Part V: Pilgrimage (Al-Hajj)

Chapter 31

Obligatory on Whom?

         In this chapter we would answer the question that Hajj is obligatory on whom and what are the conditions which make it obligatory. We would also examine the distinctive features of Hajj of a woman and the status of Hajj performed by a minor. We would also discuss whether Hajj can be performed by one person on behalf of other person who is physically unable to perform it or who has died without performing it.

1- Hajj is obligatory on whom:  As already stated Allah has made Hajj to His House (Kaabah at Makah) obligatory on the people. Verse 97 of Surah 3 of the Holy Qur’an says: “………And pilgrimage to the House is a duty which the people owe to Allah, he who can afford the journey. As for him who refuses to obey (this commandment) must know that Allah is Self Sufficient and does not stand in need of the peoples of the world.” Thus Hajj is the duty of the people to Allah which they must perform. In other words it is a right of Allah on the people that those who can afford must perform Hajj of Allah’s House. When this verse was revealed, the Prophet is reported to have got announcement made regarding the obligation of Hajj. Abu Hurairah reported that the Holy Prophet delivered us a sermon and said: O People! Pilgrimage has been made obligatory on you. So make pilgrimage …… (Muslim). About those who have means to perform Hajj but they do not perform it, following Ahadith should be noted:

1)            Abu Imama reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A person who does not perform Hajj despite the fact that no essential need or cruel king or a grave disease is preventing him to do so, he may die a Jew or a Christian whatever he likes.  – (Darimi)

2)            Ali reported that the Messenger of Allah said: If anyone has got provision and conveyance to take him to the House of Allah but does not make pilgrimage, there is no difference whether he dies a Jew or a Christian, and that is because Allah, the Blessed and the High says: And for Allah due from men, there is the pilgrimage of the House for one who has got means of Journeying to it.  – (Tirmizi (Rare))

         Thus Hajj is obligatory on every Muslim who has means to reach Allah’s House at Makkah. And if he does not perform this obligation despite having means, he cannot be considered a Muslim as held by many of the jurists. Hadhrat Umar is reported to have expressed his intention of imposing Jizyah (a tax imposed on non-Muslims by Islamic state) on such Muslims who do not perform Hajj despite having means.

2- Hajj is obligatory only once in life: Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: O men! Allah prescribed pilgrimage for you. Aqraa-b-Habes got up and said: Is it in every year, O Apostle of Allah? He said: if I had said: ‘Yes’, it would have become obligatory; and if it has been made compulsory, you would not have acted upon it, nor you would have been able. And pilgrimage is (obligatory) once only and whoever observes (it) more, it is optional. – (Ahmad, Nisai, Darimi)

         Keeping in view the above Hadith and also the Hadith No 1 in the preceding chapter the performance of Hajj is obligatory on a Muslim only once in life. If he performs it more than once, the additional Hajj would be considered Nafl (voluntary) Hajj and it would be definitely rewarded by Allah if performed with sincerity and devotion and not for display or show off.

         It should be kept in mind that the Prophet performed Hajj only once in life in 10AH i.e. the last year of his life. It is called Prophet’s Hajjatul Wida’a (Farewell Pilgrimage)

3- What does Istita'at mean? In verse 97 of Surah Al-e-Imran, Allah has made Hajj obligatory on those persons who have Istita’at (ability) to reach Kaabah. The Prophet (PBUH) himself has explained Istita’at in one of his Ahadith. Ibn Umar reports that a man came to the Prophet and asked: O Apostle of Allah! What makes the pilgrimage compulsory? He replied: Zade Rah (provisions of journey) and conveyance (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah). So Istita’at (i.e. ability) means financial capacity to bear the expenses of the journey and conveyance which can take him to Makkah.

         According to the jurists, Istita’at means one must have enough money, apart from leaving provisions for his family to sustain in his absence, which can meet his expenses of journey. Conveyance means transport which can take him to Makkah, it may be his own or the hired one. The condition of conveyance is, however, only applicable when Makkah is far off and one cannot reach it on foot.

         Majority of the jurists mean from Istitaat the financial capacity to bear Hajj expenses which we have explained above. However, some jurists like Imam Malik hold that physical capacity (good health) is also essential in addition to financial capacity to make Hajj obligatory on a Muslim. So according to them, Hajj is not obligatory on a blind, or lame, or physically disabled, or very old and weak person.

