Saturday, January 20, 2024
HomeLifestyleHow To Make the Most of Your Umrah with a Young Team

How To Make the Most of Your Umrah with a Young Team

Umrah is a journey of sacrifice, self-discovery, and above all a journey of servitude and obedience to God Almighty. Recently, during the December holidays I had the honour of taking my 12 year old son Hamza, 14yr old nephew Eesa, and two nieces, Sahniya (24yr) and Iman (14yr), for umrah. Having had the blessing of performing Hajj once and umrah four times now, I share some thoughts on how to maximise your time and reap the most reward, especially if you’re considering taking a young team for umrah.

In this 3 part series of articles, I discuss the:

  • Part 1 – Importance of Preparation
  • Part 2 – Highlights of Our Journey
  • Part 3 – Practical Tips

My Motivation

My late father (may Allah have mercy upon him) took me on my first umrah journey when I was only 11 or 12 years old. At that pivotal age, the experience instilled the importance of having a meaningful relationship with Allah, connected me to our history and gave me a strong sense of direction to serve and love Allah. As a parent and uncle, I wanted to continue that legacy of my late father and do the same for my children, my nephews and nieces so that it not only benefits them but also serves as a means of sadaqah Jaariyah (continuous charity) for my late father. I plan to take more of my children, nephews and nieces in the future inshaAllah.

If you Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

The journey of umrah doesn’t start on the day you leave your home for the airport but rather it is even before purchasing your tickets. Preparing the mind, heart and body is essential. To have a meaningful umrah and make the most of your time there, preparation is crucial. A good tip is to start early, schedule pre-umrah meetings to discuss the what, why, when and where will set you up for success and put you in the right mindset.

Researching the basics and following up with local ulema (scholars) who you deem to be knowledgeable and trustworthy on questions you may have is a wise approach and a great way to learn from their rich experience.

What Was Unique about the Preparation

Young people have a wonderful imagination, ample time and energy but can also lose focus and get distracted easily. More work may be needed up front and assigning tasks to each member of the team lightens the load, will keep them engaged and give each person a sense of responsibility and work as a team. Regular follow ups and communication with parents may be needed to ensure tasks get done ahead of time. A check-in every week a month prior to departure will ensure the team are focused and set. It can be time consuming but well worth it. I set up an Umrah WhatsApp group with the parents of the younger members to give updates on flights, quotes, payments, itinerary, weather forecast, vaccination requirements, share tips on packing and set homework to support their preparation, e.g., setting the right goals (more on this later.)

Knowledge will Empower You

Knowing the key aspects of umrah will increase your aspirations, strengthen your determination [1], help you maintain focus and prioritise what’s important, give you the incentive to set the right goals, prevent you from overcomplicating and making the journey unnecessary difficult, and maximise your return on investment.

Researching the what, why, who, and when of umrah will help you along your journey. Learning about the incredible story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and important key events in his life will connect you to his legacy and eagerness to walk in the footsteps of one of the greatest men to ever live [2].

Familiarise yourself with the key elements for and accepted umrah:

  • Sincerity towards pleasing Allah alone and
  • Following the sunnah (a particular way) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [3].

The rewards of performing good deeds are a great incentive for performing them with earnest, and the benefits of performing umrah are numerous [4], e.g., the reward of Hajj Mabrur (accepted Hajj) is nothing except Paradise [5].

Read and Reflect on the Message

You can’t beat the advice given by Allah, the All Knowing, Most Wise so giving special attention to the passages that relate to Hajj and umrah in the Quran [6] will clarify the purpose of this journey, get you in the right mindset, improve your character and help you grow in your submission to Allah post umrah. Some key points mentioned in these passages are as follows:

  • Focus on being mindful of Allah “..Take necessary provisions for the journey – surely the best provision is righteousness. And be mindful of Me, O people of reason!”(Quran 2:197)
  • Pray for the best of both worlds. Allah mentions a very comprehensive dua that we recite during the tawaf “Our Lord! Grant us the good of this world and the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.” (Quran 2:201)
  • Have total devotion to Allah alone, with all your heart and soul. This is a core message we should be reminding ourselves before, during and after the journey “Be upright in devotion to Allah, associating none with Him in worship…” (Quran 22:31)
  • Sacrificing our time, money, effort, patiently enduring any challenges during the journey, being humble, and the frequent remembrance of Allah and hoping for His reward are mentioned here “…And give good news ˹O Prophet˺ to the humble: those whose hearts tremble at the remembrance of Allah, who patiently endure whatever may befall them, and who establish prayer and donate from what We have provided for them.” (Quran 22:34-35)

Aim High and Set the Right Goals

Focus is extremely important in today’s world. With the shopping malls and ample restaurants with diverse cuisines, there are distractions even in the blessed places. Take a minimalistic approach with shopping and food. Set clear goals in line with the overall purpose of umrah and this will empower you to bring what is most important to the surface of your travel itinerary. Clear goals will make it easy to weed out those things that stand in the way of achieving what matters most and push you to move purposefully in the right direction.

