul Aziz Gate. The hotel’s location makes it convenient to pray at the Grand Mosque at any time.

2. Multilingual concierges

Known as Pullman Welcomers, the multilingual concierges will help to make your stay in Makkah as comfortable as possible. Take advantage of their local knowledge and ask for information about Makkah tours, the best restaurants in the city or anything else you need.

3. Perfect for families

Children under 12 enjoy free accommodation, breakfast and Executive Lounge access when with a parent. Suites have a kitchenette and plenty of space.

4. Facilities for pilgrims

To pray in your room, simply turn on the Haram radio and use the prayer rugs. This 5-star hotel also has a prayer room with a close-up view of the Kaaba.

5. Delicious cuisine

Start your day with a gourmet breakfast featuring a variety of local and international dishes. Two all-day restaurants and a lobby lounge offer authentic dishes in a relaxing atmosphere.

Learn more about the Pullman Zamzam Makkah hotel.

Pullman Zamzam Grand Suites - reception

Elegant Arabic design at the Pullman Zamzam Makkah hotel

Pullman Zamzam Makkah twin room

There are 1315 deluxe rooms and suites at the Pullman Zamzam Makkah hotel


5 reasons to stay at Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel

Looking for the ideal Umrah or Hajj accommodation? Look no further: this luxury Makkah hotel provides warm Arabic hospitality, Swiss standards and easy access to the Grand Mosque.

Here are five top reasons to book a room at the Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel.

1. Easy access to the Haram

Facing the Kaaba, this luxury hotel within the Abraj Al Bait complex is just a few minutes away from the Holy Mosque. Guests have direct access to the main entrances.

2. Contemporary Swiss style

This Makkah hotel features modern design, friendly service and comfortable public spaces. Enjoy a blend of Arabic hospitality and Alpine decor in the heart of Makkah.

3. Sensational room choices

You have many choices: from the classic twin room to the spacious Family Suites with a separate living room, dining room and kitchenette. All rooms come with WiFi, a refreshment center, prayer rugs and Haram radio.

4. Relaxed, refined dining

Al Khairat is an all-day restaurant that serves authentic cuisines from the Gulf region, Europe and the Far East. For relaxing refreshments, try the cozy Masharif Tea Lounge.

5. Easy shopping at Abraj Al Bait Mall

Guests have direct access to world-class shopping at Abraj Al Bait Mall. Find everything you need in one place, from international brands, jewelry and Hajj souvenirs to a popular food court.

Learn more about the Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel.

Swissotel Al Maqam Lobby

Expect Swiss standards of service at the Swissôtel Al Maqam hotel

5 reasons to stay at Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont hotel

Everyone recognises Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont hotel: it rises 76 stories high in the Abraj Al Bait complex and is visible for miles around. Here are five things that make it the ideal Hajj or Umrah accommodation.

Rising up from the Abraj Al Bait complex, Makkah Clock Royal Tower is a beacon for pilgrims, families and businesspeople from around the world. It also offers some of the closest accommodation to the Kaaba.

1. Closest hotel to the Kaaba

This Makkah hotel is in the central clock tower, a 76-story building visible from anywhere in the holy city. It is directly in front of the Grand Mosque’s main gate, with many of its 1650 rooms overlooking the Kaaba.

2. Easy access to the Grand Mosque

With 56 elevators, Hajj and Umrah pilgrims can easily and quickly reach the Haram, as well as Abraj Al Bait Mall.

3. Superb meetings and events facilities

Makkah Clock Royal Tower has more than 3,200 sqm of function spaces, all equipped with the latest technology. Take advantage of the business center, spectacular ballroom and media room with live broadcasting capabilities.

4. Relaxation and exercise

For relaxation, exercise and spa treatments, this Fairmont hotel in Makkah offers men’s and women’s health clubs staffed by highly trained professionals.

5. Ideal for family travel

Children enjoy free or discounted meals, welcome amenities and access to a fun Kids’ Club.

Learn more about the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont Hotel.


Fairmont Makkah Double Bedroom with Kaaba view

Many of the Fairmont Makkah’s 1650 rooms have Haram views

Fairmont Makkah Reception

The welcoming reception area at the Fairmont Makkah hotel

5 reasons to stay at the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel

If you’re looking for a peaceful, exclusive stay in Makkah, the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel is perfect for you.

With just 214 suites in the heart of the holy city, the Raffles Makkah Palace is an exclusive haven for pilgrimages and business stays. Here are five things to love about the hotel.

1. Butler service

Raffles is known worldwide for its attention to detail. Whatever you want, ask the personal butlers. They anticipate your needs and are available 24 hours a day.

2. Near the Grand Mosque

The hotel is just a few minutes from King Abdulaziz Gate, the main entrance into Al Haram. Staying across from the mosque, guests enjoy close-up views of Islam’s holiest sites.

3. Spacious suites

This 5-star hotel in Makkah features suites and villas spread across 15 levels. Whether traveling alone or with a group or family, you enjoy spacious accommodation. Choose anything from a one-bedroom Signature Suite to the large Royal Villa.

4. Feel of a boutique hotel

With only 214 suites and villas, Raffles Makkah Palace is truly exclusive. Guests enjoy personalized attention and tranquility in the heart of the city.

5. Exceptional cuisine

Fine dining with warm hospitality… The hotel’s restaurants offer everything from Middle Eastern buffets to Mediterranean dishes. For a treat, enjoy afternoon tea and gourmet ice cream.

Learn more about the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel.

Raffles Makkah suite

The Raffles hotel offers luxurious suites with views over Makkah

Discover the Top Things to Do in Makkah

Makkah, the most sacred place in Islam, is the focal point for Islamic religious pilgrimages. Every year, the Saudi Arabian city beckons millions of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from far and wide to several of its important religious sites that offer interesting glimpse into its formidable connection with the historical past of Islam.

Apart from its rich history and spiritual significance in the Islamic wold, Makkah also offers plenty of remarkable things to do and see for its visitors to partake in.



Kiswa creation for the Holy Kaaba at Al Kiswa Factory


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