4- Conditions making Hajj obligatory: According to the Jurists and the Scholars of Islam, following conditions must be fulfilled before Hajj becomes obligatory on a person, male or a female:-

1)            He must be a Muslim: Hajj is one of the five fundamental articles of Islam, so it is obeligatory on a Muslim and not on one who is a non-Muslim and who does not believe in the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

2)            He should be adult: Since Hajj is also an act of Ibadah (worship) like prayer and fasting, so it is obligatory on an adult Muslim and not on a Muslim who is minor. However, if he performs Hajj as a child, it would be considered as his optional (Nafli) Hajj. When he attains adulthood or majority, Hajj would become Fard (obligatory) on him and he will have to perform his obligatory Hajj again.

3)            He must be sane: There is no Hajj for an insane person who does not know and understand what he is doing.

4)            He must be free and not slave: Hajj is not obligatory on a slave because slave is not master of his will and he cannot spare time without the permission of his master, nor he can arrange funds to meet Hajj expenses.

5)            He must have the Istitaat i.e.: money to afford Hajj expenses. We have already discussed this point above.

6)            He should not be a captive or prisoner: During the time of his captivity or imprisonment, it is not obligatory for him to perform Hajj. But as soon as he gets freedom, he must perform it.

7)            There is no danger to his life from a cruel king or a tyrant: If there is such danger, one may not perform Hajj. However, as soon as the danger elapses, he must perform it.

8)            Security and peace on the way: If there is war on the way which is endangering life of the intending pilgrims, or free travelling or endangering ships and other modes of conveyance, Hajj is not compulsory in such situations. However, as soon as the war ceases and peace stands restored, Hajj becomes obligatory again.

9)            According to jurists, a woman must fulfill another two conditions in addition to above, that she must have a Mahram to accompany her and that she must not be in the state of Iddah.

Hajj of a woman

         Although a man and a woman have to perform the same rites and acts of Hajj, yet the Jurists point out the following distinctions between the Hajj of a man and the Hajj of a woman:-

1)            Conditions which make Hajj obligatory on a Muslim given at serial No. 4 above are common in respect of man and a woman. However the jurists prescribe another two conditions for a woman:

(a)          She must not be in the state of Iddah. If during the Hajj days, she is observing Iddah (period of waiting) on account of divorce or death of her husband, she is not obliged to perform Hajj. She must postpone or defer it to next year.

(b)          She must be accompanied by a male Mahram. Mahram includes husband, father, brother, son, paternal uncle, maternal uncle, son of brother and son of sister. According to Hanafits and Hanbalites, if a woman has no male Mahram with her, Hajj is not obligatory on her. They rely on a Hadith reported by Abu Hurairah that the Holy Prophet said: It is not lawful for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day that she should perform a journey of one day and one night without a Mahram relative (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi and Ibn Majah). They also quote Hadith reported at serial No. 5 under the heading Ahadith of the Prophet in the proceeding chapter.

         But according to Imam Malik and Shafaai, this condition does not relate to Hajj journey. According to Imam Malik, a woman can go with a group (Jamaat) of women, whereas according to shafaai, she can go even with one noble woman. Since the conditions have changed today and the journey is no longer as dangerous as it used to be in the times of the Prophet and caliphs, there is no harm if the opinion of Imam Malik and Shafaai is followed. The condition of having a Mahram forces the women, if they are bent upon performing Hajj, to declare non-Mahram men as their Mahram. And thus they perform Hajj through this fraudulent tactic.

2)      The Prophet of Islam has enjoined the women not to make Tawaf of Kaabah when they are in state of impurity on account of Haidh (menses) or on account of Nifaas (bleeding associated with child birth). However when bleeding stops and they have purified themselves by taking bath, they must make the missed Tawaf of Kaabah. The following is the Hadith of the Prophet(PBUH) about this: Ayesha reported: We came out with the Prophet. We did not talk except about Hajj. When we came to Saraf, I perceived menstruation. The Prophet came while I was weeping. He said: Perhaps you are menstruating. ‘Yes’, replied I. He said: That is a thing which Allah ordained for the daughters of Adam. So do what a pilgrim does without going round the House till you become pure. (Bukhari, Muslim)

         It is also to be kept in mind that the women cannot offer prayers too during menses.

3)      Ihram garments of a man and a woman differ. We would see in chapter of Ihram that two unstitched white sheets of cloth have been prescribed as Ihram garments for a man. However, for a woman no specific Ihram clothes have been prescribed. She is only required to cover her Satar which is her whole body except her face and hands. Otherwise she is allowed to wear stitched clothes of any colour she likes, rather she wears her routine dress provided it covers her whole body except her face and her hands.

4)      A woman is not required to run or walk on fast speed in her Tawaf of Kaabah and in her Sai of Safa and Marwah like men who are required to perform Ramal (walking fast) or do Sai (run).

5)      A woman is required to do Taqseer (clip a few hair of her head) to come out of Ihram whereas man is required to do Halq (shave his head) or Taqseer (clip the hair of his head).

