By: Sayyid as-Sabiq
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Pilgrimage: A General Definition, Its Excellence and Prerequisites
Allah, the Exalted One, says:
“The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka; (Bakka is one of the names of Makkah) full of blessings and guidance for all kinds of beings: in it are signs manifest (for example), the station of Abraham-- whoever enters it attains security; pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah--those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures” (Qur’an 3.96-97).
Definition of Hajj:
The majority of the scholars hold that Hajj was prescribed in the sixth year after Hijrah (Migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Madinah) for it was then that the following verse concerning it was revealed:
“And complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah in the service of Allah” (Qur’an 2.194).
This conclusion is based on the understanding that the “completion” in the above verse in fact refers to the time when it was first made obligatory. This view is also supported by ‘Alqamah, Masrouq, and Ibrahim An-Nakh’i, who substitute “And establish” for “And complete” in the above verse, as reported by At-Tabarani on sound authority. Ibn-al-Qayyim, however, is inclined to the view that Hajj was made obligatory in the ninth or the tenth year of Hijrah.
Excellence of Hajj:
The Divine Law Giver exhorted Muslims to perform Hajj. In this regard we may refer to the following:
Hajj - One of the Best Deeds:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked:
“What is the best deed?” He replied: “To have faith in Allah and His Messenger.” The enquirer asked: “What next?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “To strive in the cause of Allah.” “What is the next best thing?” He replied: “Hajj Mabrur (a faultless Hajj that is free of sin and is graced with Divine acceptance and pleasure).”
Al-Hasan said: “It means that a person after performance of Hajj should desire and be inclined to the life of the Hereafter rather than the material pleasures of this world.” Another report transmitted on sound authority from the Prophet (peace be upon him) says that a righteous performance of Hajj is crowned by feeding the needy and speaking kind words to men.
Hajj: A Form of Jihad:
Al-Hasan ibn Ali says that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said:
“I am a coward and a weak person. Is there anything I can do?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “You may go for a jihad (striving) that involves no fighting, that is, Hajj.” This is reported by Abdur Razzaq and At-Tabarani, and all its narrators are trustworthy.
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Hajj is the jihad for the old, the weak and the women.” (This is reported by Nasa’i with a reliable chain of narrators)
‘Aishah reports that she once said:
“O Prophet of Allah! Jihad (striving or fighting in the cause of Allah) is the best deed. Should we (women) then, not actively participate in it?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “The best jihad for you is Hajj Mabrur.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
In another report ‘Aishah says:
“I once asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): ‘O Prophet of Allah! Should not we (women) strive and actively participate in the Islamic war with you?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: ‘The best and the most beautiful striving for you in the cause of Allah is Hajj Mabrur.’ ” (Bukhari and Muslim)
‘Aishah commented: “After hearing this from the Prophet (peace be upon him) I shall never cease performing Hajj.”
Hajj Wipes Off Past Sins:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“He who performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and avoids all lewdness and sins will return after Hajj free from all sins as he was the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
‘Amr ibn al-‘As says:
“When Allah guided me to Islam, I went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Stretch out your hand so that I may pledge my allegiance to you.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) stretched out his hand to me, but I withdrew my hand. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: ‘O ‘Amr! what is the matter with you?’ I said: ‘I would like to stipulate a condition! ‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: ‘What is it?’ I said: ‘That all my past sins be forgiven!’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘O ‘Amr! Do you not know that Islam wipes off all past sins, and hijrah (leaving one’s home and hearth for Allah’s cause) wipes off all sins, and (similarly) Hajj wipes off all past sins!”’ (Muslim)
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Alternate between Hajj and ‘Umrah (regularly), for these two remove poverty and sins just as the blacksmith’s bellows removes all impurities from metals like iron, gold and silver. The reward for Hajj Mabrur is nothing short of Paradise.” (Nasa’i and Tirmidhi, who regards it a sound hadith)
Pilgrims are Allah’s Guests:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Pilgrims and those performing ‘Umrah are Allah’s guests; their prayers are answered and their supplications for forgiveness are granted.”
