The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced a new dress code for women who may wish to perform Umrah at any point in time in the city of Makkah.
In a statement aired by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the new dress is to be adorn, while females regardless of age are performing a lesser Hajj in the Haram, Makkah. The Ministry outlined this on its social media handle: female pilgrims have the liberty to choose their apparel for Hajj or Umrah, but it must conform to the guidelines prescribed. The Ministry said, “Females are permitted to wear any clothing of their choice for pilgrimage or Umrah as long the following conditions are met:”
“The clothing should be wide and loose-fitting, it should not have any decorative elements and the clothing should cover the entire body.”
Given this, the Ministry also makes it clear that clothing for Umrah is very different from just ordinary clothes worn around by them. It said, “In the realm of sacred attire, the distinction between an Ihram and the customary costume for women undertaking the journey of Umrah becomes clear.”
Umrah is an act of worship of Allah (SWT) which involves one visiting the Holy House of Allah in Makkah. It is also regarded as a lesser Hajj which can be performed any time in a year. It is a voluntary act of worship that encompasses important steps to observe. First is Ihram, i.e. changing one’s clothes and purifying oneself. Second, Tawaaf, which means moving around the Ka’bah, third, Saa’i between Safa and Marwah drink from ZAMZAM water, and lastly shaving the head/cutting of hair.
Saudi Arabia’s authorities are expecting about 10 million international visitors to perform Umrah in the current Hijirah calendar, 1445 AH at the Grand Mosque KABBAH in Makkah this season.