Hajj of a minor

         As already stated, Hajj is obligatory on an adult Muslim. If a child has not reached the age of puberty, Hajj is not obligatory on him. However, if a child performs Hajj in company of his parents or either of the parents or with some elder, it would be considered as his Nafl (voluntary) Hajj and he would get its rewards from Allah. But it would not be considered his obligatory Hajj, and thus obligation of Hajj would remain on him. According to the jurists, when he attains puberty, he would be required to perform his obligatory Hajj provided he also fulfils the other conditions of Hajj.

         Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas has reported that the Holy Prophet(PBUH) said: A child who performed Hajj and then reached the age of puberty, he must perform another Hajj (Tibrani)

When Hajj becomes due it should be performed immediately

         Although neither the Qur’an nor any Hadith of the Prophet has fixed any time limit to perform Hajj when Hajj becomes obligatory on a person, yet it is better for him to perform it as soon as possible. No unnecessary delay should be made in performing the Hajj when it becomes due or when the disability which stopped him to do Hajj ceases.

         Abdullah bin Abbas has reported that the Prophet said: Whosoever makes intention to perform Hajj, he must perform it immediately because some disease can overtake him, he can lose his conveyance or some other difficulty can arise in his way (Ahmad, Ibn Majah). According to another tradition reported by Ibn Abbas, the Prophet said: Make haste in performance of Hajj as none of you knows when some obstruction may come his way (Ahmad, Abu Daud).

Hajj Badal

         We have already studied that Hajj is obligatory on every Muslim who is adult, sane, and free and who has financial capacity to bear its expenses. If a person fulfills these conditions and Hajj becomes obligatory on him, but he cannot perform it on account of old age or some disease or some physical disability, he can send some other person to perform Hajj on his behalf. This is called Hajj Badal. In support of Hajj Badal, following Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad are produced by the jurists:-

1)            Abu Razin-al-Oqaili reported that he came to the Prophet and asked: O Apostle of Allah! My father is an old man. He cannot go for Hajj and Umrah nor can he ride a conveyance. The Prophet said: Perform Hajj and Umrah for your father. – (Abu Daud, Nisai, Tirmizi)

2)            Fadhal bin Abbas has reported that a woman of Bani Khasha’m came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah! Obligation of Hajj prescribed by Allah has reached my father in such a state that he is too old to ride a conveyance. Should I perform Hajj on his behalf? The Prophet said: Yes. This happened on the occasion of Prophet’s Farewell Hajj. – (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi)

Conditions of Hajj Badal: Some of the important conditions regarding Hajj Badal, according to the jurists are:

1)            Hajj Badal can be performed only on behalf of a person who is permanently sick or disabled having no hope of recovery or regaining physical capacity.

2)            One who sends some other person to perform Hajj on his behalf he must bear all the expenses of Hajj.

3)            One who intends to perform Hajj Badal on behalf of some other person must have performed his own Hajj first. There is Hadith reported by Abdullah bin Abbas that the Prophet heard a person who was prouncing Labaik on behalf of some other person. When asked, person told the Prophet that he was performing Hajj on behalf of some relative but he had not performed his own Hajj. The Prophet directed him first to perform his own Hajj before performing it on behalf of others. (Nisai, Tirmizi, Abu Duad, Ibn Majah)

4)            One who intends to perform Hajj on behalf of some other person, he must be an adult, sane and a free Muslim.

5)            One who performs Hajj Badal he must make intention and put on Ihram on behalf of the person who is sending him on Hajj Badal. And he must also perform Hajj according to the wishes and instructions of the person who is sending him.

Performing Hajj on behalf of deceased

         According to the majority of the jurists, if Hajj has become obligatory on a person but he dies without performing it, then Hajj must be performed on his behalf by any of his children or heirs irrespective of the fact whether he has left any bequest for that or not. They produce the following traditions of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) in support of their view.

1)            Abdullah bin Abbas reported: A woman of Banu Jaheenah came to the Prophet and asked: My mother had made a vow to perform Hajj but she died without performing it. Can I perform Hajj on her behalf? The Prophet said: Yes. You should perform Hajj on her behalf. Tell me if your mother had left some debt, would you not have returned it? So pay Allah’s debt because Allah has better right for its return. – (Bukhari)

2)            Boraidah Aslami reported that a woman came to the Prophet and asked: My mother died without performing Hajj. If I perform Hajj on her behalf, will it discharge her obligation to perform it? The Prophet replied: Yes. – (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)

            However according to Imam Malik, Hajj can be performed on behalf of the deceased only when the deceased has made a will for that and has left some wealth behind him, one third of which can bear Hajj expenses.


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