The Obligation of Hajj (Pilgrimage) and its Excellence

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The Obligation of Hajj (Pilgrimage) and its Excellence

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka`bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e., denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah], then Allah stands not in need of any of the `Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).'' (3:97)

1271. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "(The superstructure of) Islam is based on five (pillars), testifying the fact that La ilaha illallah wa anna Muhammad-ar-Rasul-ullah [there is no true god except Allah, and Muhammad ((PBUH)) is the Messenger of Allah], establishing As-Salat (the prayers), paying Zakat (poor due), the pilgrimage to the House [of Allah (Ka`bah)], and the Saum (fasting) during the month of Ramadan.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith has been mentioned earlier. Here it has been repeated in support of the obligation of the fourth pillar of Islam. Thus, Hajj is compulsory for a person who fulfills the qualifications required for it and has the means for it.

1272. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) delivered a Khutbah and said, "O people! Hajj (pilgrimage to the House of Allah) has been made incumbent upon you, so perform Hajj.'' A man inquired: "O Messenger of Allah, is it prescribed every year?'' He (PBUH) remained silent till the man repeated it thrice. Then he (PBUH) said, "Had I replied in the affirmative, it would have surely become obligatory, and you would not have been able to fulfill it.'' Afterwards he said, "Do not ask me so long as I do not impose anything upon you, because those who were before you were destroyed on account of their frequent questioning and their disagreement with their Prophets. So when I order you to do something, do it as far as you can; and when I forbid you from doing anything, eschew it.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith brings out the following points:

1. Hajj is compulsory once in a lifetime for those who have the means for it.

2. Unnecessary questioning is disliked.

3. Those who believe in Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) are required to do what they are ordained and abstain from what they are forbidden.

1273. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) was asked: "Which deed is the best?'' He (PBUH) replied, "Faith in Allah and His Messenger.'' Then he was asked: "What is next?'' He replied, "Jihad (holy fighting) in the Cause of Allah.'' Then he was asked, "What is after that?'' He (PBUH) replied, "Hajj Mabrur (an accepted pilgrimage).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith points out the fact that Hajj is one of the most prominent religious acts, provided it is done sincerely and keeping oneself away from sins. Some people have interpreted the word "Hajj Mabrur''  as an accepted Hajj. They say that the sign of an accepted Hajj is that one becomes a true worshipper of Allah, which he was previously not.

1274. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  The true meanings of "Rafath'' sexual intercourse but it also signifies obscene and frivolous talk and the __expression of sexual desire to one's wife. Since coition with one's wife is forbidden during Hajj, so conversation with her on this subject or talking for amusement is also disliked. "Fisq''   means disobedience of Allah and quarrelling with people. One must avoid both of them during Hajj. The Hajj which is performed with all these restrictions, has the merit that one is totally purged of sins. But this purification is from sins which come in the category of minor sins and which relate to the Rights of Allah. Major sins relating to the Rights of Allah and lapses in respect of the rights of people are not pardoned without sincere repentance and compensation to the aggrieved.

1275. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "(The performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous `Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (i.e., one accepted) is nothing but Jannah.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith tells us that the merit of `Umrah is that it is an expiation for sins. But this, too, is an expiation for minor sins. `Umrah includes assuming Ihram, circumambulation of Ka`bah, going between As-Safa and Al-Marwah and Halq or Taqsir (shaving of head or cutting hair). Whether or not `Umrah is an obligation like Hajj is arguable among the `Ulama'. Some people, like Imam As-Shafi`i, hold that it is obligatory; others like the followers of the Hanafi school of thought regard it Sunnah Mu`akkadah; still others think it to be voluntary. Imam Al-Bukhari is inclined to the first view which is also endorsed by sayings of some Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) about which some Muhaddithun (scholars of Hadith) have even claimed that these sayings are Mausul, the chain of narrators reaches up to the Prophet (PBUH). (For further details, please see Fath Al-Bari.) Otherwise, the view that it is non-obligatory is preferable.

1276. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: I said: "O Messenger of Allah! We consider Jihad as the best deed, should we not then go for Jihad?'' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The best Jihad for you women is Hajj Mabrur (i.e., one accepted by Allah).''
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary:  In ordinary circumstances, Hajj is the best of Jihad for women because in Islam, politics, economy, government, military affairs etc., come in the purview of men and men alone. Women are exempted from all such matters. However, in case of war, if the need arises, women can be engaged for supply of food, first-aid of the wounded etc., on the internal front, provided they can do such works without crossing the bounds of the Islamic-type veil. But imparting military training to women and dispatching them to war front are sheer imitations of the western nations for which there is no scope in the teachings of Islam. This Hadith also confirms this view.

1277. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "There is no day on which Allah sets free more slaves from Hell than He does on the Day of `Arafah.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: Almighty Allah emancipates most of His slaves, both men and women from the Hell-fire on this great day. Millions of pilgrims, who by virtue of their sincere repentance, try to seek the Pleasure of Allah certainly stand to earn Allah's Pardon for their sins and thereby emancipation from the Hell-fire. May Allah grant us this grace of His.

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