The Best Umrah Step-by-Step Guide for First-Time Goers in 2024


Are you going for Umrah, and do you need an Umrah step-by-step guide? You are in the right place. Umrah, or ‘minor pilgrimage,’ is a sacred Islamic observance that millions of Muslims perform in Makkah. This worship carries a lot of benefits, as translated from these noble Hadiths:

  • “There are 3 guests of Allah SWT; one who fights for the sake of Allah, one who performs Hajj, and the one who performs Umrah.” (Hadith No. 2626, Sunan An-Nasa’i)
  • “Perform Hajj and Umrah consecutively, as they remove poverty and sins as hollers remove impurity from iron.” (Al-Nasai)

If you are going for the first time for Umrah, you must understand the rituals or duties. This guide aims to provide a step-by-step walkthrough of the Umrah process. It includes A to Z information, including things like how to establish haram and how to perform Umrah. Let’s have a look at it.

Step 1: Preparation for Umrah

Readying oneself for the spiritual voyage of Umrah involves both outward and inward preparation. Here are some ways one can make oneself ready:

a. Bodily Cleanliness

Before departing for Umrah, attending to bodily hygiene is essential out of reverence for the holy rites and sanctified sites. This includes:

  • Performing a complete ablution ritual (ghusl) before donning the Ihram garments.
  • Trimming nails and removing unwanted hair to uphold cleanliness.
  • Cleaning one’s teeth thoroughly, ideally using a Miswak twig as recommended.

b. Declaring Sacred Intent (Niyyah)

Having the proper intention is the bedrock of any Islamic observance, Umrah included. You don’t have to vocalize; just imagining in your heart is enough.

c. Pragmatic Arrangements

Ensure travel documentation like passports and visas are properly obtained. You might have to take necessary health precautions, including any vaccines needed for Saudi Arabia.

Step 2: Establish Ihram Garments

Next, you have to wear Ihram clothes. There are 2 pieces for men and 3 pieces for women. The following is a described method for both parties to wear Ihram garments:

For Men

  • They have to perform a full ablution ritual with the intention of spiritual purification before wearing the Ihram garments.
  • The first piece covers the lower parts, from the navel to the ankles. It is wrapped around the waist and is called Izar.
  • The upper garment (Rida) drapes over the shoulders. It covers the torso and leaves the right shoulder bare during the initial circling of the Kaaba (It needs to be covered while offering prayers).
  • Footwear such as sandals should allow the tops of the feet and ankles to remain exposed.

For Women

  • Women can wear any modest clothing that meets Islamic requirements of covering, known as the Hijab.
  • The face and hands should be uncovered in the Ihram state, and clothing cannot be form-fitting or see-through.

Once the Ihram is donned properly, the pilgrim recites the Talbiyah, a supplication signifying one has answered Allah’s call for the sacred pilgrimage:

لَبَّيْكَ ٱللَّٰهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ ٱلْحَمْدَ وَٱلنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَٱلْمُلْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ”

Important note: If you are going to Makkah via Jeddah airport, you are supposed to establish Ihram at the previous city’s airport or before reaching Miqat.

Likewise, if you are going to Makkah from Madinah, you will be establishing your Ihram at Madinah City’s airport. After that, you have to offer 2 rakahs of Salah al-Ihram.

Step 3: Start reciting Talbiyah

You can start reciting Talbiyah right after wearing the Ihram. Talbiyah is a powerful declaration that the pilgrim has responded wholeheartedly to the call of Allah. It is prepared to be carried out in a loud voice by both men and women. The following are the words of Talbiyah:

“Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk, Labbayk La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Innal Hamda Wan-Ni’mata Laka wal Mulk, La Shareeka Lak.”

“I am present and responding to Your call, O Allah. I am present, You have no partner, I am present. Verily all praise, blessings, and dominion belong to You alone.”

Mindful Contemplation: You are now in the state of Ihram and can’t do things that have particularly been made haram for this phase. These include, such as applying fragrance, sexual relations, stitching nails, or even killing lice.

Step 4: Entering Masjid al-Haram

Once you are in the Masjid al-Haram, you will see the Kaba in front of you in its glory. Many Muslims believe that seeing Kaaba for the first time and making any dua can be accepted. However, the basis for this claim is not very strong. You may get a reward, but there is no specific dua that can be made at the time.

Also, if you have entered the Holy Mosque with the intention of performing Umrah, you can’t offer Tahiyyat al-Masjid (2 rakahs Nafl prayer before sitting down when you enter the mosque).

Step 5: The Tawaf – Circumambulation of Kaaba

The next and most important step is to perform Tawaf. It is the central pillar of Umrah. The literal meaning of Tawaf is ‘to walk around.’ It involves walking around the Kaaba 7 times counter-clockwise, beginning and ending at the Black Stone.

