Umrah is non-obligatory worship and journey for all Islamic followers, whether you are a man or a woman. According to Islam, both genders are equal in earning rewards for doing good deeds and they must keep in mind that they are also equal in committing any type of sin (greater or shorter- Kabirah or Sughirah).
No doubt Umrah is not equal the Hajj because of importance, but we shouldn’t leave Umrah on the base of Sunnah. Because everyone will get the reward on Judgment Day what he/she has done in this world that has been already mentioned in the Holy Quran?
In Islam, some of the methods of worship of women are slightly different than men but I would like to remind you here that both sexes are equal in earning sin and reward.
Umrah journey starts from the departing area and ends at Holy Land-Masjid al-Haram, Makkah. If you are living in adjoining borders of countries of Saudi Arabia then you can also easily perform Umrah by any vehicle. But if the distance between your country and Saudia is thousands of miles then reaching the Kingdom on the vehicle is not valid. Here you need a flight because seas and other countries will work as a barrier for you.
Are you a woman and wants to perform Umrah alone or in a group or family.
Then there are some precautions and rules to follow.
- Umrah Packages
- Tourist e Visa
- Halq and Taqsir
Umrah Package means "essential needs get" that is provided by Travel Agencies. Umrah performing efforts start already when ones take the first step to search an appropriate package for doing Umrah. Package by flight is costly than the package by road. A woman needs a Mahram who is a male relative.
Every Male relative is not called a Mahram for women. In Islamic terminology, that male is known as Mahram who has a blood or breastfeeding relation to a woman and another relation counts in Mahram list who is called a husband of a lady after married.
A woman cannot perform 'Umrah until the time for' iddah has expired. Iddah time starts when she got a divorce or her husband dead and duration of Iddah is different for the divorced and widow lady. Three months is Iddat for the divorced lady and four months and ten days is Iddat for a widow lady.
Nobody free from getting the vaccination certificate against Meningococcal Meningitis which is checked at the entry of Saudi Arabia, therefore, a woman also needs it.
Maybe some of us don't know what includes in an Umrah Package or not. The answer is Umrah Visa, Flight tickets, Hotels booking, Private Transports, and Umrah Guide.
Visa is a permit to enter any country and some countries don't demand this type of permit. But Saudi Arabia is one of the countries who are following strict law in the visa. Therefore if you are unqualified for visa then you never enter the Kingdom. Last year, getting an Umrah visa was a time taker process for the applicant. But now is easy, maybe the existing process is a magical way for all of them who had performed their Umrah in past years.
You don't need any travel agent to apply for your Umrah visa and submitting it in any Saudi Embassy. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has introduced a new Umrah e Visa system, due to this system you can get your visa within 24 hours as committed on official Saudi Website. Some people say they got their visa within in 2 days but it is a very short time than old days.
Umrah visa is not issued for a lady if she under the 45, therefore, she will need a male relative (Mahram) who has got his puberty age. But if your age is 45 years old or above then you don't need any Male relative and you can travel alone for Umrah.
There are many types of Umrah Package, as 3 stars, 4 stars, or 5 stars Umrah Packages. Some agencies offer city or season wise packages to own customers but it is all on you what do you want or not.
If you are a young woman, having indirect flights and hotels (away from both mosques) may not be a big problem for you. But if you are a woman 45 or older, you should ask for nearby hotels (close to both mosques) in the package you get.
Tourist e Visa:
It happened the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom opened the gates for tourists on tourist e visa. This opportunity is only for 49 countries' inhabitants and the United Kingdom is also included in the list of 49.
And tourist e visa holders have a right of multiple entries in Kingdom but one time stay is only for 90 days (3 months) and after 90 days tourists must leave the state for next 90 days. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah doesn't stop a tourist to perform Umrah if he/she is a Muslim.
Therefore a tourist lady is free from the prohibition of age limit and a mahram condition during Umrah. Maybe Tourist e visa is a good option to visit Saudi Arabia along with performing Umrah.
For kind your information, Umrah visa limit is 30 days but Tourism visa limit is one year. A single woman can get her Umrah package with a tourist visa which was not possible before.
