The Obligation of Hajj

When we are asked the meaning of Hajj, pilgrimage is usually the first word that pops up in our mind, but we need to recognize the difference between meanings/definitions and translations

Pilgrimage is the translation of Hajj in English, but Hajj in itself is defined as intention

Yes surprisingly enough Hajj also means intention, so the meaning of the words of Allah, the Most High in Surah Al’ Imran (97) is the intention to visit the House of Allah.

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ

(Aal Imran, 3:97)

“In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.”

It has been said that Hajj is an obligatory act but as a species who claim to have intelligence, we require proofs and evidences for any statement made, so here are the proofs that mandate Hajj obligatory:

1.

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ 

(Aal-Imran, 3:97)

In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds

وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ     

(Al-Baqarah, 2:196)

And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of the Prophet) The Hajj and ‘Umrah (i.e.the pilgrimage to Makkah)

  1. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah stood up and said:

Allah, Most High, has decreed Hajj for you. Al-Aqra’ bin Habis At-Tamimi said: “Every year, O Messenger of Allah?” But he remained silent, then he said: “If I said yes, it would become obligatory, then you would not hear and obey. Rather it is just one Hajj.”

  1. Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

  1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).
  2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
  3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity).
  4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
  5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan

All these evidences indicate to the fact that Hajj is indeed obligatory. It is obligatory to perform it once, anything more is voluntary

Now that we have established the fact that Hajj is an obligation, let us now see on whom is it obligatory, is it obligatory for all the Muslims or are there some specifics that need to be highlighted.

There are five conditions that make Hajj obligatory on a person:

1 – Being Muslim

This applies to all acts of worship, because worship done by a kaafir is not valid.

2 and 3 – being of sound mind and being an adult

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“The pen is lifted from three [and does not record their deeds]: from one who is sleeping, until he wakes up; from a child until he reaches puberty, and from one who is insane until he comes to his senses.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4403; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

So a child is not obliged to perform Hajj, but if his parents take him for Hajj, his Hajj is valid; the child will have the reward of Hajj and his parents will also have a reward, because when a woman lifted up a child and asked, “Is there Hajj for this one?” the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Yes, and you will have the reward.” Narrated by Muslim

4 – Being free

Hajj is not obligatory for a slave, because he is distracted by his duties towards his master.

5 – Being able to do it

This includes being able both physically and financially.

What is meant by being physically able is that one is sound in body and can bear the hardship of travelling to the sacred House of Allah.

What is meant by being financially able is that a person should have surplus funds that are sufficient for doing Hajj after paying off debts and taking care of shar’i obligations and basic needs

If a person is physically and financially able to do Hajj, then he is obliged to hasten to do Hajj.

  • If he is not physically and financially able, or if he is physically able but he is poor and has no wealth, then he is not obliged to do Hajj.
  • If a person is financially able but he is not physically able, then we look at the matter further.
  • If his problem is something that he hopes will disappear, such as a sickness from which he hopes to recover, then he should wait until Allah heals him, then do Hajj.
  • If his problem is one for which there is no hope that it will disappear, such as a person with cancer or an old person who cannot do Hajj, then he has to appoint someone to do Hajj on his behalf, and the duty to perform Hajj is not waived because of his physical inability if he is financially able.

The evidence for that is the report narrated by Bukhari (1513) according to which a woman said:

“O Messenger of Allah, Allah’s command to the people to perform Hajj has come when my father is an old man and cannot sit firmly in the saddle. Can I perform Hajj on his behalf?” He said: “Yes.”

Therefore, in this article we have now learnt that Hajj is obligatory and then have learnt on whom it is obligatory. In Sha Allah in our next article we shall look into the benefits and virtues of Hajj.

Refer to https://islamqa.info/en/41957 for more insight on those whom Hajj is obligatory on
Click on the ahadith to know their references

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