A crucial step before performing a ritual prayer for the followers of Islam is Niyaah, also known as Niyat. Niyyah for Ihram is one’s intention to perform an act of worship in front of the Almighty Allah. It is an important ritual to be performed before any Ibadat (prayer) before Umrah. The reason behind emphasizing the importance of Niyyah is that it highlights the holy act of Umrah from other acts of daily worship. Also, it defines which act of praying is binding and which is unessential. Umar B. Al Khattab states that the reward of good deeds or prayers is based on the Niyat or the performer’s intention. The detailed reasons why Niyyah prayer (Niyaah dua) during Umrah is important is discussed below.
Niyyah in Umrah
There are four steps involved in the holy pilgrimage of Umrah that are Ihram, Tawaf, Saee, and Qasr. Ihram is a sacred state in which a Muslim has to enter to perform the pilgrimage of Umrah. As Ihram cleanses the individual before starting on the pilgrimage, Niyyah becomes an integral part of this first step cleansing.
Performing Niyyah for Ihram
Many Islamic scholars believe that Niyaah should come from and lie in the heart; it is not required to be verbal. While performing Niyyah for Ihram, the intention should not be verbal; it should be from within the pilgrim’s heart. If the verbal intention is different from what lies in the pilgrim’s heart, the purpose of the pilgrimage is defeated as then the latter supersedes the former. It is also evident from the fact that the Prophet and his followers never said Niyyah aloud before any prayer.
As per Islamic beliefs, there are certain rituals that are to be performed before entering the state of purity. Before communicating the intention to enter the state of Ihram, a pilgrim should cleanse themselves. Once the intention for the holy pilgrimage has been established, one should abstain from wearing prohibited clothes that are not sewn or felted to the body.
How to make Niyyah for Umrah?
Niyyah is to be done at the Miqat, the boundary from where the pilgrimage of Umrah starts. Though it is recommended to make Niyyah verbally in Arabic or native language, it should also be made from the heart.
It is also advocated to specify the purpose of Ihram while making the intention, whether the objective is to perform Hajj or Umrah. If it is for Hajj, it is required to indicate the Hajj types (Hajj-ul-Ifrad, Hajj-ul-Qiran, Hajj-ul-Tamattu) intended to be carried out.
For making the intention of Ihram, two Rakahs required to be recited by the pilgrim are Surat al-Kafirun for the first Rakat after Fatihah and Surah al-Ikhlas for the second Rakat. After doing this, the pilgrim is required to stand up to face the Qiblah and say,
“O Allah, here I am to perform Umrah. O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah. O Allah, I intend to perform Umrah, so accept it from me and make it easy for me.”
Once the Niyyah is made, it is required to recite Talbiyah in order to validate the intention for Umrah before entering the state of Ihram. Talbiyah’s importance is also present in the hadith narrated by Ibn Umar, as the Prophet also used to recite it before any pilgrimage.
The male Umrah pilgrims should recite Talbiyah aloud, while women should recite the same in a low voice.
Talbiyah For Umrah
“O Allah, I obey your order. I obey you one time after the other. O god, I obey your order. You are the one who does not have any partner. I obey you one time after the other. You are the one who deserves to be praised and thanked. Every endowment is from you. You are the one attributed with dominion. There is no partner with you.”
One can continue to recite Talbiyah until they reach one of the doors of Masjid al-Haram. After reciting the Talbiyah, he or she should pray to Allah, the God Almighty, to welcome his good deeds and protect from the hellfire. One should also pray for their friends and loved ones.
Niyyah is essential for performing Umrah and Hajj as it dates to the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Therefore, it should be maintained by every Muslim intending to perform Umrah and Hajj.
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