Hajj Rulings of Ayatullah Sistani
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2044. Hajj (pilgrimage) means visiting the House of Allah (Ka'bah), and performing all those worshipful acts which have been ordered to be performed there. It is obligatory on a person once in his lifetime, provided that he fulfils the following conditions:
1. He should be baligh.
2. He should be sane and free, that is, he should not be insane and should not be a slave.
3. Because of proceeding to Makkah for Hajj, he should not be obliged to commit a haraam act, avoidance of which is more important than Hajj, nor should he be compelled to forsake an obligatory work which is more important than Hajj.
4. He should be capable of performing Hajj, and this depends upon number of factors:
(a) He should possess provisions and means for transportation, if need be, or he should have enough money to buy them.
(b) He should be healthy and strong enough to go to Makkah and per form Hajj, without suffering extreme difficulties.
(c) There should be no obstacle on the way. If the way is closed, or if a person fears that he will lose his life, or honour, while on his way to Makkah, or he will berobbed of his property, it is not obligatory on him to perform Hajj. But if he can reach Makkah by another route, he should go to perform Hajj, even if the other route is a longer one. But that route should not be unusually longer.
(d) He should have enough time to reach Makkah, and to perform all the acts of worship in Hajj.
(e) He should possess sufficient money to meet the expenses of his dependents whose maintenance is obligatory on him, like, his wife and children, as well as the expenses of those who have to be paid, like, servants, maids, etc.
(f) On return from Hajj, he should have some means of livelihood, like, income from the property, farming, business, employment etc. so that he may not lead a life of hardship.
2045. When a person is in need of owning a house, performance of Hajj will be obligatory on him if he also possesses money for the house.
2046. If a wife can go to Makkah but does not have any means of support on her return, and if her husband is also poor, and cannot provide her subsistence, subjecting her to hard life, Hajj will not be obligatory on her.
2047. If a person does not possess necessary provision for the journey, nor any means of transport, and another person asks him to go for Hajj undertaking to meet his expenses as well as of his family during his Hajj, and he (i.e. the person who is asked to go for Hajj) is satisfied with what the other man offers, Hajj becomes obligatory on him.
2048. If a person is offered the expenses of his return journey to Makkah, as well as the expenses of his family during the period of Hajj, Hajj becomes obligatory on him, even if he is indebted, and does not possess means of support with which to lead his life after his return.
But if the days of Hajj and the days of his work coincide, meaning that if he abandons his work and goes for Hajj, he will not be able to pay his debts in time, nor support himself for the rest of the year, Hajj will not be Wajib on him.
2049. If a person is given expenses of going to and returning from Makkah, and the expenses of his family during that period, and is asked to go to Hajj without mentioning that the help given is his property, performance of Hajj becomes obligatory on him, if he is satisfied that it will not be taken back from him.
2050. If a person is given an amount to cover expenses just sufficient for Hajj, with a condition that on his way to Makkah he will serve the person who gave the expenses, Hajj does not become obligatory on him.
2051. If a person is given monetary help to enable him to perform obligatory Hajj, and he does perform Hajj, another Hajj will not become obligatory on him if he himself becomes wealthy.
2052. If a person goes, for example, to Jeddah in connection with trade, and acquires sufficient money to go to Makkah, he should perform Hajj. And if he performs Hajj, performance of another Hajj will not be obligatory on him, if he later acquires enough wealth to enable to go to Makkah from his hometown.
2053. If a person is hired to perform Hajj on behalf of another person, but he cannot go for Hajj himself, and wishes to send someone else, he should seek permission from the person who hired him.
2054. If a person could afford to perform Hajj but did not perform it, and then became poor, he should perform Hajj facing all odds. And if he is not at all able to go for Hajj, and if another person hires him for Hajj, he should go to Makkah and perform Hajj on behalf of the person who has hired him. He should then remain in Makkah for a year if possible, and perform his own Hajj.
