Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 5: Pilgrimage: a general definition, its excellenceand prerequisites
Allah, the Exalted One, says: "The first House (of worship) appointedfor men was that at Bakka; (Bakka is one of the names of Makkah) full ofblessings and guidance for all kinds of beings: in it are signs manifest (forexample), the station of Abraham-- whoever enters it attains security;pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah--those who can afford thejourney; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of Hiscreatures" (Qur'an 3.96-97).
The majority of the scholars hold that Hajj was prescribed in the sixth yearafter Hijrah (Migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah toMadinah) for it was then that the following verse concerning it was revealed:"And complete the Hajj and 'Umrah in the service of Allah" (Qur'an2.194). This conclusion is based on the understanding that the"completion" in the above verse in fact refers to the time when itwas first made obligatory. This view is also supported by 'Alqamah, Masrouq,and Ibrahim An-Nakh'i, who substitute "And establish" for "Andcomplete" in the above verse, as reported by At-Tabarani on soundauthority. Ibn-al-Qayyim, however, is inclined to the view that Hajj was madeobligatory in the ninth or the tenth year of Hijrah.
The Divine Law Giver exhorted Muslims to perform Hajj. In this regard we mayrefer to the following:
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 andHis 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 faultlessHajj that is free of sin and is graced with Divine acceptance andpleasure)."
Al-Hasan said: "It means that a person after performance of Hajj shoulddesire and be inclined to the life of the Hereafter rather than the materialpleasures of this world." Another report transmitted on sound authorityfrom the Prophet (peace be upon him) says that a righteous performance of Hajjis crowned by feeding the needy and speaking kind words to men.
Al-Hasan ibn Ali says that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) andsaid: "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 AbdurRazzaq and At-Tabarani, and all its narrators are trustworthy.
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Hajjis the jihad for the old, the weak and the women." (This is reported byNasa'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 uponhim) replied: "The best jihad for you is Hajj Mabrur." (Bukhari andMuslim)
In another report 'Aishah says: "I once asked the Prophet (peace beupon him): 'O Prophet of Allah! Should not we (women) strive and activelyparticipate 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 HajjMabrur."' (Bukhari and Muslim) 'Aishah commented: "After hearing thisfrom the Prophet (peace be upon him) I shall never cease performing Hajj."
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Hewho performs Hajj for Allah's pleasure and avoids all lewdness and sins willreturn after Hajj free from all sins as he was the day his mother gave birth tohim." (Bukhari and Muslim)
'Amr ibn al-'As says: "When Allah guided me to Islam, I went to theProphet (peace be upon him) and said to him: 'O Prophet of Allah! Stretch outyour hand so that I may pledge my allegiance to you.' The Prophet (peace beupon 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: 'Iwould 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 (peacebe 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 allsins, 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 removepoverty and sins just as the blacksmith's bellows removes all impurities frommetals like iron, gold and silver. The reward for Hajj Mabrur is nothing shortof Paradise." (Nasa'i and Tirmizhi, who regards it a sound hadith)
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:"Pilgrims and those performing 'Umrah are Allah's guests; their prayersare answered and their supplications for forgiveness are granted. This isreported by Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban in theircollections of Sahih hadith. In the last two we read: "And Allah's guestsare three: A pilgrim performing Hajj, one performing 'Umrah, and a person whofights in the cause of Allah."
Abu Hurairah says the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "All sinscommitted in between the performance of one 'Umrah and another are expiated anderased, and the reward of Hajj Mabrur is nothing save Paradise." (Bukhariand 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 pillarof 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 isgranted Paradise, and if he returns home safely, he returns with reward and gain."
Buraidah reports the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: "Spendingduring Hajj is akin to spending in the cause of Allah, and every dirham thusspent will be rewarded seven hundred times over.'' (Reported by Ibn AbiShaibah, Ahmad, At-Tabarani and Al-Baihaqi)
There is consensus among Muslim scholars that Hajj is obligatory only onceduring the lifetime of a Muslim, unless someone vows to perform extra Hajj, inwhich case he must fulfil his vow. Whatever is done over and above issupererogatory or optional.
Abu Hurairah narrates that once, in a sermon, the Prophet (peace be uponhim) said: "O people! Allah has prescribed Hajj for you, so you mustperform it." A man asked: "Every year, O Prophet of Allah?" TheProphet (peace be upon him) remained silent. When the man repeated it thrice,the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Had I said 'yes', it would havebecome a yearly obligation, and this would have been beyond your power."Then he added: "Leave me alone so long as I leave you alone (i.e., do notpester me with questions about things which I omit and do not mention). Somepeople who lived before you were destroyed because they asked too manyquestions and disagreed with their Prophets. So when I command you to dosomething, you must obey and do it to the best of your power, and if I forbidyou from something, then avoid it." (Bukhari and Muslim)
Ibn 'Abbas narrates that once the Prophet (peace be upon him) addressed usand said: "O People! Hajj has been prescribed for you." At thisAl-Aqra' bin Habis stood up and asked: "O Prophet of Allah! Are we toperform Hajj every year?" The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "HadI said 'yes', it would have become a (yearly) obligation, and had it become a(yearly) obligatory duty you would have failed to keep it. Hajj is obligatoryonly once in one's lifetime. Whatever one does over and above this issupererogatory (a voluntary act) for him. (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Daw' ud,Nasa' i and Al-Hakim, who regards it a sound hadith)
Ash-Shafi'i, Ath-Thawri, Al-Awza'i and Mohammad bin al-Hasan are of theopinion that Hajj may be performed at any time during one's life, and there isnothing wrong if someone, for whom it is obligatory, delays it until a laterdate in his (or her) life, for, although Hajj was prescribed in the 6th year ofHijrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) delayed it until the 10th year ofHijrah 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) wouldhave never delayed it.
Ash-Shafi'i says: "We, therefore, are convinced that Hajj is obligatoryupon a Muslim, male or female, from the age of puberty until before hisdeath."
Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ahmad, some of Ash-Shafi'i's followers and Abu Yusuf areof the opinion that Hajj must be performed as soon as one is (physically andfinancially) in a position to do so. This opinion is based on a hadith that isrelated by Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He whointends to perform Hajj let him do so expeditiously, for he may well fall sick,may lose his mount (ability to bear expenses of the jaurney) or he may beprevented by some other exigency.'' (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Baihaqi, At-Tahawiand Ibn Majah) In another report by Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi, we read that theProphet (peace be upon him) said: "Hasten to perform Hajj - the basicobligation - for you don't know what might happen to you," meaning "onemay fall sick or be prevented by some other exigency." The earlierscholars interpreted these ahadith saying it was commendable for a person toperform Hajj as soon as possible provided he had the ability to do so.
There is a consensus among jurists concerning the prerequisites that must befound 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. Allthese conditions, that is, being a Muslim, being of adult age and of soundmind, being free, and possessing the power to discharge a duty are equally validwith respect to all other forms of worship in Islam. This is based on a hadithof the Prophet (peace be upon him) which says: "Three persons are not tobe held accountable: a sleeping person until he awakes, a minor until he comesof age, and a mentally disturbed person until he regains his reason."
Freedom is an essential prerequisite for Hajj, for this worship needs timeas well as financial ability. A slave lacks both, for all his time is spent inthe service of his master, and financially he lacks the ability to undertakethis obligation. The Qur'an says: "Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe toAllah - those who can afford the journey" (3.97).