Offering `Umrah Every Year

Question and answer details
As-salamu `alaykum.I tend to perform `Umrah every year once or more, until it has become something I cannot give up. One of my friends told me that repeating `Umrah is reprehensible. So I would like to know if repeating `Umrah is permissible or not?
Muhammad Ahmad Al-Musayyar

Wa`alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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Dear Brother, thank you for your question; we commend you on seeking professional assistance regarding such issues.

We would like to say that the majority of scholars see that it is recommended to  perform more than one `Umrah during the year.

In his response to your question, the late prominent Muslim scholar Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Al-Musayyar, professor of Islamic creed and philosophy at Al-Azhar University, Egypt, states,

Almighty Allah says, (And complete the Hajj or `Umrah for Allah) (Al-Baqarah 2:196). Thus, Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam, and `Umrah is an obligation by the view of the majority of scholars. The difference between Hajj and `Umrah is that Hajj is limited to the months of Shawwal, Dhul-Qi`dah, and Dhul-Hijjah. Almighty Allah says, (The pilgrimage is (in) the well-known months) (Al-Baqarah 2:197).

However, `Umrah can be performed all year long. Imam Abu Hanifah sees that performing `Umrah on the Day of `Arafah, the Day of Sacrifice, and the Days of Tashreeq is reprehensible.

In addition, Hajj has certain rituals that are not included in `Umrah such as standing on `Arafat on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah and throwing the pebbles. Yet, there are rituals that are performed in both, Hajj and `Umrah, and they are: Ihram, Tawaf, going between Safa and Marwah, shaving and shortening the hair (for men only), and avoiding the impermissible things of Ihram, such as wearing sewn garments, hunting, and entering a marriage contract.

In regards to the virtues of Hajj and `Umrah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "A `Umrah to a `Umrah is a kaffarah (expiation) for what is between [i.e. sins], and the Hajj mabrur (accepted) does not have a reward but Paradise itself." Based on this hadith, Imam Shafi`i and the majority of scholars see that it is recommended to perform more than one `Umrah during the year. It is a worship that brings people closer to Allah and it is a visit to the place of goodness and purity.

In addition, there is no evidence prohibiting repeating the `Umrahs. The mentioned hadith is a proof that the ruling of repeating Hajj is different than `Umrah. If `Umrah is only to be done once a year like Hajj, then their reward would have been the same.

Moreover, `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) performed `Umrah twice in a month. It was also reported that `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him)  used to offer `Umrah many times a year.

Additionally, `Umrah has a special reward when performed in Ramadan. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advised a woman who was not able to accompany him for Hajj by saying: "Perform a `Umrah when Ramadan comes, because a `Umrah in Ramadan equals a Hajj" (Muslim).

Allah Almighty knows best.