What is the Difference between Hajj and Umrah?
Hajj is performed within the period of time which is called “Hajj months”. According to Hijri calendar, Hajj months are Shawwal, Dhu’l-qada and the first ten days of Dhu’l-hijjah. Hajj can be performed either with or without umrah within these months. Performing Hajj with or without umrah is called “ways of performing hajj.”
The statement of “The time of Hajj is the months Shawwal, Dhu’l-qada and Dhu’l-hijjah, which are called the months of Hajj” is the explanation of the Quranic verse “For Hajj are the months well known” (al-Baqarah, 2:197).
The duty of Hajj starts with entering the state of Ihram. The beginning of it is the month of Shawwal. Those months are called the months of Hajj because a person who enters the state of Ihram in Shawwal can complete the requirements of Hajj until the evening of the tenth (or thirteenth) day of the month Dhu’l-hijjah.
That is to say; the reason why these months are called the months of Hajj is that one is supposed to enter the state of Ihram, which is the first condition of Hajj, only in these months. It is makrooh (abominable) to enter the state of Ihram before these months according to the sects of Hanafi and Hanbali. The following hadith which Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abbas was influential on scholars’ view on this matter: “It is sunnah not to enter the state of Ihram outside the months of Hajj.” (see Zukhayli, al-Fiqh al-Islami, 3/64-65).
According to the sect of Shafii, entering the state of Ihram outside the months of Hajj is accepted for umrah, not for Hajj; because, the Quranic verse “For Hajj, are the months well-known” (al-Baqarah, 2:197) states that one cannot enter the state of Ihram in months other than the months of Hajj. (see ibid., Mughni muhtaj, 1/471, Muhadhdhab, 1/200).
Umrah is the worship which is performed independent of time by doing tawaf around the Kaa’ba after entering the state of Ihram in accordance with its rules and by fulfilling some other religious duties.