By ADIL SALAHI
When people embark on the journey of pilgrimage, they often ask which method is better. Since both the Umrah and the pilgrimage are duties, people should do both duties on the same journey.
There are three methods to complete this: The two duties are joined together, or one of the two duties is done before the other.
There is often debate among pilgrims about which of the three methods is preferable.
The following Hadith gives us a clear answer.
Jabir ibn Abdullah reports that he offered the pilgrimage with the Prophet (peace be upon him), mentioning that the Prophet took with him the camels he intended to sacrifice and that the Prophet’s companions declared their intention to offer the pilgrimage on its own. The Prophet said to them: “Release yourselves from the state of consecration, i.e. ihram, after you complete your tawaf at the Kaaba and your sa’ie between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. You then cut your hair. After that, you stay in Makkah, released from ihram, until the Day of Tarwiyah (8 Dul Hijjah) when you will declare your intention to do the pilgrimage as you go back into consecration. You will thus make your worship as you arrive here a tamattu’.” They asked him: “How can we make it a tamattu’ when we have already named it a pilgrimage?” He said: “Do as I have told you. Had it not been for the fact that I brought my sacrifice with me, I would have done that myself. In my case, however, I cannot release myself from ihram until my sacrifice has been done.” They did as they were told.
The Hadith tells us that the Prophet’s companions chose the ifraad method, which means one starts with the pilgrimage.
After it has finished, one may do the Umrah.
The Prophet, however, offered his pilgrimage in the qiran method, which means doing both duties together at the same time.
When they arrived in Makkah, the Prophet ordered his companions to change and opt for the third method, which is the tamattu’.
This involves doing the Umrah first, and when it is completed one releases himself from ihram, wears his normal clothes and is allowed to do everything that he was not allowed during consecration.
This is the easiest and most comfortable of the three methods, as the restrictions of ihram apply only in two short periods.
The ifraad and the qiran methods are identical in the way they are performed, but the qiran method counts for both duties of the pilgrimage and the Umrah, while the ifraad method counts for the pilgrimage only.
The only difference is that in the qiran method the pilgrim has the additional duty of sacrifice, which is not obligatory in the ifraad method.
Which method is preferable? There is no doubt that the tamattu’ method is the one to be chosen by all pilgrims, except those who normally live in Makkah and the Haram area. The Prophet ordered his companions to change their intention and opt for it. He himself could not do so because he brought his sacrificial animals with him. This means that the qiran method is preferable only for those who bring their sacrifice with them from outside the Haram area. Today, no one does this because of the availability of sheep and cows in Makkah and Mina at the time of the pilgrimage. Moreover, in recent years the voucher system has taken over much of the burden associated with the sacrifice and ensured that the sacrificial meat is put to good use.
In short, apart from pilgrims living in Makkah and the Haram area, all pilgrims are advised to choose the tamattu’ method. This involves doing the Umrah on arrival in Makkah, release from ihram when the Umrah is completed and restarting ihram on 8 Dul Hijjah when the duties of the pilgrimage start. Like the qiran method, the tamattu’ method requires a sacrifice of one sheep per pilgrim as a duty. Seven pilgrims may share in sacrificing a cow or a camel.