Hajj: rulings and merits
All over the world, those who are fortunate make preparations for this great spiritual experience. Hajj is from the five pillars of Islām and is
By: Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (Allah protect him.)
The advent of the month of shawwal brings with it the remembrance of Ibrahim peace be upon him and his memorable hajj. All over the world, those who are fortunate make preparations for this great spiritual experience.
Hajj is from the five pillars of islām and is fard=compulsory upon every sane and mature believer who possesses the means to perform hajj. Allah exalted he mentions in the glorious Quran:
… As a right of Allah, it is obligatory on the people to perform hajj of the house on everyone who has the ability to manage (his) way to it. (3:97)
the prophet peace be upon him has said:
islam is founded on five (pillars): bearing witness that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, establishing salah, paying zakah, performing hajj and fasting in the month of ramadan. (al-bukhari)
in another hadith, he said: o people! Indeed Allah, the mighty, the exalted has made hajj obligatory upon you; therefore, perform hajj. (Ahmad)
virtues of hajj
the prophet peace be upon him has mentioned many virtues of hajj, encouraging the believers to fulfil this obligation:
the performers of hajj and umrah are deputations of Allah. If they call him, he answers them; and if they seek his forgiveness, he forgives them. (ibn Majah)
there is no reward for an accepted hajj except Jannah. (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
whoever performs hajj for the sake of pleasing Allah, and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall return from it free from sin as the day on which his mother gave birth to him. (al-Bukhari, Muslim)
the performer of hajj becomes so pure that even that person is forgiven for whom he seeks forgiveness. The prophet peace be upon him said:
when you meet a haji (on his way home), then greet him, shake hands with him and ask him to beg forgiveness of Allah on your behalf before he enters his home, for his prayer for forgiveness is accepted since he is forgiven by Allah. (Ahmad)
warnings for non-performance of hajj
the prophet peace be upon him has also warned those who do not fulfil this obligation despite it becoming obligatory upon them:
he who possesses enough provisions which will suffice for him to reach the house of Allah, and he does not perform hajj, then there is no care whether he dies as a jew or a Christian. (at-Tirmidhi)
hajj is fard=compulsory upon every sane, adult and healthy Muslim, when he has sufficient wealth to enable him to travel to and from the kabah. This will apply when the wealth required to take him is in excess of his needs (such as house, transport, clothing, etc. ). He also needs to have sufficient wealth to leave behind for the needs of those who are dependent on him.
Furthermore, the journey needs to be a safe one and a woman needs to be travelling with a mahram. As can be understood from the great virtues and stern warnings above, a person upon whom hajj is fard=compulsory should endeavour to perform hajj at the earliest possible opportunity this year. The prophet peace be upon him has said:
the one who intends to go for hajj should hurry; for sometimes he can get ill, his conveyance can go missing or some other obstacle may arise (which will hinder him from travelling). (ahmad)
Misconceptions and Lame excuses
many people delay the performance of hajj due to misconceptions which become lame excuses for not performing hajj. InshaAllah, i wish to clarify a few of these misunderstandings, so that those who find themselves in these situations can repent and make preparations immediately.
Many people have enough wealth for them to go for hajj, but they wait to accrue enough wealth so that their spouse can also accompany them. If the husband has enough wealth, then he should go for hajj immediately.
And if the wife has enough wealth, and she has other maharim with whom she can go for hajj, then she should go immediately too. The shariah does not give either permission to postpone the hajj and wait for the other.
Many people think that it is necessary that they make arrangements for their parents to perform hajj before they do. This too is incorrect in light of the shariah. Undoubtedly, to make ones parents perform hajj is a great virtue and honour; however, if hajj is not fard=compulsory on them, but it is fard compulsory upon the children, then they should not concern themselves with their parents hajj at this moment and fulfill their own obligation.
It is possible that in the children waiting for the parents or in the case of the husband waiting for the wife or vice versa the one upon whom hajj is fard compulsory passes away and is questioned by Allah Exalted he for its non-fulfillment.