But, if it is possible that he is hired and given his wages in cash, and the person who hires him agrees that he may perform Hajj on his behalf next year, he should perform his own Hajj in the first year, and that on behalf of the person who has hired him, in the second year, if he feels that he might not be able to perform his own Hajj in the following year.
2055. If a person goes to Makkah in the year in which he can afford to perform Hajj, but cannot reach Arafat and Mash'arul Haram at the prescribed time, and cannot afford to go for Hajj during the succeeding years, Hajj is not obligatory on him. But, if he could afford to go for Hajj in the earlier years, and did not go, he should perform Hajj in spite of all difficulties.
2056. If a person did not perform Hajj in the year in which he could afford to go for Hajj, and cannot perform Hajj now owing to old age, or ailment, or weakness, and does not hope that in the future, he will be able to perform Hajj in person, he should send someone else to perform Hajj on his behalf.
In fact, even if he does not lose hope, the obligatory precaution is that he should hire a person. And when he becomes capable afterwards, he should perform Hajj himself also. And the same applies if a person becoming capable of going to Hajj for the first time, is prevented to perform Hajj because of old age, ailment or weakness, and loses hope of gaining strength. In all these cases, however, he should, as a recommended precaution, hire a male person, and the one who is going to Hajj for the first time.
2057. A person who has been hired by another person to perform Hajj should perform Tawafun Nisa also on his behalf, failing which his own wife (i.e. the wife of the hired person) becomes haraam for him.
2058. If a person does not perform Tawafun Nisa correctly, or forgets to perform it, and if he remembers it after a few days and returns to perform it, his action is in order. And if his returning is difficult for him, he can depute another person to perform the Tawaf on his behalf.
Hajj : The Pilgrimage to Mecca Introduction
The pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) is one of the fundmental obligations in Islamic laws. The holy Qur’a~n has clearly mentioned this obligation. Almighty Alla~h says in His holy Book: “And it is for the sake of Alla~h [a duty] upon the people to do the pilgrimage of the House—whosoever has the ability [to travel] to it. And whosoever is ungrateful, then surely Alla~h is free from need of the universe.” (2:196) The Almighty has compared the negligence of hajj to ingratitude because of its importance.
Hajj is one of the five pillars on which Islam is based. In a noble hadi'th, Imam al-Ba~qir (a.s.) said,
“Islam is based on five pillars: on prayer (sala~t), alms (zaka~t), pilgrimage (hajj), fasting (sawm), and devotion [to the Ahlul Bayt] (wila~ya)." Tafsilu Wasa'ili 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 1, p. 20.
Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Ta~lib (a.s.) advised about hajj by saying,
“Do not neglect the pilgrimage to the House of your Lord; otherwise you will perish." Ibid, vol. 11, p. 23.
Imam as-Sa~diq (a.s.) said,
“If the people neglect the pilgrimage to the House, the chastisement will overwhelm them and they would not be warned [about it].” Ibid, p. 22.
This is so because neglecting hajj while the person is in a position to fulfill all its conditions is a great sin. A hadi'th says,
“When a person is capable of doing the pilgrimage but does not do it, he has indeed flouted a law from the laws of Islam.” Ibid, p. 28.
Another noble hadi'th says,
“One who keeps postponing hajj until he dies, Alla~h will resurrect him on the Day of Judgement as a Jew or a Christian.” Shaykh as-Sadûq, Muhammad bin 'Ali Ibn Babwayh, Man La Yahdhuruhu 'l-Faqih, vol. 4, p. 266.
Hajj- General Rules
When a Muslim becomes capable, hajj becomes obligatory upon him. By “capability” we mean the following:
(a) Availability of enough time to travel to the holy places and stay there for performing the obligatory rites.
(b) Physical health and strength, observing to travel to the holy places, and staying there for the obligatory rituals.
(c) The road through which one has to pass for performing the rituals be open and secure, in the sense that it does not place the life or property or honour of the pilgrim in undue danger.
