Question: Is excellence of Umrah in Ramadan limited to the first part of the month or its middle or its last part?
Answer: Umrah that is performed in Ramadan is not limited to its first part or middle or last; it can be done any time of the month whether the early part, the middle or the last. That is due to the statement of the Messenger of Allaah (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam): ĎA Umrah performed in Ramadan is equal to Hajj.í The Prophet (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) did not specify the time. Thus whoever travels in Ramadan and observes his Umrah therein is like someone who has carried out the Hajj.
I like to pause here and intimate brothers who go to Makkah to perform the Umrah; some of them arrive in Makkah a day or two before Ramadan, yet they will carry out the Umrah and with that they will not earn the reward that will be for a person who does the Umrah in Ramadan. If the person had delayed his journey such that the day he will assume the Ihram of Umrah will be in Ramadan, that will have been better and more preferable.
So also we do observe some people who will come in the early part of the month, and in the middle of the month they will go out for pleasure, and will later come for another Umrah. And at the end of the month, they will go out for pleasure, and come back for the third Umrah. This kind of practice has no basis in the SharÓah. The Prophet (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) stayed at Makkah in the Year of Conquest for about nineteen days, he (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) never went for pleasure and to later come for a Umrah while it is known that the Conquest of Makkah was in Ramadan; so the Prophet (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) did not go for pleasure after the fighting, what he rather did was to come for Umrah in Zhul-Qadah (of that year) when he was returning from the Battle of Taif when he descended at Al-Jaíraanah where he distributed the war booty. He entered Makkah in the night and observed the Umrah from Al-Jaíraanah, then it was that night that he left (Makkah), may Allah exalt his mention and bestow mercy on him.
There is in this the proof that it is not proper for a person to leave Makkah so as to come back for a Umrah after going on pleasure or for other things that he loves to do in a non-Ihraam state because if this practice has been good, the first person that would have done it was the Messenger of Allaah (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) because we know with certainty that the Messenger of Allaah (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) is more assiduous of doing what is good, he had this quality than all other persons; and because it was the Prophet (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) that took and conveyed All‚hís Law, if the act has been permissible under the SharÓah, he (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam) would have explained it to his Ummah either through his statement or deed or approval. None of those ever happened! And following the Prophet (sallall‚hu íalayhi wa sallam), no matter how little, is better than inventing things in the Deen whether little or much.
(Fatawa Islamiyyah 2/304). Fatwa rendered by Shaykh Ibn Al-Uthaymeen (may Allah bestow His mercy on him).