Here are the steps to properly perform this profound act of worship:

  • Preparations: Ensure you have entered the sanctified state of Ihram with pure intention (Niyah) to undertake Umrah. Also, ensure that you have performed the ablutions before commencement.
  • The Starting Point: The start will be at the Black Stone (Hajar al-Aswad). It is present on the wall that is facing the sides of Pakistan and India. Remember that you will stop reciting Talbiyah once you have reached Black Stone. Remove the cloth from your right shoulder. This activity is called Idtiba.
  • If possible, reverently kiss (Istilam) or touch it. If not, raise your hand towards it while proclaiming “Bismillah Allahu Akbar” (In the Name of God, God is Greatest).
  • Commencing the Circuits: Start the 7 circuits moving counter-clockwise, keeping the Kaaba to your left at all times. For the first 3 rounds, men are encouraged to perform Raml (Masnad Imam Shafi, Hadees No. 573). Here, you have to walk briskly with short and vigorous steps.
  • Passing Rukn al-Yamani: As you go by the Yemeni corner, which is the diagonally opposite to the Iraqi corner, touch it. However, if you are unable to reach it, continue without gesture. You will also make a dua between the Rukn al-Yamani and Hajar al-Aswad corners. Dua for Rukn al-Yamani is:
    “Rabbana atina fid dunya hasanatan wa fil Aakhirati hasanatan waqina ‘azab an-nar.”
  • Completing Each Round: Each circuit culminates upon returning to the Black Stone. Perform Istilam again before moving on. After the seventh round, you have to perform the final Istilam.
  • Voluntary Prayers: Then proceed to offer 2 voluntary rakahs of prayer behind the Maqam Ibrahim (Station of Abraham). In the first rakat, recite Surah Al-Kafirun and Al-Ikhlas in the second. Reciting the Ibrahim Ayah is also recommended at this stage (without prayer):

وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا ٱلْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةًۭ لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًۭا وَٱتَّخِذُوا۟ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَٰهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّۭى ۖ وَعَهِدْنَآ إِلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِـۧمَ وَإِسْمَـٰعِيلَ أَن طَهِّرَا بَيْتِىَ لِلطَّآئِفِينَ وَٱلْعَـٰكِفِينَ وَٱلرُّكَّعِ ٱلسُّجُودِ (2:125)

  • Drinking the Blessed Waters: Drink from the sacred Zamzam water. For your convenience, you can find it right opposite the Black Stone.
  • The Farewell Istilam: It is recommended that farewell be bid to the Kaaba by performing one last Istilam of the Black Stone. Your total number of Istilams in one Umrah will be nine.

Important note: There are no specific dua for the circles of Umrah. However, you can recite 7 different dua’as in 7 different circles. In this way, you would also be able to remember the number of circles.

Another important aspect is that if you happen to break the ablution between Umrah circuits. You can start from where you left off after performing it again. The start would be the Black Stone, as usual.

Step 6: The Sa’i – Walking between Safa and Marwah

Once you have completed the Umrah circles, you must perform the Sacred Sa’i between Safa and Marwah. It involves reverently walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah.

  • Commencing at Safa: Begin the sacred Sa’i at the hill of Safa, reciting: “Truly, Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah…” (Quran 2:158)
  • The Traverse to Marwah: Set forth walking the 450-meter path towards Marwah. The Sai’ consists of walking 7 times, with each side considered a complete circle. A little near the Safa, you will find a green mark. Men are required to walk briskly, like jogging from this point.
  • Reaching Marwah: Here, you will repeat the process that you did for Safa. Read the same ayahs again.

Step 7: Halq or Taqsir – Haircutting

The final stage of Umrah is to perform Halq or Taqsir. It means shaving or cutting the hair of the head.


For men, Halq refers to completely shaving the head and is regarded as the preferred mode.


Taqsir involves trimming off at least an inch of hair from the head and is permissible for both men and women. For women, the typical practice is cutting one or two fingertip’s length from the ends of a lock.

After Halq or Taqsir, your one Umrah has been completed by the mercy of Allah. You can now open your Ihram and wear normal clothes.

Important note: For the 2nd Umrah, you have to go to Meeqat and establish Ihram again. Many Muslims go to Masjid-e-Ayesha to wear Ihram clothes. However, this is the only exception associated with Hazrat Ayesha (R.A), and no other Sahabi had ever done that.


In summary, the Umrah step-by-step guide is necessary for Muslims who are going for Umrah for the first time. For this pilgrimage, you are required to establish your Ihram before arriving at Meeqat. Do Niyyah and stay in the condition of purity.

Once you reach the Holy Mosque, you can start your Umrah from the Black Stone in an anti-clockwise direction. After 7 circles around Kaaba, you will do Sa’i and shave/trim your head hair. Now you can wear your normal clothes and do other activities.

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