Note: Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No woman should travel except with a mahram, and no man should enter upon her unless a mahram of hers is present.” A man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go out with such and such an army and my wife wants to go for Hajj.” He said: “Go out (for Hajj) with her.”
al-Bukhaari (1729) and Muslim (2391)
Source of the above hadith is: https://islamqa.info/en/answers/45917/if-it-is-permissible-for-a-woman-to-live-alone-why-cant-she-travel-without-a-mahram
Ihram is called a Hajj and Umrah attire for Muslims. Its shape is different for Women but before and after wearing prohibitions are same for both genders.
It is a wrong thought, that Ihram of woman and man is the same. The real purpose of Ihram is covering the main body organs. According to other religions of the world, there is no difference between men and women in dress, but there are clear rules in Islam. Males' Ihram consists of two unsewn sheets in white colour but females' Ihram is not like a male's Ihram.
Ladies are free from wearing a special dress because they can use their daily routine lives' dresses for Ihram during the performance of Umrah and Hajj. If you belong to western and European countries, where wearing shirts and pants is considered a normal dress. But here you don't wear such type of dress, therefore, assuming salwar and kameez are preferable to dress for you.
In Islam, a woman is considered an ornament of the home and not an ornament of the bazaar. During the performance of Umrah, a woman is not in her home rather she travels, therefore, she will need to cover her daily routine clothe with an Abaya or Veil there.
After assuming Ihram, she doesn't need to cover her face and hands with any mask or niqab and gloves. Because the Prophet Muhammad's (Peace Be Upon Him) wife didn't cover her face and hands at the time of performing Umrah.
According to a command of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH):
A muhrimah (a woman in ihram) should not cover her face nor should she wear gloves, but if she is afraid of being seen by non-mahram men, it is permissible for her to cover her face.
A Muslim mother and Prophet's wife Hazrat Ayesha (RA) said:
“The riders would pass by us while we were with Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and in the state of Ihraam. When one of them would ride next to us, we would take our Jilbaab and cover our face. When the rider would pass, we would uncover once again.”
The source of the above hadith is: https://www.mafazatours.com/fiqh-of-hajj-for-women/
Scholars describe this hadith in this way that a woman can cover her face if she requires it and that is only allowable in that case. Niqab clothes should not touch a woman's face while covering the face while this spiritual duty.
Reciting Talbiya after assuming Ihram loudly is not allowed for women, preferably they should recite it silently. After dressing Ihram, a woman can't indulge any wrong deeds.
Tawaf is the name of revolving around the Kaaba 7 times. Women don't need to perform Ramal (Perform the first three cycles of Tawaf quickly and the remaining four at normal speed) during Tawaf. This is only for men and ladies should perform this ritual of Umrah apart themselves from men.
"Apart themselves from men" means ladies should not try to close themselves near the wall of the Kaaba, because men and women can collide physically during this time which is not allowed by Islam. Therefore ladies should perform Tawaf in the outer circles around the Kabba and if the ground floor is full with then they should use the upper floors to complete this ritual which is better for them.
Women can offer Maqam e Ibrahim's nafls in any place of al-haram mosque if the place of Ibrahim is crowded.
Sai is the third ritual of Umrah but even then, no woman needs to complete it by walking fast. It is true Hazrat Hajrah (wife of Ibrahim Prophet and mother of Ismail Prophet) ran desperately between Safa and Marah hills at the time of searching the water source when Ismail became very thirsty. It was an examination of a Prophet's mother which she passed it successfully.
And at that time there was no man around her in search of water and Allah liked it so much that He included it in the form of performing sai in Hajj and Umrah.
But nowadays, at the time of Sai, women are surrounded by men and therefore they should have to complete it through the commandments prescribed by Islam and this ritual is obligatory for both sexes otherwise Umrah and Hajj are incomplete.
Islam gives the woman a special place in society therefore the last step of Umrah is also different like the first step of Umrah is different. To leave the prohibition of Ihram, doing the last step is necessary. This is called Taqsir, which means cutting the hair of the head to an inch length. Women should cut your hairs at this place where non-Mahram can't see them and therefore accommodation places (hotels) in Makkah may be better for them.
Note: A woman can't perform Umrah during the menstruation if this period starts after entering Ihram and before performing Tawaf, then she has to wait for the end of menstruation. When it is over, she should take a Gusal (bath) and perform Umrah rituals. If the menses period starts after performing Tawaf then she can perform Sai after taking bath and wudu.