(d) Financial ability: One should be able to get whatever is necessary for the pilgrim in his journey; e.g., food, drink, clothes, including the means of transportation according to his status by which he can cover the distance for hajj.
(e) The financial position of the person should be such that by travelling for hajj or by spending from his wealth for it, he would not be putting himself and his dependents in need and poverty.
This is a kind of pilgrimage that is obligatory upon those who live in other countries i.e. far away from Mecca. Hajj Tamattu‘ consists of two rituals: the first is known as ‘umrah, and the second hajj.
In ‘Umrah, five things are obligatory:
(a) Putting on the pilgrim’s dress (ihra~m) from one of the miqa~ts. Mawa~qi't (plural of miqa~t) are locations [around the holy territory of Mecca] that shari'‘a has specifically fixed for putting on the ihra~m.
a. Circumambulating (tawa~f) around the Ka‘ba seven times.
b. The sala~t of tawa~f.
c. Sa‘i (i.e., brisk walking) between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times.
d. Taqsi'r: cutting off a little bit of your hair or cutting the nail.
The obligatory acts of hajj tamattu‘ are thirteen as follows:
Putting on the ihra~m from Mecca.
(a) Staying in ‘Arafa~t on the 9th of Dhu ’l-Hijja.
(b) Staying a part of the night (eve of 10th Dhu ’l-Hijja) until sunrise in Muzdalifa.
(c) Stoning the smaller pillar in Mina on the day of ‘Eid (i.e., 10th of Dhu ’l-Hijja).
(d) Sacrificing an animal in Mina on the day of ‘Eid or during the days of tashri'q [i.e., 11th to 13th of Dhu ’l-Hijja].
(e) Shaving one’s head or doing taqsi'r in Mina. By doing this, the pilgrim is free from the restrictions of ihra~m, except the use of perfume and sexual contact with women. Based on obligatory precaution, the restriction of hunting continues even after shaving or taqsi'r.
(f) Tawa~f of Ziya~rat seven times after returning to Mecca.
(g) Sala~t of Tawa~f.
(h) Sa‘i between Safa and Marwa seven times. With this, the restriction of using perfume is also lifted.
(i) Tawa~f of Nisa~’ seven times.
(j) Sala~t of Tawa~t of Nisa~’. With this, sexual contact with women becomes permissible.
(k) Staying during over night in Mina on the eve of 11th and 12th Dhu ’l-hijja. And also, under some circumstance, the eve of 13th Dhu ’l-hijja.
(l) Stoning the three pillars in Mina on the 11th and the 12th of Dhu ’l-hijja. And also, under some circumstance, on the day of 13th Dhu ’l-hijja.
Questions and Answers from Current legal issues & Contemporary legal rulings books
Question: Is it permissible to put on the ihra~m for hajj from the city of Jeddah? If it is not permissible, what should one do since the plane lands in Jeddah?
Answer: Jeddah is neither a miqa~t nor parallel to any of the miqa~ts; therefore, it is not in order to put on the ihra~m from there for ‘umrah or hajj. However, if one knows that between Jeddah and the Haram [the holy territory around Mecca], there is a place which is parallel to one of the miqa~ts —this is not improbable, if one looks for a parallel of Juhfah— he can put on the ihra~m from there by offering nadhr. [Nadhr means making a vow in the name of Alla~h that he will put on the ihram from place x.]
Question: While shaving the head in Mina, if the pilgrim’s head is injured and blood flows out, what should he do in that case? And what are the implications [as far as penalty is concerned]?
Answer: If the injury was not intentional, there is nothing upon him.
Question: It is recommended to perform hajj every year. However, there are many poor Muslims who are in dire need of food and clothing in various Muslim countries. If it comes to making a choice between spending the money for hajj repeatedly or ziya~rat (pilgrimage to the shrine of one of the Infallibles [a.s.]) and between giving in charity for those believers—which is more meritorious?
Answer: In principle, helping those needy Muslims is better than a recommended hajj or ziya~rat of the holy shrines. However, at times the hajj or the ziya~rat is associated with certain other issues that can elevate them to the same or even higher status of virtue.