This is reported by Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban in their collections of Sahih hadith. In the last two we read:
“And Allah’s guests are three: A pilgrim performing Hajj, one performing ‘Umrah, and a person who fights in the cause of Allah.”
The Reward of Hajj is Paradise:
Abu Hurairah says the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“All sins committed in between the performance of one ‘Umrah and another are expiated and erased, and the reward of Hajj Mabrur is nothing save Paradise.” (Bukhari and Muslim) In another sound hadith Ibn Joraij relates from Jabir that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “This House of Allah (the Ka’bah) is the pillar of Islam, so whosoever heads to it with the intention of performing Hajj or ‘Umrah is under Allah’s security. If he should die (during his trip) he is granted Paradise, and if he returns home safely, he returns with reward and gain.”
The Excellence of Spending in Hajj:
Buraidah reports the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying:
“Spending during Hajj is akin to spending in the cause of Allah, and every dirham thus spent will be rewarded seven hundred times over.” (Reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah, Ahmad, At-Tabarani and Al-Baihaqi)
Can the Performance of Hajj Be Deferred to a More Convenient Time or Must It Be Performed Immediately after One is Able to Do So?
Ash-Shafi’i, Ath-Thawri, Al-Awza’i and Mohammad bin al-Hasan are of the opinion that Hajj may be performed at any time during one’s life, and there is nothing wrong if someone, for whom it is obligatory, delays it until a later date in his (or her) life, for, although Hajj was prescribed in the 6th year of Hijrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) delayed it until the 10th year of Hijrah when he performed it along with his wives and many of his companions. Had performing it earlier been essential the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have never delayed it.
Ash-Shafi’i says: “We, therefore, are convinced that Hajj is obligatory upon a Muslim, male or female, from the age of puberty until before his death.”
Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ahmad, some of Ash-Shafi’i’s followers and Abu Yusuf are of the opinion that Hajj must be performed as soon as one is (physically and financially) in a position to do so. This opinion is based on a hadith that is related by Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“He who intends to perform Hajj let him do so expeditiously, for he may well fall sick, may lose his mount (ability to bear expenses of the journey) or he may be prevented by some other exigency.” (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Baihaqi, At-Tahawi and Ibn Majah)
In another report by Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi, we read that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Hasten to perform Hajj - the basic obligation - for you don’t know what might happen to you,” meaning “one may fall sick or be prevented by some other exigency.”
The earlier scholars interpreted these ahadith saying it was commendable for a person to perform Hajj as soon as possible provided he had the ability to do so.
Prerequisites for Hajj:
There is a consensus among jurists concerning the prerequisites that must be found in a person for Hajj to be incumbent on him:
1. He must be a Muslim.
2. He must be an adult.
3. He must be of a sound state of mind.
4. He must be free.
5. He must have the necessary power and ability.
Anyone lacking any of these conditions is not obligated to perform Hajj. All these conditions, that is, being a Muslim, being of adult age and of sound mind, being free, and possessing the power to discharge a duty are equally valid with respect to all other forms of worship in Islam. This is based on a hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which says:
“Three persons are not to be held accountable: a sleeping person until he awakes, a minor until he comes of age, and a mentally disturbed person until he regains his reason.”
Freedom is an essential prerequisite for Hajj, for this worship needs time as well as financial ability. A slave lacks both, for all his time is spent in the service of his master, and financially he lacks the ability to undertake this obligation. The Qur’an says:
“Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah - those who can afford the journey” (3.97).
The Ability To Perform Hajj - What Does It Imply?
The ability to perform Hajj, which is one of its essential conditions, includes the following:
1. A person must be healthy and physically fit. If one is disabled by old age or a disease that is incurable or is unable to perform Hajj for some other similar reason, he may, if he is financially capable, assign someone else to perform Hajj on his behalf and at his expense. This will be discussed later under “Hajj On Behalf of Another Person.”