Others delay embarking on the journey until certain worldly tasks have been completed. Remember! The targets of the world will never end. If it is one worldly target that is the excuse this year, then it will be another next year. The prophet peace be upon him has said:
no servant leaves hajj for some worldly objective but that he will see the people returning from hajj before his worldly objective is fulfilled. (at-tabrani)
therefore, one should put aside any worldly goals he has in mind and fulfil the obligation of Allah Exalted He first. It is also noteworthy to remember that it is from the ploys of shaytan that he will never say, don’t perform hajj, rather, he will make you defer its performance, year after year, until its too late.
Similarly, many delay their hajj because of this hadith: he who performs forty salah in my masjid in such a way that he does not miss a single salah, then Allah prescribes his freedom from the fire of Jahannam, freedom from punishment and freedom from hypocrisy. (Ahmad) many think that it is necessary to perform forty salah in al-masjid an-Nabawi, and some have the desire and greed for this virtue, so they delay their performance of hajj as they cannot spare enough time or money to stay in al-Madinah for the duration of forty salah.
Hajj is for five days only, and it becomes fard upon that person who can only afford to go for the minimum time. The inability to travel to al-Madinah will not be a valid excuse not to perform hajj. Of course, after reaching so close to the blessed city of al-Madinah, one should endeavour to at least spend a day in the blessed city and visit al-masjid an-nabawi and present himself in the court of Prophet peace be upon him
Some believe that if their children have reached a marriageable age and are not yet married, then the parents cannot perform hajj until the children are married. This too has no basis whatsoever in the shariah.
Some delay in travelling as they have small children at home. Once hajj becomes fard, they should seek suitable relatives, friends, etc. Who can look after their children whilst they go for hajj; and they need not travel for long due to their circumstance and situation?
Some delay their hajj as they think it is better to perform it in their old age closer to their death! This is a fallacy as they have no guarantee for how long they will live, and this idea is in complete contrast to the command of the prophet peace be upon him to perform hajj at the earliest opportunity.
Some delay performing the hajj as they only obtain a set number of days off work, and they postpone their journey hoping that they may get more days off next year and can spend more time in the al-haramayn. This too is not a valid shari reason to postpone the hajj. They should go and spend whatever time they have available and absolve themselves of the obligation of hajj.
Some delay the hajj, as they cannot afford to buy gifts for people, thus deferring their obligation until they have enough money that they can buy gifts for their loved and dear ones. This again is not a valid shari excuse.
Some delay in going for hajj as they cannot afford the five star, deluxe or golden package. From a shari point of view, as soon as they can afford the cheapest most basic package, hajj becomes fard upon them.
Others can afford a package, but as the package includes a hotel which is far from the al-haram, they are not able to read all five salah in al-haram. This does not justify delaying the hajj. Remember, as long as the five days of hajj are part of the package, hajj will be fard=compulsory upon them.
Some do not go for hajj on the pretext that they are not yet ready to change their lives. Such a thought is from shaytan. Do we think the same when it comes to reading salah or paying zakah? And if this is the case, then change your life, for it is obligatory anyway! Moreover, inshā’allāh, through the barakah of hajj, the life will change for the better.
Some go to the other extreme and have resolved to change their lives, but make comments such as, my iman is not yet strong enough and i need to build on my iman. This thought too is from shaytan. Hajj is a very important fundamental which helps to make ones iman stronger.
Shaykh mufti abdur rahim lajpuri may Allah be pleased with him mentions with regards the permissible reasons for postponing hajj:
the following are reasons for which hajj may be postponed:
- becoming bankrupt.
- Fear of a tyrannical leader.
- Being imprisoned.
- An unsafe journey.
- Illness because of which the person cannot travel.
- For a woman not to have a mahram or husband to accompany her.
- For a woman to be sitting in her iddah.
He further states that although these factors justify postponing hajj; however, it will be compulsory to proceed with the journey as soon as they no longer exist.
Therefore, it is my heartfelt plea to those upon whom hajj is fard=compulsory that they embark on this blessed journey this very year. They should have trust in Allah exalted he for all their affairs and fulfil this obligation. May Allah exalted he remove all difficulties and hurdles that anyone may have and make hajj easy for one and all. Amin.