Bless Your Marriage with a Umrah Honeymoon
Umrah is a minor pilgrimage to Mecca in Islam. It is a voluntary act of worship that can be performed at any time of year. Unlike the Hajj pilgrimage, which is obligatory for Muslims who are physically and financially able to perform it, Umrah is not mandatory but is highly recommended.
Mecca is located in the western region of Saudi Arabia, nestled amidst the rugged mountains of the Hejaz mountain range. It is situated about 75 kilometers inland from the Red Sea coast, in the narrow sandy valley of Wadi Ibrahim.
Umrah is a spiritually rewarding experience that allows Muslims to connect with their faith and deepen their relationship with Allah. It is a time for reflection, prayer, and supplication. Umrah also has a number of social benefits, as it brings Muslims from all over the world together to worship and celebrate their shared faith.
An increasing number of Muslim couples are opting for Umrah as their honeymoon destination making it a flexible option for couples who want to start their married lives with a spiritually enriching experience.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has implemented a number of initiatives to make it easier for Muslims to travel to Mecca for Umrah. These initiatives include, introducing online visa applications which has significantly reduced the time and paperwork required to obtain a visa; extending visa validity from 30 to 90 days, giving couples more flexibility in their travel plans. These initiatives are part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan, which aims to make the country a more welcoming destination for Muslim travellers.
What are the Rituals of Umrah?
The rituals of Umrah are as follows:
Niyyah: The first and essential step is to make the intention to perform Umrah solely for the sake of Allah. This intention should be pure and sincere, setting the stage for a spiritually enriching experience.
Tawaf: The central ritual of Umrah is Tawaf, the circumambulation of the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure at the center of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca. The Kaaba is considered the holiest site in Islam, symbolising the oneness of Allah.
Sa'i: Following Tawaf, pilgrims perform Sa'i, the seven-times walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah, located near the Kaaba. This ritual commemorates the footsteps of Hajar, the wife of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), as she searched for water for her infant son Ismail (Ishmael).
Taqsir or Halq: After completing Tawaf and Sa'i, men shave their heads, while women shorten their hair. This act signifies a symbolic shedding of sins and renewal of faith.
Why Choose Umrah for Your Honeymoon?
There are many reasons why Muslim couples are choosing Umrah for their honeymoon. Here are a few of the most common reasons:
To start their married lives on a spiritual note: Umrah is a time for prayer, reflection, and supplication. It can be a powerful way for couples to connect with their faith and deepen their relationship with Allah.
To create lasting memories: Umrah is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that couples will cherish for the rest of their lives. The shared experience of performing Umrah together can create a strong bond between husband and wife.
To fulfil a religious obligation: For some couples, performing Umrah is a way to fulfil a religious obligation. Umrah is considered to be a Sunnah, which is a recommended act of worship in Islam.
To experience a different culture: Mecca is a vibrant and diverse city, and Umrah can be a great way for couples to experience a different culture. Couples can opt to travel around Saudi Arabia for a beautiful honeymoon full of adventure, culture and relaxation.
To escape the stress of wedding planning: As wedding planning can be a very stressful experience, Umrah can be a relaxing and rejuvenating way to start married life.
Planning Your Umrah Honeymoon
If you are a Muslim couple considering Umrah for your honeymoon, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Apply for a visa: Make sure to apply for a Umrah visa to visit Saudi Arabia. The process has been streamlined and can be done online on Nusuk.sa.
Book your accommodation early: There are a wide range of accommodations available in Mecca, from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts. Book your accommodations early to ensure you get the best price and availability.
Learn about the Umrah rituals: It is important to learn about the Umrah rituals before you go and what you need to wear for Umrah. This will help you to make the most of your experience.
Be patient and respectful: Umrah can be a challenging experience, but it is also a rewarding one. Be patient and respectful of others, and remember that you are there for a spiritual purpose.
What Couples Can See and Do in Saudi Arabia After Umrah?
After completing the spiritually enriching Umrah pilgrimage, couples can embark on an adventurous journey to explore the diverse landscapes and cultural treasures of Saudi Arabia. Here's a suggested itinerary for couples seeking a memorable and romantic post-Umrah honeymoon in Saudi Arabia:
Day 1: Medina - The Prophet's City
Immerse yourselves in the spiritual ambiance of Medina, the second holiest city in Islam. Visit the Prophet's Mosque, a serene and awe-inspiring landmark, and pay your respects to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Explore the Quba Mosque, the first mosque built by the Prophet, and the Uhud Mountain, a site of historical significance.
Day 2: Jeddah - The Gateway to Red Sea Adventures
Jeddah, a vibrant coastal city, offers a refreshing contrast to Medina's spiritual aura. Stroll along the Corniche, a picturesque waterfront promenade, and witness the captivating sunset over the Red Sea. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Al-Balad district, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and traditional houses, and indulge in delectable seafood at one of the many restaurants.
Day 3: Taif - A Mountain Retreat
Escape the bustling city life and venture into the enchanting Taif, nestled amidst the scenic Taif Mountains. Hike through the lush greenery, enjoy a refreshing dip in the waterfalls, and indulge in the region's famous Taif roses and honey.
Day 4: Al-Ula - A Journey Through Time
Embark on a captivating journey into Saudi Arabia's ancient past. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mada'in Saleh, an awe-inspiring necropolis with tombs carved into sandstone cliffs. Visit the Hegra Museum, showcasing the rich archaeological heritage of the Nabataean civilization, and marvel at the breathtaking landscapes of the Ashar Valley. Read: The Best Hotels in Al Ula for Your Honeymoon.
Day 5: Riyadh - A Cultural Mosaic
Immerse yourselves in the modern and cultural hub of Riyadh. Visit the Masmak Fortress, a historical landmark that offers panoramic city views, and explore the National Museum, showcasing the kingdom's rich heritage. Stroll through the Riyadh Boulevard, a vibrant urban oasis, and indulge in a delightful shopping spree.
Day 6: The Empty Quarter - A Desert Adventure
Venture into the vast expanse of the Empty Quarter, the world's largest sand desert. Experience the thrill of a desert safari, witness the mesmerizing beauty of the sand dunes, and gaze at the starlit sky under the vast Arabian desert.