2. The journey to Hajj must be safe so that the pilgrim’s life and possessions are safe and secure from any danger. If one is afraid for one’s life from highwaymen or an epidemic or if one is afraid to be robbed of one’ s possessions, then such a one is deemed as one of those who cannot afford the journey for Hajj .
There is, however, a difference of opinion among scholars regarding the entry fees and other charges levied on pilgrims. Can a person be excused and reckoned as unable financially to perform Hajj because of these charges? Ash-Shafi’i and others are of the view that the presence of these levies does qualify a person to be classified as unable to perform Hajj, even though the levy involved may be paltry. The Maliki scholars disagree for they do not regard this as a sufficient reason for a person to be deemed as unable to perform Hajj, unless the amount involved is too exorbitant or is demanded repeatedly.
3. One must possess the necessary provision and also the requisite means of journey. Necessary provision here means that the intending pilgrim must have sufficient supplies for himself as well as for his family that he leaves behind. These supplies include sufficient and adequate clothing, housing, means of traveling, and tools for the pursuit of his trade or profession besides the financial means for the journey. (The person intending to perform Hajj should not sell his clothes, his personal belongings, or his house--even if they were abundant to get money for Hajj) Means of traveling imply that which enables him to go to Hajj and come back, whether it is by land, by sea, or by air. This concerns those who live far from Makkah and cannot walk there.
As for those who live in the vicinity of Makkah, this condition does not apply, for they are so close that they can go for Hajj on foot.
Some ahadith explain the Qur’anic words
“those who can afford the journey,” (Qur’an 3.97)
as meaning provision of food and means of journey. Anas reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) when once asked about the meaning of
“those who can afford”
“It means possessing means of sustenance and transportation.” (Ad-Daraqutni considers this hadith sound)
Al-Hafiz remarks: “Most probably its chain of transmitters is not traceable to the Prophet (peace be upon him). Tirmidhi as well has reported it on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar but its chain of transmitters is weak. Abdul Haqq remarked: “All its chains of transmitters are weak.” Ibn Al-Mundhir says: “It is not traceable to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the correct position is that it is a sound but incompletely transmitted hadith whose chain of authorities does not go back to the Prophet (peace be upon him).”
Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) once said:
“He who possesses sufficient provisions and means of journey for the performance of Hajj and yet does not do so, let him die the death of a Jew or a Christian.” For Allah says in the Qur’ an:
“Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah - those who can afford the journey.” (Transmitted by Tirmidhi, but among the narrators of this hadith are included “Halal” ibn Abdullah, who is unknown, and “Al-Harith” whom Ash-Sha’bi and others have described as a liar)
All these ahadith are weak in authority, yet most scholars regard provisions and means of journey as a necessary condition for Hajj. If a person has neither the necessary provisions nor means of travel, he is not obligated to perform Hajj.
Ibn Taimiyyah says: “These ahadith are musnad (A report which is traceable in uninterrupted ascending order of the narrators to its first authority) and have a sound chain of authorities, some are mursal (A hadith transmitted by a successor (atabi+), young or old, without mentioning the Companion who might have heard it from the Prophet directly. Ash-Shafi’i considers such a hadith weak, while Abu Hanifah and Malik consider it sound) and others are mauquf. (A hadith reported from a Companion through words or acts uninterruptedly or otherwise) They all prove that the ability to arrange one’s provisions and possession of means of journey is a necessary prerequisite for Hajj, and this despite the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) knew that many of the people (in his time) were able to go for Hajj on foot. Similarly the words of Allah:
“Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah - those who can afford the journey…”
…underline the fact that ability and power are the necessary prerequisite for all forms of worship. It signifies the unspecified power or a little bit more than what may be necessary. In the case of sawm (fasting) and salah (obligatory prayers) the financial ability is superfluous and is not specified in the Qur’an, unlike Hajj for which it is an important requirement. Similarly, Hajj is a form of worship which involves traveling for which one must be in possession of sufficient means to support oneself (and one’s family), as well as be able to shoulder the cost of the journey as in jihad.
In this regard we may refer to the Qur’anic verse (9.91-92)
“Nor is there any blame on those who find no resources to spend, nor is there (blame) on those who come to you to be provided with mounts, and when you said, ‘I can find no mounts for you.”’
