Assalamu Aalaikum warahmathullahi wabarakaath. how about an Umrah for woman? There are lots of Articles on Umrah. But non of them are written exclusively for our sisters. Their issues and doubts are not discussed in any article. Therefore I decided to write an article exclusively addressing the needs of our sister facing during their Umrah.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said Umrah and hajj are the jihad for the old, young, weak, and women.
Umrah for women is slightly different from how is it for the men. There are difference From the VISA procedures till performing the Umrah. It is to be noted that, many women are not assisted with the guide from Umrah agencies as well. Most agencies do not have a female Umrah guide. We here at myumrahguide.com are making our sincere attempt to become a digital Umrah guide. InshaAllah.
Alright. First Let me breakdown the topic I will be discussing in this Article.
Unlike men, women are not allowed to perform Umrah Alone. They must always be in a company with a mahram man. Their mahram men can be their Father, brother, husband or son (who is old enough). So when you apply for a Visa, you must show the proof of the men accompanying you, being your mahram. The. Proof may be a birth certificate (Father or brother) or marriage certificate (for husband) or both (for son). The mahrams name will be printed in your VISA.
Women whose age is 45 and above, are allowed to perform Umrah with a group without a mahram. But to acquire the visa, She must submit a letter from her mahram stating that he is Allowing her to perform Umrah with the group. Note that, if you take a group VISA, you must enter and exit Saudi Arabia with this particular group.
If the VISA applicant's name is not an Arabic name or if she is a revert Muslim, she needs to provide a letter from the local Masjid. This rule is common for men and woman.
Make sure you wear a headscarf when you are taking the picture for the Umrah visa. Note that you need to do biometrics registration before Applying for the visa. I have covered The Visa process in detail here.
When you book hotels, the location of the hotel is critical.
There are no special gates nor a gate which are closer to the ladies section in Masjid Al Haram, Makkah. Masjid Al Haram is a huge mosque, and the Kaaba is at the centre of the Masjid. It is at least 7 minutes walking distance from any Masjids' gates to Kaaba. Usually, the hotels' distance from the Masjid shown on the website is an approximate distance from the Masjid gates to the hotel. Make sure you Account the distance from the gates to the Kaaba. So if you have older people or people who are not capable of walking long distance, book your hotel near the Masjid Al Haram.
Do check out my complete guide on hotels in Makkah.
Unlike Masjid Al Haram, in Masjid Al Nabawi, There are two specific gates which are closer to the ladies sections. So book a hotel located at North of Masjid Al Nabawi ( behind the mosque) because it is closer to the ladies sections. If you book a hotel in front of the mosque (south), you have to walk around 6 minutes to reach Ladies Section in Masjid Al Nabawi. It is a 3 mins walk from the northmost gate to the pulpit. Please read my Article on hotels in Madinah.
The Masjids in Makkah and Madinah are very crowded. So there is a possibility you may get lost in the crowd. Please remember the hotel name and if possible, get a hotel name card and keep it with you. If you have older people travelling with you, Give them one card for them. So you can Always meet them back to your hotel. Always keep your kids closer.
The clothes you pack for your Umrah trip must be Islamically moderate. Saudi Arabia has imposed strict rules on clothing. Abaya, kaftan, shalwar kameez are considered Islamically moderate. Please Avoid tight clothing and clothing with transparent material.
When packing clothes, please make sure you take your pads incase of menses. And please take a cream which is not scented. Why? Because there is a lot of walking involved in Umrah. Women and men who are not used to walking can have friction between the inner thighs which could cause pain and irritation. Therefore apply some unscented cream for lubrication. Why unscented? Cause it is not permissible to wear perfume after entering the state of ihram. Please refer to my Article about ihram to know more in detail.
If you have infants or kids, try to pack sets of wet wipes that are non scented. If you can't find them, it's ok. Take Plastic bags, in case if you need to change the pampers of your kid. So you can put the pampers in a plastic bag and put it in a bin.
It is permissible for men and woman to strap the kid into the ihram. So there is no harm in strapping the baby to yourself.
You are allowed to take your baby trolley, but the masjid authorities may not let you take it inside the masjid. So you might have to keep it outside the masjid at your own risk.
Check this article on Umrah for children.
It is recommended to Arrive at Jeddah or Madinah Airports if your purpose of the travel is to perform an Umrah.
Ladies must only wear Islamically moderated cloths, and you must be present with your mahram at the immigration counter. The Immigration Officer will ask you about your mahram. Please note that this mahram is the one whose name is listed as your mahram in your ViSA. If not, you might find it hard to explain it to the immigration officer. English is not widely spoken in Saudi Arabia. So please travel together.
If you are a Woman and above 45 and you have taken a ViSA with a group, make sure you are travelling with the group. The group must have an imam or a guide in case if you are questioned about your mahram.
Now, if you are Arriving in Jeddah, you must be in the state of IHRAM because Jeddah falls within the border of Meeqaat. The rule is you must Assume the state of IHRAM before entering Meeqaat. The pilot will announce 30 mins before entering the Meeqaat point.
A woman can wear any Islamically moderate cloths as her IHRAM clothing. ihram is a state you Assume, therefore Please refer to my Article about ihram to know more in detail.
Please refer to the Article how to perform Umrah to find out why you need to assume the state of IHRAM before Umrah.
