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Shah Rukh Khan was in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. How are Umrah and Haj different?

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DECEMBER 2, 2022

Shah Rukh Khan was in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan just completed a holy pilgrimage at Mecca in Saudi Arabia after wrapping up the shoot of Rajkumar Hirani’s upcoming movie, Dunki. Khan was seen in a white cloth with a mask on his face. The fans applauded him for making the pilgrimage which is considered a good deed in Islam.

However, Shah Rukh Khan isn’t the first Bollywood actor to do so. Aamir Khan had also once been to Saudi Arabia in 2012 with his mother to do Haj. Actor Sana Khan with her husband Anas Saiyad too have been to Mecca to perform their religious duties. While Sana went for Haj, Ali Fazal performed Umrah.

This leaves many people wondering what is the difference between the two and which one is obligatory is Islam?

What is Umrah? Umrah is the shorter version of Haj and it is a religious practice Muslim do. It offers the Muslims to renew their faith, seek forgiveness, and pray for their needs.

However, unlike Haj, Umrah is not mandatory for a Muslim and can be done at any time during a year.

What is Haj? Haj is an annual pilgrimage and is considered as one of the five pillars of Islam. The rites which are performed in Haj were established by Prophet Mohammad. Unlike Umrah, Haj is compulsary and every Muslim who is financially and physically able, must perform it at least once in his/her lifetime.

The difference between Haj and Umrah: Umrah and Haj differ from each other on the basis of rituals and importance.

  • The first and the foremost difference between the two is the timing. Muslims undertake the journey of Haj during the month of Dhu al Hijjah, which is the last month of lunar calendar. Muslims leave right after Eid-ul-Fitr and stay in Mecca, Saudi Arabia till Eid-ul-Adha. It is between these two months that the rites of Haj are peformed and not in any other month.
  • Umrah, on the other hand, can be undertaken at any time of the year and it takes generally 3-6 hours to complete one Umrah while the rites of Haj are long and it takes 5-6 days to complete one Haj.
  • Secondly, for Umrah, the obligatory acts include assuming the state of Ihram after declaring the intention of Umrah, performing Tawaf, carrying out Sayi between the hills of Safa and Marwa and in last shaving off the head or a portion of hair.
  • Whereas in Haj, a Muslim needs to assume Ihram from Meeqat, stand on Arafah until sunset and spend the night at Muzdalifah, pass the night in in Mina during Tashreeq, stoning of the devil, shaving of the head and at last perform farewell circumambulation.
  • Overall, Umrah is the minor Haj in Islam and it is optional for Muslims while Haj is compulsory.

Shah Rukh thanks Saudi Arabia government: Before Umrah, Khan had also posted a video on his Twitter handle where he expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture for their hospitality. He said: “A very big shukran to the #SaudiArabiaMinistryofCulture, the team and all who made the shoot schedule of #Dunki so smooth,” Shah Rukh Khan said.


Courtesy/Source: DailyO

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