In Al-Muhadhib we read: “If someone has the money to buy provisions and the passage to Hajj but he needs it to pay his debts, Hajj is not binding on him, whether the settlement of the debt is required immediately or is due after a time. The debts that are due for immediate settlement must be paid at once, whereas the Hajj may be performed later on in life. But if he spends all that he has on Hajj he may not be in a position to pay off his debt.”
Similarly, if one is in need of a dwelling or a servant to help him, he may be classified as unable to perform Hajj. Likewise, if one needs to take a wife because he fears he may not be able to avoid evil, he must get married, for it is his immediate need. Furthermore, if one needs goods for his business to obtain requisite resources therefrom, such a one, according to Abul ‘Abbas, Ibn Sarih, may be classified as unable to perform Hajj in view of his specific need. Al-Mughni says: “If the debt is owed to a wealthy person who does not demand immediate settlement of the loan, defers settlement to a later stage, and is ready to permit the debtor to proceed for Hajj, then such a debtor is (technically) able to perform Hajj. But in case the lender cannot afford to defer settlement of the loan, the debtor would be reckoned as unable to perform Hajj.”
According to the Shafi’i school: “If someone offers another a free passage for Hajj, one is not obliged to accept the offer, for it is a favor and involves distress of being obliged to another person. If, however, such an offer is made by one’ s son to perform Hajj, then one is obligated to do so, for one can perform it without being beholden to anyone else.”
The Hanbali school is of the view that an offer of financial help by someone else does not obligate a person to perform Hajj, nor does this classify him as (financially) capable of performing it, whether the offer comes from a stranger or a relative and whether the offer provides means of travel and provision, or linanacial help as such.
5. There must also be no obstruction which may prevent people from undertaking the journey for Hajj, like fear of torture or imprisonment by a tyrannical ruler.
Hajj of a Minor and a Slave:
Though Hajj is not compulsory for these two groups it is quite valid if they perform one, but it will not suffice them as regards the Hajj prescribed in Islam.
Ibn ‘Abbas reports: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
‘Any minor (child) who performs Hajj must perform it again after coming of age; any slave who performs Hajj and is then freed, must perform his Hajj again’.” (Reported by At-Tabarani on sound authority)
As-Sa’ib bin Yazid says: “My father performed Hajj with the Prophet (peace be upon him) who was performing his Farewell Hajj, while I was only seven years old.” This was reported by Ahmad, Bukhari and Tirmidhi, who noted: “All scholars agree that if a minor performs Hajj, he must repeat his Hajj upon coming of age. Likewise a slave who performs Hajj, and thereafter gains his freedom, must also repeat his Hajj if he is in a position to do so.”
It is also reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that during a Hajj a woman lifted a boy, and asked the Prophet,
“Will this boy be rewarded for Hajj?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered: “Yes, and you too will be rewarded.” (The boy will be rewarded for his obedience, while the mother will be rewarded for helping and instructing him to perform Hajj. This hadith is also reported from ‘Umar)
“We performed Hajj with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and a number of women and children were with us. We said talbiyah on behalf of the children, and (also) threw pebbles on their behalf.”
This is narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Majah.
If a minor is able he may himself declare the state of ihram and perform the rites of Hajj. Otherwise, his guardian (An-Nawawi said: “The guardian who declares the state of ihram on behalf of a non-discerning minor, is the guardian of his properties, i.e., his father, grandfather, or the guardian appointed by law.” Conceming the mother, the scholars differ. Some are of the opinion that her ihram on his behalf is only valid if she is appointed by law as his guardian. Others claim that her ihram is valid even if she is not the guardian) must declare the state of ihram and say talbiyah on his behalf, circumambulate round Ka’bah, run between Safa and Marwah, stay at ‘Arafah and throw stones on his behalf. If, on the other hand, a minor attains the age of puberty on or before the Day of ‘Arafah, his Hajj is then credited to him. The same applies to a slave who is liberated on or before the Day of ‘Aratah. Malik and Ibn Al-Mundhir say: “To both of these people their Hajj cannot be credited as (replacement for) the obligatory Hajj, for they intended a supererogatory worship while putting on ihram; its supererogatory status cannot be transformed into an obligatory worship.”
Hajj of a Woman
Hajj is obligatory both for women and men alike; they must perform it whenever they meet the above mentioned prerequisites for it. In the case of a woman it is essential that she be accompanied by her husband or some other mahram (Al-Hafiz said in his Al-Fath: “According to the scholars. the condition for being a mahram to a woman is that legally it should be impossible for such a man to ever marry her) relative on the journey for Hajj.”
Ibn ‘Abbas reports: “I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying:
‘A man must never be alone with a woman unless there is a mahram with her. A woman also may not travel with anyone except a mahram relative.’ A man stood up and asked: ‘O Prophet of Allah! My wife has gone for Hajj while I am enlisted for such and such a battle, what should I do?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Go and join your wife in Hajj.” (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim; the words given here are of Muslim’s. This order underlines something desirable; it does not obligate the husband or the mahram to travel with the woman, if there is no one else but him. No one is obligated to give up his convenience so that another person might do what is not required of him)
Yahya bin ‘Abbad reported that a woman from Iraq wrote to Ibrahim An-Nakh’i: “I have not yet performed the prescribed Hajj; for although I am rich, I have no mahram who may accompany me on this trip.” He wrote her back: “You are one of those whom Allah has not given the means to perform (Hajj).” Abu Hanifah, Al-Hassan, At-Thauri, Ahmad and Ishaq all hold a similar view on this issue.
Al-Hafiz says: “Among the Shafi’ite scholars the most commonly accepted opinion in this regard is that a woman may travel with her husband, or one of her mahram relatives, or a group of trustworthy women, or even one such (trusted) woman companion.” According to one view, reported by Al-Karabisi and recorded as sound in Al-Muhadhib, a woman may travel by herself provided the way to Hajj is secure and safe. This applies to both Hajj and ‘Umrah.
It is reported in Subul as-Salaam: “A group of scholars hold that an old woman may travel without being accompanied by any mahram relative.”
This permission for a woman to travel without a mahram in the company of trusted companions or when the journey to Hajj is safe is supported by what is reported by Bukhari from ‘Adi ibn Hatem, who says:
“I was with the Prophet (peace be upon him) when a man came to him and complained of poverty. Another man complained about highway robbery. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘O ‘Adi! Have you seen the city of Hira in Iraq?’ I said: ‘No, but I have heard about it.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘If you lived long enough you will see that a woman will travel from Hira and will perform Tawaf round Ka’bah, and she will have no fear except that of Allah.”
This opinion is supported by the fact that ‘Umar gave permission to the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to perform Hajj while accompanied by ‘Uthman and Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Awf. ‘Uthman would announce them to people telling them to avoid looking at them or coming close to their camels. If, however, a woman fails to abide by this provision and performs Hajj alone - without being accompanied by any mahram - her Hajj would still be valid.
The author of Subul as-Salaam says that Ibn Taimiyyah said: “Hajj of a woman without a mahram is valid, and likewise of a person who is financially not able to perform it.”
In brief, those for whom Hajj is not compulsory due to sickness, poverty, fear of highway robbery, or in the case of a woman because no mahram is available to accompay her, if these people nonetheless perform Hajj, it will be credited to their account. Some of them try their best (and exert themselves to the utmost) like those performing Hajj on foot, while others are guilty of sins, such as those who beg others to help them perform Hajj, or a woman that performs Hajj without a mahram male companion. Notwithstanding their valid excuse, if any of these people perform Hajj, it will be quite valid, for their sin relates to their (choice of unlawful) means and has no bearing on the objective as such.
It is reported in Al-Mughni: “If a person, not obliged to perform Hajj because he is unable (financially) to do so, should seek to perform Hajj, suffering hardship, traveling on foot and without necessary provisions, his Hajj will be quite valid and acceptable.”