You may purchase your mobile SIM at the Airport. The prices are almost the same. Read this Article to find out about the mobile communication connection you like have.
A woman who is not clean (following menses or postnatal bleeding) may enter the state of IHRAM. She must take a ghusl (clean bath) before she wears ihram clothing. Note This bath will not make her clean as long as menstruate or bleeding condition exist. She should not enter Masjid or pray until she is clean. But she is allowed to do zikr, listen to Quran, and it's translation.
After becoming clean, when her bleeding stops and she must have ghusl ( clean bath), she can enter Masjid and perform the rest of the Umrah and offer prayers, voluntary tawaf and perform All good deeds.
If you decide to explore Saudi Arabia, make sure you are ALWAYS accompanied by a mahram. Because it is not safe, and by law, a woman should not travel alone in Saudi Arabia.
In Masjid Al haram you may Enter alone without a mahram. You may Enter through any gate. You may pray in the ladies section in every part of the Masjid. The masjid authorities have made different sections for female worshippers.
You are allowed to touch and kiss Hajr Al Aswad as well. Hajr al Aswad is the black stone which was descended from heaven. The place to touch Hajr Al Aswad is very crowdy with men. So we personally recommend our sisters not to get into that crowd where men are pushing each other to touch it. Remember Umar ibn Khattab رضي الله عنه looked at the Hajr Al Aswad and said "you are just a rock, but I have seen prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to kiss you. That's why I am kissing you. Read Masjid Al haram article to know more about Masjid Al haram.
Masjid Al haram is a very crowded place, so make sure you always stick with your crowd. Try to Always carry your kids. Do not let them run. You are allowed to hold the hands of your mahram to avoid getting lost. Make sure you let the others know your plans. And ask them to keep in touch always. Find a landmark and location that you can always meet after prayers. Make sure you communicate with your team. Where you will meet after the prayer or at a certain time if there is any necessity.
Make sure you carry a bag to put your slippers or shoes. Because you can't wear them inside the Masjid. Remove your slippers not shoes put it in the plastic bag and carry it with you. You can keep the bag with you inside the Masjid. If you leave your shoes outside the masjids, there is a possibility that you may not find it when you come back. One because it could be stolen or removed from the place for cleaning purpose. Remember, these Masjids are cleaned very frequently.
There is no specific time to enter Masjid Al haram. You can enter anytime as long as you are clean.
Please do not take food inside Masjid. You may take snacks or chocolate. The authorities don't like you dirtying the place. It's Allah's house, so use it carefully.
There are four steps to perform Umrah.
IHRAM for a woman is wearing an Islamically modest cloth but not allowed to cover the face and hands below the wrist. You may wear any colour of your choice. Do not wear tight or transparent clothes. Avoid silk As there are forums which mention the prohibition of silk during Ihram, however i have not found any reference yet.
If you are carrying babies or kids, all kind of baby straps is allowed. But Avoid anything scented. Even when you apply to your kids.
Check this article on Umrah for children.
Tawaf is walking 7 times around Kaaba. The ramal or energetic walk is only applicable for men. So you may walk at a normal speed. Read the article Tawaf
Saiee is walking 7 times between Safa and Marwa.
Walking fast or running in the green light area to only applicable for men. However, woman need recite that specified Dua.
Cutting hair is the last step of the Umrah. Woman need to cut around an inch from all sides of her hair.
If you wish to perform an Umrah on behalf of others, you may do so. Please check out my article on Umrah Al Badal.
As I mentioned before, Masjid Al Nabawi has four gates closer to the female section. These gates are 16, and 24,25,26 Masjid Al Nabawi is very big. The female prayer section is located at the back of the mosque.
Masjid Al Nabawi has few landmarks with religious importance. Some of them are Raudah Mubarak ( grave of the prophet ﷺ and first two caliphs) and Riyad Al Jannah. These areas are Allocated for men during All five obligatory prayers. But it's is open for women during specific hours of the day. Men are cleared off the area, and a curtain is covered before females are allowed in. These hours as follows.
1st Period: From Sunrise to Dhuhr Prayer
2nd Period: After Isha Prayer until an hour before Fajr Prayer.
Earlier, the timing was from 7 am to 9 am, after dhuhr prayers around 1 pm and after Isha around 10 pm to 12 am. The masjid Authorities may revise these timings from time to time.
Please note that to Access these Areas, sisters must enter from gates 24, 25, or 26. These areas are not accessible from gate 16.
Please read this article on Masjid Al Nabawi. It is less crowded at night compared to the day.
Note : Gate 16 is known as bab al Umar ibn ul-Khattab and Gate 24, 25 & 26 are known as Bab Uthman Ibn Affan.
Now when you exit Saudi Arabia, make sure you have your mahram with you. You are not allowed to stay alone without mahram inside Saudi Arabia.
Though we don't recommend shopping during the Umrah, since we think the time you are in Makkah and Madinah are too precious. Products are cheaper in Madinah compared to Makkah. There are a few lovely shops for you to buy all the things you want. There is a street market on the northeast side of Masjid Al Nabawi. If you find the time, you may shop over there. The products over there are cheap, so don't expect high quality. But some of them sell high-quality products too. Always go with your mahram.
Umrah and hajj are the jihad for the old, young, weak, and women.
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