In Arabic the word 'Umrah is derived from al-i'timar which means a visit. Here it means paying a visit to Ka'bah, performing tawaf around it, walking between Safa and Marwah seven times, and then shaving one's head or cutting one's hair short. There is consensus among scholars that it is a prescribed worship. Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "An 'Umrah in the month of Ramadan is equal (in reward) to performing a Hajj.''
RULES FOR TAWAF OF UMRAH
One should be in the state of Ihram before starting Tawaf.
There are three conditions essential for Tawaf of Umrah and for all other kinds of Tawaf as well, namely:
To be a Muslim Niyyah (intention) To perform Tawaf inside Masjid al-Haram Without niyyah, Tawaf is not valid. Tawaf can be performed in Mataf or on different floors of Masjid al-Haram or even on its roof.
While performing Tawaf, one should not look towards Kabah. One has to face Kabah only when doing Istilam of Hajar-e-Aswad.
After completing the seven circuits of Tawaf, if someone deliberately starts the eighth circuit, it becomes obligatory (wajib) for him to complete the second Tawaf by doing six more circuits.
Undesirable times for prayer are not considered undesirable for performing Tawaf.
If someone has to discontinue Tawaf because of time for prescribed prayer or because a dead body is brought for a funeral prayer or need for fresh ablutions arises, he can later resume Tawaf at the point where he discontinued.
Umrah has three pillars:
1. (Ihram) it is the intention to perform Umrah, according to the Hadith (Deeds come with intentions)
2. Circling Kaaba (Tawaf).
3. Saai (going to and fro in Alsaai place).
The Prophet Mohamed Peace and blessing be upon him �said: (Who did not give his sacrifice, then let him circle Kaai (Go to Alsaai,
because Allah ordered you to).
Ihram is the intention to perform either Hajj or 'Umrah, or to make intention of performing both. Intention is an important element of both. Allah says: "And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion.'' (Qur'an 98.5) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The actions will be rewarded according to the intentions behind them, and every person will have what he had intended."