Why Someone Performing the Pilgrimage Has to Perform a Sacrifice?

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: Why is it that someone performing Hajj has to perform a sacrifice? Why does this not apply to the residents of Mecca?

Answer: Performing the sacrifice on Hajj in the Shafi’i school is only when expiating, or if one performs a Tamattu or qiran hajj. Otherwise, it would simply be a recommended [sunna] sacrifice of Eid. (al Muqaddima al Hadramiyya, Ba Fadl)

The idea is that one is still expiating for some form of shortcoming. (Mahasin al-Sharia, al Qaffal al Shashi)

This does not apply to the people of Mecca because they enter pilgrim sanctity [ihram] from Mecca itself. (al Muqaddima al Hadramiyya, Ba Fadl)

Tamattu from Mecca

Allah Most High says, ‘If in peacetime anyone among you combines the Visit with the Pilgrimage, he must offer such gifts as he can afford; but if he lacks the means let him fast three days during the Pilgrimage and seven when he has returned; that is, ten days in all. That is incumbent on him whose family is not present at the Holy Mosque. Have fear of God, and know that God is stern in retribution.’ (Qur’an, 2:196)

This verse tells us that there is an expiation for combining or merging Hajj with Umra [tamattu]. It also tells us that this does not apply to people in Mecca itself. (al Iklil, Suyuti)

Also, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) appointed Mecca itself the Miqat of the people of Mecca. (Bukhari) In view of this, there is no expiation for someone who merges Hajj and Umra from Mecca. (al Muqaddima al Hadramiyya, Ba Fadl)

The Spirit of Sacrifice

Al Qafal al Shashi (291-365 AH), one of the greatest Shafi’i scholars of Central Asia, explains the spirit of the sacrifice in the following way:

‘When one worships Allah by sacrificing an animal, it may be interpreted as [the slave saying], ‘I have done something wrong, and I feel that the only possible way to amend the wrong is to take my own life. But in the spite of that, You [Allah], in Your infinite mercy have forbidden me to take my own life, so I have slaughtered this animal as You have ordered in lieu of taking my own life.’

‘Now if this sacrifice happens … after leaving pilgrim sanctity by stoning the pillars, then the sacrifice has the sense of gratitude, in the sense that a slave may well revere his master so much that he expresses his gratitude by offering to take his own life as a sacrifice dedicated to him…

‘That said, Allah in His mercy has forbidden people to worship Him in such a way, and has placed animal sacrifices in place of human self-sacrifice …

‘As for the sacrifice offered for having had performed a Tamattu or qiran Hajj, even though it is not done by way of amending a sin, it is more closely related to the idea that the sacrifice is offered out of gratitude, and that the default assumption is that one performs the rites of Hajj and Umra properly, i.e. individually.

‘So when such a person merges the two, and then thereby does not make an independent entrance into pilgrim sanctity [ihram] … this takes the form of a dispensation and ease from Allah, while also being tinged by the hew of a shortcoming in that it constitutes merging two acts of worship [in one].

‘[In this case,] the wisdom in offering a sacrifice should be understood as an expression of gratitude for the dispensation, and as penance for the bad choice of not keeping each act of worship independent … This is because someone who chooses to do the lesser of two good deeds have fallen short, even though he has not sinned.’ (Mahasin al-Sharia, al Qaffal al Shashi)

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies,he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language