Everyone would know that the Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia performed by Muslims globally during a specific time of the year (in the Islamic month of Zulhijjah to be exact) but not everyone would know what the Umrah is. For the benefit of our non-Muslim readers in particular, the Umrah is the lesser known pilgrimage to Mecca that may be performed at anytime of the year. While it is a religious duty for every able-bodied and financially capable Muslim to perform the Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime, the Umrah is not obligatory but highly encouraged. The Umrah includes some of the rituals of the Hajj but there are fewer of them so it tends to be less demanding. In addition to performing the rituals, Muslims also take the opportunity to visit sites of Islamic historical significance including those in Madinah, the city where the early Muslim community (Ummah in Arabic) developed under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Unto Him).
There’s so much more to the Umrah and Hajj but we leave you to search more on the subject should you be inclined. For now, here are some photographs taken by friends of Al-Musafir who were there recently performing the Umrah.