Umrah: In the month of Shawwal

Q650 :1. I went to Jeddah in connection with my work. When I was preparing to go to Makkah for Umrah after finishing my work, my friends advised me that since it was the month of Shawwal, no one may offer the Umrah unless he is preparing to do the pilgrimage later on. They told me to visit Makkah without ihraam. I took their advice, but some people told me that I did wrong. Please clear this confusion and tell me what I should do. 2. A person does more than one Umrah during the month of Shawwal, or Thul-Qaadah or early in the month of Thul-Hajjah, without having intention of performing the pilgrimage. Later on, he decides to go to pilgrimage. What sort of pilgrimage applies to him?

A650 : I have answered both queries on several occasions. There remains, however, an element of confusion which arises out of incomplete information on both points of entering Makkah without ihraam garments and doing the Umrah after the end of Ramadhan and before the start of pilgrimage. Neither point is difficult to understand. The Prophet has named the points of meeqat and made it clear that anyone who wants to go to Makkah for doing either the Umrah or the pilgrimage must enter into the state of consecration i.e. ihraam at these points. The Hadith states clearly that this applies to the people of the named areas and anyone else who passes through them "intending to do the Umrah or the pilgrimage." Therefore, a person who does not intend to do either duty is not included in this restriction. Such a person can go to Makkah in the normal way as he goes to any other town or city. He need not enter into the state of consecration. What this means in effect is that the ihraam, or consecration, is a condition of performing a religious duty in Makkah. It is not meant for entering the city at any time or for any purpose. It is the reason for entry which counts. The other point is that of offering the Umrah in Shawwal. There is no restriction on any person to offer the Umrah in the month of Shawwal or Thul-Qaadah or Thul-Hajjah, which are the three months of pilgrimage. Many people tend to think that if you offer the Umrah in this period, you must follow it with pilgrimage. This is terribly wrong. There is simply no time when Umrah cannot be offered. The confusion arises in some people's minds because they reverse the conditions. The correct thing to say is that if you offer Umrah in these months, even when not intending to do the pilgrimage, but you then follow it with doing the pilgrimage, you are deemed to have done the two duties in the tamattu method. This requires you to sacrifice a sheep in gratitude to Allah for enabling you to do both duties. If one does more than one Umrah in Shawwal or Thul-Qaadah, he is perfectly entitled to do so. If he does not intend to do the pilgrimage, either because he had done it, or because he does not meet the conditions of ability, or for any reason, he is welcome to do the Umrah. If a change in his circumstances takes place and he decides or becomes able to do the pilgrimage later, he is deemed to do it in the tamattu method which is the method preferred by the Prophet. Having said that, I must add that if after he has done the Umrah in this period, and before he comes back for pilgrimage, he leaves to any place beyond the point of Meeqat and then comes back for his pilgrimage, the Umrah he had done does not affect his pilgrimage in anyway. He can choose any method. In other words, my reader from Riyadh could have done the Umrah in Shawwal and left for Riyadh. If he then decides to come back for pilgrimage, he can do the pilgrimage in the ifraad method, because he traveled beyond the point of meeqat.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )