Distinguishing Umrah & Hajj: A Comparison

If you are a Muslim, you are likely aware of the difference between Hajj and Umrah. However, for non-Muslims or people belonging to other religions, it can be difficult to differentiate between Hajj and Umrah since both are pilgrimages with the same destination and have nearly the same rituals observed by Muslims during Hajj and Umrah. This article aims to clarify the differences between Hajj and Umrah for all readers.


Hajj is a pilgrimage that is obligatory for all Muslims, and it must be performed provided a Muslim has the means and is physically and mentally fit to undertake the journey. Before Muhammad undertook Hajj in 631 AD, it was a common pilgrimage for all, and even non-Muslims could undertake the journey to Mecca. There were even idols belonging to pagans in holy Mecca. Muhammad took upon himself to destroy all idols to cleanse Kaaba, the house of God, and made it compulsory for all Muslims to visit God’s house once in their lifetime. It was after this incident that Hajj became one of the 5 pillars of Islam.

When a Muslim arrives in Mecca on Hajj, they have to wear the pure garment called Ihram and perform some rituals that are believed to be symbolic of the life of Abraham and his wife Hagar. These rituals are believed to function for the solidarity or unity of Muslims worldwide.


Umrah is a pilgrimage similar to Hajj except that it is only recommendatory in nature and not obligatory for all Muslims. In addition, the rituals involving Umrah at Mecca are fewer in number than in Hajj. Umrah is considered of lesser importance and is thus called a small pilgrimage.

Key Takeaways

  • Umrah is not compulsory, while Hajj is obligatory in nature, provided a Muslim has financial and physical means to undertake the journey to Kaaba, the house of God.
  • Hajj is undertaken during a specific period of the year, while Umrah can be undertaken at any time of the year.
  • Hajj is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, while Umrah is not a pillar of Islam.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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