Leaving Off Hajj Despite Capability

Leaving Off Hajj Despite Capability
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Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {…And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way….} [Quran 3:97]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever possesses sufficient provisions and means of journey to perform Hajj and yet does not do so, let him die as a Jew or a Christian."

Hajj is obligatory for whoever is capable, as stated by Allah The Almighty and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). It is obligatory once in a lifetime according to the consensus of scholars and the Hadeeth (narration) reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them which states that when the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) ordered people to perform Hajj, he was asked if that should be done every year. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: "If I were to say ‘yes’, it would become obligatory (for you to perform Hajj every year) and you would not be able to do it."

If the conditions of capability are met, would it be obligatory to perform Hajj immediately or is it permissible to delay it to another year?

According to the majority of scholars  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them: “It is obligatory on an immediate basis and whoever delays it to another year is a sinner, for if he dies, he will be held accountable for this, if Allah does not forgive him.” Their proof is the Hadeeth in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever wants to perform Hajj, let him make haste. For verily, you may get ill, the riding animal may get lost and [other] needs may arise.” [Ahmad, Ibn Maajah and Al-Bayhaqi] Another narration reads: "Hasten to perform Hajj (meaning the obligatory Hajj) for verily one of you does not know what will happen to him."

However, Ash-Shaafi‘i  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him held the view that it could be performed at one's leisure. That is to say, a person is not a sinner for delaying it as long as he performs it before his death. His proof is that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) delayed Hajj until 10 A.H. and he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was accompanied by his wives and many of his Companions  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them although Hajj was made obligatory in the sixth year after Hijrah. If it had been obligatory on an immediate basis, he would not have delayed it.

However, Ash-Shaafi‘i  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said that it is better to make haste to perform Hajj according to the above-mentioned narrations which he interpreted in terms of recommendation, not obligation.

He added to them another Hadeeth in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Allah The Almighty Says, 'A slave whom I gave sound health and ample provisions, and does not visit Me for five years is indeed bereft.'" [Reported by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, and Al-Bayhaqi]

In addition, Allah The Exalted Says (what means):

·        {…And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way….} [Quran 3:97]

·        {…But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.} [Quran 3:97]

Al-Hasan Al-Basri  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “The word ‘Disbelieves’ here refers to abandoning Hajj.

This resembles the case of the Hadeeth narrated by Muslim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him which states that whoever abandons prayer is a disbeliever. However, Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him as well as other eminent scholars said that disbelief only occurs by denying the obligation and disbelieving that Hajj is a duty. However, if one believes that it is an obligation and a duty but he is reluctant to perform it, then he is not a disbeliever; rather, he is a disobedient believer. If he does not perform Hajj in spite of being able to do so, Allah The Almighty will hold him accountable after his death and make him enter Hell if He does not forgive him, though his final destination will be Paradise.

Concerning the Hadeeth: "He who possesses sufficient provisions and means of journey for performing Hajj and yet does not do so, let him die the death of a Jew or a Christian." [At-Tirmithi and Al-Bayhaqi narrated a similar Hadeeth], it does not indicate disbelieving with certainty, and it refers to the one who denies the obligation of Hajj and it is only interpreted in terms of encouraging making haste to perform Hajj.

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