Question: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia assigns the places for pilgrims in ‘Arafa~t and Mina. We do not know whether or not those appointed places are within the boundaries required by the shari‘a? Are we obliged to inquire and ask about the matter?
Answer: If it is within the known boundaries and the signs that are normally known for religious rites from generation to generation, it is not necessary to inquire about it.
Question: It has been said that some parts or the entire area of slaughtering in Mina is outside the boundary. Is it therefore obligatory upon us to ascertains the fact before the slaughtering? Knowing that ascertaining about one area and then going towards the other and again ascertaining about it is a difficult task, especially on the day of Eid, as you yourself know, where the time is also a factor. So what is the solution?
Answer: It is obligatory to ascertain in order to do the slaughtering inside Mina. If it is not possible because of overcrowding in Mina, it is permissible to do it in the valley of Muhassar. Moreover, the timing of slaughtering is not restricted to the day of Eid; it can be done till the last day of the days of tashri'q [i.e., till the 13th of Dhu ’l-Hijja].
Question: Pilgrims are faced with one more problem regarding slaughtering, which poses more of a mental anguish: the animals slaughtered [in Mina] are wasted in spite of the fact that there are many poor people amongst us spread all over the Muslim countries who go without tasting meat for days! So is it acceptable for us to do the slaughtering in our own cities; or is there a religious solution that you can suggest for the people?
Answer: It is necessary to fulfill the religious duty by doing the slaughtering in Mina. As for the sin of wasting the meat of the animals slaughtered, if it actually happens, it is on the shoulders of the authorities in charge.
Question: If the exam schedule for a student conflicts with the timing of the hajj, is it permissible for him to postpone the hajj that year especially if the exam was very important for him?
Answer: If he is sure that he will be able to perform hajj in the following year, it is permissible for him to postpone it; otherwise, it is not permissible. However, if postponing the exam will cause difficulty to such an extent that it is normally unbearable, it is not obligatory on him to perform hajj that year.
Question: A person on whom hajj had become obligatory but he has not yet fulfilled it—is such a person allowed to go for ‘umrah in the month of Rajab? What if hajj became obligatory on him in Ramadha~n, can he go for ‘umrah [before performing hajj]?
Answer: The ‘umrah mufrada (minor pilgrimage done off-season) is permissible for him. However, if going to ‘umrah would financially prevent him from going for hajj, then it is not permissible for him to do ‘umrah.
Question: A single young man has become capable to perform hajj; he is also thinking about marriage. Now if he goes for hajj, his marriage ceremony will be delayed for a while. Which of the two is preferable [marriage or pilgrimage]?
Answer: He should perform the hajj and postpone the marriage unless postponing the marriage entails difficulty to the extent that it be comes unbearable. And Allah knows the best.
Q57: A man who is financially able in a particular year is prevented from travelling because he could not obtain a visa to perform the hajj in that year. Then, he is forced to spend the money which was set aside for hajj, after the season, to fulfill his living needs. Thereafter, he is not able to obtain the money needed to perform the hajj.
A: If he acquires the ability in later years, then hajj is obligatory for him, and if he does not acquire the ability, then it is not obligatory for him. (FM, pp. 403-4)
Q58: What if I am able to perform hajj this year while I am a student at the University or high school and it happens that the time of travelling for hajj conflicts with my final exams such that the trip for hajj would lead to my failure and loss of a school year, which causes me extreme material and emotional difficulty.
A: As long as your travel for hajj causes you extreme difficulty as you said, it is permissible for you to abandon the hajj for that year. (FM, p. 404)
Q59: From which direction should one throw pebbles at jamratu-l-ëaqabah (in Mina)?
A: Stone it from the front [because it is not permissible to stone it from the back]. (FM, p. 404)
Q60: What is the ruling on one who enters the state of ihram from Jeddah, instead of Johfah, because of ignorance?
A: If he made a nadhr for the ihram in Jeddah, then his ihram is valid. (FM, p. 404)
Q61: Is one permitted after tawaf and saëy, to cut the hair (taqsir) of someone else who has requested him to do so, before cutting his own?
A: It is not permissible for one to attend to the taqsir of others before his own. (FM, p. 404)
Q.8) A young person, who has the means to perform hajj, had to sit his exams at the time of hajj. If he were to go for hajj, this would have affected his results and consequently his study. What should he do?
If he was sure of his financial ability to perform hajj at a later year, it is permissible for him to delay it. Otherwise - as it happens - performing hajj becomes obligatory in the year in question. Of course, if in so doing he may fail the exams, for example, and that this eventuality would pose him with a great embarrassment, so much so that his position would become untenable, it would not become obligatory.
(Q.9) A financially able person did not perform hajj yet. Is it permissible for him to perform umrah (lesser pilgrimage) during the month of Rajab? What if he became able during the month of Ramadhan? Could he do umrah?
Umrah Mufradah (a type of lesser pilgrimage that can be performed at any time, except the days of hajj "greater pilgrimage" during Thil Hijja) would be in order. However, if his travel for umrah could result in him being unable to perform hajj later on, it is not permissible for him to do that.
(Q.10) A single young man has, rather belatedly, contemplated getting married. If he were to delay arrangements for his marriage and embark on the hajj journey, his marriage could be postponed for a while. Which one takes precedence over the other?
He should go to hajj and delay the marriage, unless forbearance with being bachelor would make his position untenable. Allah is All Knowing.
Dialogue on Hajj from Jurisprudence made Easy book
My father spoke of his experience of his first pilgrimage in a way akin to someone who had remembered a true love. I could see his true feeling in the twinkle of his eyes, the smile on his face, and the reverence of his words.
When I told him what I had noticed of his state, when he recalled that experience, he said to me:
Yes, son, “Haven’t you recited the words of The Sublime,
“And when We made the House a pilgrimage for men and a (place of) security..”. (2/125).
And His words, quoting His Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.),
“O our Lord! surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Thy Sacred House, our Lord! that they may keep up prayer; therefore make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits; haply they may be grateful”. (14/37).
My heart longs for that Sacred House.
My father cast his eyes down and, in a soft and melodious voice, recited poetry in praise of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and remembrance of the Holy places he had visited on his first pilgrimage. Raising his eyes, and addressing me, he said, “My maiden hajj left an indelible mark in my heart, the memory of which is rekindled every year, especially, at the time of hajj. I always pray to the Almighty to grace me with the favour of making the trip to Mekkah time and again.
There I interjected and asked him:
Is it obligatory that you go to hajj more than once?
- No, it is obligatory to do hajj once, provided you can afford it. Allah says in His Holy Book,
“.. and pilgrimage is incumbent on men for the sake of Allah, (on) every one who is able to undertake the journey to it..” (3/97).
Any number of pilgrimages made after the first one is mustahab.
* Would you tell me the story of your first pilgrimage, which is so close to your heart?
- I went to “al-Juhfa”, one of the mawaqeet (sites appointed by Islamic sharia law for pilgrims to wear their ihram). After I took off my clothes, I made niyyah for umrah tamatu’, leading to hajj, seeking the pleasure of and closeness to Allah, I put on my ihram (special two-piece seamless attire worn by pilgrims. Also, the state of consecration during which the pilgrim refrains from certain acts, such as not combing, not shaving, and observing sexual continence). One of these two white garments is worn like a sarong, and the other used to cover the shoulder and the upper body. I, then, chanted the talbiya.
No sooner had I uttered the word “Labbayk”, shivers went down my spine. I was in a serene state of mind that was triggered by a kind of devotion I never experienced before. It was an experience of fear and submission to the Creator.
The other acts you are forbidden from, once you enter the state of consecration are:
(a) looking into the mirror for dressing,
(b) protecting oneself against the sun [and rain],
(c) covering one’s head,
(d) wearing sewn clothes and socks, and
(e) some other acts, as detailed in the books of jurisprudence.
* And after ihram, what did you do?
- I headed towards Holy Mekkah, in a state of tahara, to do seven rounds of tawaf around the Old House (Ka’ba), starting each round from the Black Stone. Having completed tawaf, I said a two-ruku’ prayer behind the station of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.).
I then went for Sa’y (seven laps of brisk walking between the mounds of Safa and Marwah - an obligatory part of hajj rituals), starting from Safa.
On completing the seventh lap, I made taqseer, by cutting some of my hair. By this act, I completed the Umrah of Hajj. Thereafter, I took off my ihram and waited for the 8th day of Thil Hijja “Yawmut Tarwiyah - Lit. satisfying thirst or giving attention, i.e. when Ibrahim (a.s.) gave attention to the vision wherein he was instructed to sacrifice his son Ismael”. On that day, I wore my ihram, in Mekkah this time, after making niyyah for hajj, said the talbiyah, and headed for Arafat, aboard an open top vehicle. I had to do wuquf (devotional stay at Arafat, Mash’ar and Mina as part of hajj rituals). This was performed at the start of noon of the 9th of Thil Hijja till sunset.
Leaving Arafat, after sunset, I set out for “Muzdalifa” and stayed overnight, for I had to be there at the sunrise of the 10th of Thil Hijja. After sunrise, I set out for “Mina”. With me were stones I gathered during my stay at Muzdalifa. In Mina, I had to perform three types of obligations:
1. Throwing seven stones successively at Jamarah of al-Aqabah (Pl. Jamarat: Places of the three stone slabs representing the devil, at Mina).
2. Slaughtering sacrificial offering at Mina.
3. Shaving my head at Mina.
On completing these acts, I came out of the state of ihram, whereby I could do certain acts that were forbidden to me before, except seeking lawful pleasure with women, wearing perfume, [and hunting]. Thereafter, I headed for Mekkah for the second time to do tawaf of hajj, say tawaf prayer, and do sa’y between Safa and Marwah, in exactly the same way I did, on my arrival at Mekkah. Having completed that, I performed tawafun nisa’ (lit. women’s circumambulation: an integral part of hajj devotion, after which and its prayer, sexual relations between man and wife returns to normal).
I, then, returned to Mina to stay the overnight of the 11th and the 12th of Thil Hijja till the afternoon of the 12th. On each of these two days, I performed the ritual of throwing stones at the three Jamarat, the first, the one in the middle, and al-Aqaba, in this order.
Come midday of the twelfth of Thil Hijja, while still at Mina, I said Dhuhr prayer and left for Mekkah. Thus, I performed all the prescribed duties of hajj.
Despite the crowds and sweltering heat, which took their toll on me, I ensured that I executed all the obligations called for correctly. Hajj is a solemn occasion for seeking closeness to Allah Almighty through prayer, devotion and sincere rectitude.
Afterwards, I left Mekkah for Madina where I paid homage to the holy shrine of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) and the tombs of Fatima az-Zahra’ and Imams al-Hassan, Ali bin al-Hussain, Mohammad al-Baqir, and Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) at al-Baqi’ cemetery.
I, also, visited historic mosques, the tomb of al-Hamza, the Prophet’s uncle, and other sacred sites around Madina.
This, in short, was the story of my first pilgrimage. When the time comes that you can afford the journey to Mekkah after you have paid zakat and khums that render your property and other worldly possessions pure, I’ll explain to you, in some detail, every step you should take. May Providence grace you with making pilgrimage to His House.
* Before we end this dialogue, could I ask you about those religious dues that, as you put it, purify one’s property.
- Not now, for talking of zakat and khums could take some time. However, I’m going to dedicate separate dialogues for each one of them, Inshallah (God Willing).
* Very well, father. Do I take it that you are going to talk to me about zakat next time round, then about khums?
- If you so choose. Inshallah .
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