  • Umrah Targets – Set targets and diversify your acts of worship. This will keep you engaged and mindful during the umrah e.g., in Makkah you could split your time between your umrah targets for voluntary tawaf, Quran recitation, zikr, salah (sunnah and nawafil) including Tahajjud, and reading the biography of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
  • Personal Dua List – Maintain focus on your conversations with Allah despite the hustle and bustle and responsibilities to your team and/or family. Take time out to spend time with your Lord in seclusion. Have your dua list to hand so you avail yourself of the many opportunities for an accepted dua, e.g., between the adhan and iqamah, when drinking zam zam, when rain falls (and yes it does rain in Makkah and Madinah), when making tawaf, etc.
  • Learn the Funeral (Janazah) Prayer – Since so many people travel from all corners of the world to perform umrah, Allah chooses the blessed from among us to die in these blessed places, so you will find there is a funeral prayer after almost every prayer. As explained by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, the one who prays the funeral prayer for the deceased will have one “Qeeraat” of reward, which is equivalent to the size of Mount Uhud! [7] Learning the funeral (janazah) prayer in advance of your journey will give you ample opportunity to attain reward every day.
  • Read the Biography (Seerah) of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him – Reading and living the seerah in the blessed cities is a powerful, immersive experience, especially in Madinah. It’s a great way of connecting more with the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who lived an incredible life, filled with challenges and adventures, battles, miracles and so much more! Reminding ourselves of what life was like in those days, the many challenges the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and his companions had to face in establishing our religion (deen), reading about the migration, and their sacrifices put into perspective the challenges we face today and made the whole umrah experience so meaningful and relevant. The Prophet’s life is filled with many lessons that we can apply to our own lives today and I was able to visualize some aspects of his life in Madinah. I highly recommend ‘The Simple Seerah’ series by Ustadh Asim Khan, which has an easy-to-read, novel-like style that is engaging for most youngsters and even adults [8]. Definitely one to include in your packing list.

‘The Simple Seerah’ by Ustadh Asim Khan

  • Research Places to Visit in Makkah and Madinah – This will enrich your visitation and incentivise you to seek out opportunities for reward. A great resource for this is the website [9]. Asking the team to research places to visit in Makkah and Madinah as pre-umrah homework and sharing their findings will help you plan and prioritise places to visit [10, 11].

Mount Nur – Location of Cave Hira and Site of the First Revelation

I recall one Saturday afternoon, my team and I booked a taxi from our hotel to masjid Quba, which is where the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, accompanied by Abu Bakr (may Allah be please with him), first stayed in Madinah after emigrating from Makkah. We prayed two rakats (units) of prayer and returned back in an Uber taxi all within the hour! The reward for this is immense [12] and to do it on a Saturday just happened to coincide with a narration by Abdullah bin Dinar: Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be please with him) said, “The Prophet used to go to the Mosque of Quba every Saturday (sometimes) walking and (sometimes) riding.”

Hanging Out Near Masjid Quba

Courtyard of the Prophet’s Mosque

References:

[1] Muslim Research & Development Foundation, Sabeel Seminar – Visioning, Proactivity and Productivity (Attended 21-Jan-2023.)

[2] https://onepathnetwork.com/the-incredible-story-of-hajj-and-prophet-ibrahim/

[3] Description of ‘Umrah – Islam Question & Answer (islamqa.info)

[4] For example, the reward of circumambulating the Sacred House (tawaf) was explained by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when he said, “Whoever circles the Ka’bah seven times and prays two cycles will be rewarded as if he has freed a slave. A man does not raise his foot and bring it back down but that ten good deeds will be written for him, ten bad deeds will be erased, and he will be raised by ten degrees.” Musnad Aḥmad

[5] Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “(The performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing except Paradise.” Sahih al-Bukhari

[6] Online Quran Translation by Mustafa Khattab | Islamic Reference | Alim

[7] Sahih al-Bukhari

[8] https://simpleseerah.com/

[9] www.islamiclandmarks.com

[10] 24 Historical Ziyarat places in Makkah – Life in Saudi Arabia

[11] 29 HistorialZiyarat places to visit in Madina – Life in Saudi Arabia

[12] The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said: “He who purifies himself at his home and comes to Masjid Quba and offers two rakats therein, will be rewarded the reward of an Umrah (lesser pilgrimage).” Sunan ibn Majah

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments