THE ISLAMIC LAW OF HAJJ | PART.1


THE ISLAMIC LAW OF HAJJ | PART.1


In the Name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.


Obligation to perform Hajj

It is clear from the Holy Qur’an and the traditions that performance of Hajj (Pilgrimage) is obligatory on every person who has attained puberty and has the means mentioned below.


Hajj is one of the basic principles of Islam; its performance is one of its essentials, and its non-performance is a grave sin. Denial of the obligatory nature of Hajj is blasphemy (kufr). God states in the Holy Qur’an :

“.. and pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever disbelieves, surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above any need of the worlds”. (3:97).


Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘And this is the house by which Allah has demanded the devotion of His creatures to test their obedience in their coming to it, so He prompted them to glorify it and visit it. He made it the station of the prophets and the focal point (qibla) for those who pray to Him. It is a branch of His good pleasure and a way that leads to His forgiveness, founded on absolute perfection and ultimate grandeur.’ [Amali al-Saduq, p. 493, no. 4]


In religion the performance of pilgrimage is obligatory on a person once only; it is known as ‘Hajjatul Islam’.


1. When does it become mandatory to perform hajj?

Answer: Performance of pilgrimage becomes obligatory immediately in the year when its conditions are realised. If one fails to perform it, deliberately or for an excuse, it must be fulfilled in the ensuing year, and so on. Postponing it without valid reason is a grave sin.


2. Is it obligatory for a person to arrange his Hajj?

Answer: When performing pilgrimage becomes obligatory, one must make all the arrangements for the journey to ensure the performance of the ceremonies in time. If there are several groups one could join, by any means of travel, so much so that one is confident to reach in time, it is permissible to join any one of them or take any route; yet it is preferable to choose the one that would definitely get you there in time.


3. Is Hajj compulsory, even during the last minutes?

Answer: If it was possible for a person to make the journey in the same year, pilgrimage becomes obligatory, even if leaving it to the last minute, in the hope that they would reach in time. However, if the person was not able to get there in time for pilgrimage, the obligation to perform it, most evidently, does not become obligatory on him, even though his delay was excusable.


Conditions which make Hajjatul Islam obligatory

1. Adulthood

Pilgrimage is not obligatory on any person who has not attained adulthood, even if they were approaching it. A pilgrimage, performed by a child will, most evidently, will not be counted as Hajjatul Islam, even if it was performed properly.


4. Will the hajj of a boy be valid if the boy reaches puberty before he takes on his ihram?

Answer: If a boy, who has the means to make the journey, leaves for pilgrimage and attains puberty before assuming ihram at the appropriate Meqat, his pilgrimage is valid as Hajjatul Islam. However, if he attains adulthood after wearing ihram and before the stay at Muzdalifah, he should complete the pilgrimage; it would be valid as Hajjatul Islam.


5. What if a person discovers that he has reached puberty during his optional pilgrimage?

Answer: A person may perform an optional pilgrimage in the belief that he has not attained puberty. Yet, he discovers, during the pilgrimage time or after its completion, that he had already attained puberty. Such pilgrimage will be counted as an obligatory one.


6. Is it recommended for a discerning child to perform pilgrimage?

Answer: It is recommended for a discerning child to perform pilgrimage but, as is widely believed, it is conditional on the consent of his guardian.


7. Is the consent of the parents a prerequisite for the validity of a pilgrimage of an adult?

Answer: The consent of parents is not a prerequisite for the validity of a pilgrimage of an adult. However, if the journey to perform a recommended pilgrimage displeases either or both of them, for fear, for example, of the dangers arising from the journey, it is not permitted to embark on it.


8. What does a pilgrimage look like for a child who is incapable of rational action?

Answer: It is recommended that the guardian of a child, male or female, who is not capable of rational action, should help him or her assume ihram. That is, help them wear ihram and coach them in the recitation of the talbiyah, if they are capable of comprehension.

Conversely, he should recite it for them. He must also restrain him from all matters which a pilgrim in a state of ihram must avoid. It is permissible to delay removing the clothes of a child till reaching Fakh if that route is taken. The child must then be instructed to perform all such acts of pilgrimage that he can.

The guardian should perform on his behalf that which he is unable to do. The guardian should make the child perform tawaf, sa’y, between Safa and Marwah, wuquf at Arafat and Mash’ar; rami of jamarat, if they are able; otherwise, the guardian should throw them on his behalf. This is also true of tawaf prayer, taqseer, especially get their head shaved, and the remaining acts.


9. Can a guardian help a child with his ihram, even if he himself is not in a state of ihram?

Answer: There is no objection to a guardian assisting a child to wear ihram, although the guardian is not in a state of ihram himself.


10.  Must a guardian have the right of custody of the child in order to take him on a pilgrimage?

Answer: It is recommended that the person who takes a child, who is not capable of rational action, on a pilgrimage as his guardian must be the person who has the right of custody of the child as detailed in the law of marriages.


11. Who should bear the expenses, if the expenses of the pilgrimage of the child exceed the usual amount?

Answer: If the expenses of pilgrimage of the child exceed the usual amount, the excess amount should be borne by the guardian and not the child. However. And if the protection of the child was contingent on making the journey for Hajj, or if the journey was in the child’s interest, it is permissible to meet the expenses of the child from his own money.


12. Who should bear the cost of the sacrifice?

Answer: The cost of the sacrifice for the undiscerning child should be borne by the guardian and so should the expiation (kaffarah) for hunting. As for kaffarahs which are attracted as a result of deliberate acts, they would naturally not fall on the child, even if he is a discerning one, or the guardian, nor would they be payable from the child’s money.


2. Reason

There is no obligation on an insane person to perform pilgrimage, even if their insanity is periodic. However, if they recover during the pilgrimage period, are of means and able to perform the rituals thereof, it is obligatory on them to perform pilgrimage, even if they remain insane during the other periods. However, should they know that bouts of insanity coincide with pilgrimage days, they should deputies a person as soon as they recover.


3. and 4. Freedom and Financial Ability

There are few rules that need considering under this heading.


A- Time

There must be enough time for making the journey to Makkah and staying throughout the obligatory periods. In other words, it is not obligatory to perform pilgrimage, even if you can afford it, if you do not have ample time for the journey, stay, and performing the obligatory rituals. This should also be the case, even if there was time, yet it entails enduring great difficulties.

In such circumstances, it is obligatory to set aside the funds for the journey in the ensuing year and doing one’s best not to dispense with them until the following year. However, matters relating to dispensing with the funds set aside for performing pilgrimage is outlined in Rule 39 below.


B- Physical Health and Strength

If a person is unable to travel to the holy places due to ill health, old age, or they are unable to stay there for the required periods because of extreme heat, it is not obligatory on them to set out for pilgrimage personally. However, they must send an agent to perform it for him.


C- No Obstruction

The route must be open and safe, i.e. there must be no barrier to reaching the Meqat and no danger to the pilgrim’s life, his property or honour. Otherwise, pilgrimage is not obligatory. That is the rule regarding the outbound journey. As for the ruling on the return journey, it is discussed in Rule 22 below.

However, if after wearing ihram an eventuality, such as illness, arises, or a danger posed by an enemy, the special rules relating to such circumstances will be discussed.


13. Will it still be obligatory to perform the pilgrimage if some of the roads are dangerous?

Answer: If there are two routes available for the journey to pilgrimage, one safe and the other not, the obligation to perform pilgrimage remains; that is, the safe route must be taken, even if it is longer. However, if taking the longer route involves travelling through many countries, such a situation would constitute an obstruction on the same lines of the preceding rule, i.e. pilgrimage ceases to become obligatory.


14. If a person has property in his country which could perish or be lost if they went on pilgrimage, is it still obligatory to perform the pilgrimage?

Answer: If a person has property in his country which could perish or be lost if they went on pilgrimage, it is not obligatory on them to do so. Similarly, it is not obligatory to make the journey of pilgrimage, if it was in response to a more urgent and more important act, called for by religious dictate, such as rescuing a person from drowning, or fire; or if the journey is dependant on committing a sin, the avoidance of which is more important than performing pilgrimage, or of equal importance.


15.  What happens if performing pilgrimage will result in a sin?

Answer: If performing pilgrimage will result in a sin, either by an omission to do what is obligatory in religion, or the commission of a forbidden act, a sin will have been committed which will have to be answered. Such will remain unconnected with the pilgrimage which will be valid as a Hajjatul Islam, provided that all the other conditions for its validity are observed. There is no difference in this regard whether the pilgrim was already duty-bound to perform pilgrimage, or it became obligatory on them in that particular year.


16. What if there is an enemy on the way to the pilgrimage?

Answer: If there is an enemy on the way to pilgrimage and there is no defence against them except by paying of one’s property as to be unfair to the pilgrim, it is not necessary to lose the property. Accordingly, the obligation to perform pilgrimage ceases. Otherwise, the obligation remains. Even so, it is not necessary to bribe the enemy to facilitate the opening of the road.


17. Is it still obligatory to perform the pilgrimage, if the route to the pilgrimage sites was by sea alone?

Answer: If the route to the pilgrimage sites was by sea alone, the obligation does not cease, except if there was a reasonable risk of drowning, illness, or the like. If, however, pilgrimage was performed despite the risk, it should be deemed valid.


D- Expenses for the Journey

There must be sufficient funds to meet the expenses, arising from the journey, such as those for eating, drinking and other necessities. The provision must be adequate for the return journey including transportation. The amount necessary would depend on the financial position of the pilgrim.

Rule 18: Provision of expenses and transport is not merely to meet the necessities. They are an unqualified condition for the pilgrimage, even if the provision is not required by the pilgrim who, for instance, is capable of making the journey walking without any difficulty and doing so would not be derogatory to his dignity.


19. What is the measure of the expenses for the journey?

Answer: The measure of the expenses for the journey is what the pilgrim physically has with him. It is not obligatory for a person to raise funds to meet the expenses through his business or other sources. There is no difference in this regard between a close and a distant journey.


20. Where is the starting point of incurring expenses for the journey?

Answer: The starting point of incurring expenses for the journey is the residence of the pilgrim and not his country of origin. For example, if the person had moved to another town for business or other purposes and when they were there, they acquired the means for the journey, it is obligatory on them to perform pilgrimage, even though they would not be in a position to make it from their country.


21. What happens If someone has a property and wants to sell it, but cannot sell it?

Answer: If a person has property for which they are unable to find a buyer at its real value and, as a result, they have to postpone pilgrimage in order to sell it for its real worth, they are not obliged to sell it immediately.

However, if, for example, in the year they acquired the means to perform pilgrimage, the expenses have already risen, and that they could even be higher the following year, it is not permissible to postpone pilgrimage.


22. Is it a condition for the person to be able to return from the pilgrimage?

Answer: The provision of the expenses for the return journey is a condition for pilgrimage, only if they had intended to return home. If this was not the case and the person had plans to reside in another country, it is enough to have provisions sufficient to get them there.

However, if the country to which they intend to go is more distant than theirs, it is not necessary to have sufficient provisions to get them there, and make the pilgrimage obligatory; they only need to have sufficient funds to enable them to return home, unless they have no alternative but to proceed to the more distant country.


E- Availability of Means on Return

The person must be in a position to maintain themselves and their family on returning home. It is necessary that, on their return, they should be solvent enough as to insulate themselves and their family against poverty. In other words, the expenditure that arose from the journey to pilgrimage should not encroach on their maintenance money.

It is not obligatory on a person to embark on pilgrimage if in so doing they would need to bear the cost of the journey from their property which could be the source of maintenance for themselves and their family. If they do not have alternative means of livelihood on a par with their social status, clearly it is not obligatory on them to sell their property which they would need as a necessity of life, nor is it obligatory to sell their home, personal and household effects, tools of trade needed for livelihood, such as books required by a scholar for study. Generally, disposal of necessities is not necessary, if doing so would cause distress and hardship. However, if there were surplus items at the person’s disposal, it is obligatory to sell the same in order to provide the expenses for pilgrimage.

For example, if one owns a house of the value of eighty thousand pounds and it is possible to sell it and purchase another one for a lesser price without causing any hardship, it is obligatory to do so and use the extra amount generated for performing pilgrimage and spending on family needs.


23. Is it obligatory for a person to sell a property he needs in order to embark on pilgrimage?

Answer: If a person has property which they need, it is not obligatory on them to sell it in order to embark on pilgrimage. However, if they subsequently be able to do without it, it becomes obligatory on them to sell it to perform pilgrimage.

For example, a lady who has a piece of jewellery which she needs and cannot do without. Yet if she reaches a point where she is able to dispense with it, either because of old age or otherwise, it is obligatory on her to sell it and perform pilgrimage.


24. Is it obligatory for a person to sell his house so that he can perform pilgrimage?

Answer: If a person owns a house and there is another house in which it is possible to reside without undue hardship, such as a waqf property, adequate to their needs, it is obligatory to sell the property they own and perform pilgrimage, even if the sale price may need to be supplemented from their other sources of income. This rule also applies to books of learning and other means of living.


25. If a person has enough funds to embark on pilgrimage, but needs to marry, or purchase a house for residence, is it still obligatory to perform pilgrimage?

Answer: If a person has sufficient funds to embark on pilgrimage, but needs to marry, or purchase a house for residence, or satisfy any other need, it is not obligatory on them to perform pilgrimage, provided that bearing the expenses thereof is not going to pose undue difficulty to them.


26. How should a person perform pilgrimage if he has debts?

Answer: A person owes some money and they need it for the expenses of pilgrimage or part thereof. Repayment of the debt has already become due. It is, therefore, obligatory on them to demand it. The debtor may forestall settling the debt and the creditor is in a position to force him to pay, even by way of taking him to court. There may be a case for a possible settling the sum against other payments due to the debtor. It is, therefore, obligatory on the creditor to resort to such measures.

Similarly, even if the repayment is not due, a demand should be made, especially, if payment would be forthcoming on demand. However, the debtor may be impoverished or may defer payment; it may not be possible to enforce settling the debt, or resorting to such an action may result in distress; the debt could be premature and the debtor is unwilling to settle it before the appointed term, and it is possible to assign the debt without causing harm or distress. In such cases, one should do so and, from the proceeds, meet the expenses of pilgrimage or supplement them from other sources if need be.


27. If a person has a stable job, is it obligatory upon him to perform pilgrimage?

Answer: It is obligatory on those making a living of a profession or a vocation like blacksmiths, builders, and carpenters, whose earnings are usually sufficient for maintaining themselves and their family, to perform pilgrimage, should they receive property, by way of inheritance or any other means that would be sufficient to meet the expenditure of pilgrimage and maintenance of their family during their absence.


28. Can a person’s livelihood be derived from religious dues like khums and zakat?

Answer: A person’s livelihood may be derived from religious dues like khums and zakat, and such regular income is assured without difficulty. It is obligatory on them to perform pilgrimage, should they acquire sufficient funds for the journey and maintenance of their family. The same rule applies to the person who is in receipt of lifetime help, or the person whose lifestyle is not going to change, if they undertook the journey to pilgrimage.


29. If a person receives sufficient funds to cover the expenses of pilgrimage by obtaining conditional ownership of property, is it obligatory upon him to perform pilgrimage?

Answer: If a person receives sufficient funds to cover the expenses of pilgrimage by obtaining conditional ownership of property, it is apparent that pilgrimage becomes obligatory on them. That is, if they can prevent the withdrawal of the ownership by selling the article subject of a revocable gift, for example. Otherwise, whether pilgrimage becomes obligatory depends on the decision of the donor or the person vested with the right to exercise the condition which could result in withdrawing the ownership. If such person effects the withdrawal before the completing pilgrimage, it will, evidently, be deemed as though it was not obligatory on them.


30. Is it obligatory for a person to perform hajj with his own money?

Answer: It is not necessary that, in order to embark on pilgrimage, the means be acquired from the person’s own property. It can be acquired by way of gift or be provided by another person. However, if the cloths for ihram during tawaf and its prayer were acquired unlawfully, pilgrimage shall not be valid, as a matter of precaution. If the money paid for the hady (sacrifice) was acquired by unlawful means, the pilgrimage is not acceptable, unless it was bought on credit and was settled from the unlawful money.

And (rule 31): It is not obligatory that the means be acquired by earning a living or other means. If a gift is made to a person which would provide them with the means for pilgrimage, they are not obliged to accept it. Similarly, if a person is offered employment which is compatible with their status and the remuneration thereof would provide them with the means for pilgrimage, they are not under any obligation to accept it. However, if a person renders services during the journey to pilgrimage and thereby acquires the means, performing pilgrimage becomes obligatory.


32. Can a person perform pilgrimage for another person for a remuneration?

Answer: A person could undertake to perform pilgrimage for another person for a remuneration. Thus, they acquire sufficient means for themselves to perform pilgrimage. However, it was made conditional that they performed pilgrimage for the other person in that year. In such a case, they must do so in that year. If, at the time of pilgrimage in the following year, they still have enough funds to make the journey, it becomes obligatory on them to perform it in the ensuing year. However, if there was no condition that they perform pilgrimage for their mandator in the same year, it becomes obligatory on them to perform it for themselves in that year, unless they are confident that they can do so for themselves in the following year.


33. If a person borrows money for hajj, will hajj become obligatory?

Answer: If a person borrows money sufficient to cover the expenses of pilgrimage, it does not become obligatory on them even though they would have the means to repay it on return from the journey. However, if the loan is for a very long period for which debtors do not usually provide, it becomes obligatory.


34. If a person has incurred debts to the value of his entire property, is it then obligatory to perform hajj?

Answer: If a person has incurred debts to the value of his entire property, it is not obligatory on them to perform pilgrimage. There is no difference in this respect between prompt and deferred debts, or whether it was incurred prior or subsequent to the acquisition of the means. The exception, though, is when the debt is not repayable for a very long period, for example of fifty years, for which debtors do not usually provide.


35. If khums or zakah was due on a person and they have funds which would not be sufficient for pilgrimage, is it then obligatory to perform hajj?

Answer: If khums or zakah was due on a person and they have funds which would not be sufficient for pilgrimage, and if they settled such dues, it becomes obligatory on them to settle those liabilities. Thus, pilgrimage is not obligatory on them. It is immaterial whether the liability is on the funds intended for pilgrimage or on arrears.


36. Can a person perform hajj without having paid khums or zakat?

Answer: If pilgrimage has become obligatory on a person and there is a liability on them of khums or zakah or other obligatory dues, they must first settle those liabilities; it is not permissible for them to embark on pilgrimage without having settled them. If the clothes of ihram and what is paid for the sacrifice are from money bearing such liability, the ruling thereof has been discussed in Rule 30.


37. What should a person do if he does not know if the money is enough for hajj?

Answer: If a person has some means, yet they are uncertain whether such will be sufficient to meet the expenses of pilgrimage, they must make ascertain that it will be sufficient, as a matter of precaution.


38. If a person has property sufficient to meet the expenses of the pilgrimage but is not available in cash, is it then obligatory to perform Hajj?

Answer: If a person has property sufficient to meet the expenses of the pilgrimage but is not available in cash or would be sufficient if it supplemented the available cash but there is no possibility of spending from the property or to sell it through an agent, then it is not obligatory to proceed on pilgrimage, or else the pilgrimage becomes obligatory.


39. If a person disposes of the funds in such a way that he can no longer be described as having adequate means, and thus unable to accomplish pilgrimage, is it still obligatory upon the person to perform pilgrimage?

Answer: If a person has sufficient funds to cater for pilgrimage, it is obligatory on them to perform it if they are able to travel. If they dispose of the funds in such a way that they can no longer be described as having adequate means, and thus unable to accomplish pilgrimage, it remains an obligation on him, provided they are certain that they could embark on the journey in good time. However, in the case of disposing of a property for a low price, or by way of gift, without due consideration, the transaction itself is sound, but they are in error for missing the opportunity of having the means that would have enabled them to perform pilgrimage.


40. What should a pilgrim think about when it comes to his funds?

Answer: It is apparent that it is not necessary for the pilgrim to own the means of the expenditure. If he has funds at his disposal, performing pilgrimage becomes obligatory on him, provided that such funds are adequate for the journey, and that the other conditions for pilgrimage are satisfied. However, he should not set out on the journey, unless he was certain that the right of disposing with the funds is binding, or that he was certain that such right is not going to be withdrawn from him.


Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his Family (as)


| Ayatollah Sayyed Ali As-Sistani and Amir Zabidi 


Further reading 


https://www.al-islam.org/mizan-al-hikmah-scale-wisdom/pilgrimage-hajj

https://www.al-islam.org/hajj-rituals-ayatullah-ali-al-husayni-al-sistani/obligation-perform-hajj

https://www.al-islam.org/hajj-rituals-ayatullah-ali-al-husayni-al-sistani/conditions-which-make-hajjatul-islam-obligatory


THE ISLAMIC LAW OF HAJJ | PART.1

Leave a Reply