Pooling Funds for Hajj

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about the legality of polling funds for Hajj.

In our culture, we have a system of informal savings whereby people come together in groups and decide on an amount of money to deposit in a savings (locally, a wooden–metal box that is entrusted to a group member). They also decide on the frequency of tallying and awarding the bulk money to a group member that has been chosen out of a “hat.”

For example, if you have 5 people who have decided to contribute $200 per month and every 5 months, they give the total ($1, 000) to a person chosen at random. That means it will take 25 months for all the group members to benefit from the $1, 000. Currently, this method solves materia needs within communities. Now a group of UN colleagues want to use this same concept to purchase a ticket for Hajj.

Essentially, a group of 10 colleagues want to contribute $200 every month starting this January with the aim of awarding $6,000 per person every Hajj season until they all go for Hajj. So if they start in January, Hajj is in June, in sha Allah, then they would be able to pay for 2 people; then next Hajj season, 4 people, and so on, finishing in 2.5 years.

What makes this different from taking a loan is this: these people work for the UN, which means that they contribute a mandatory 7% of their salary towards a pension scheme every month, and at the time of death, the UN will pay out this, including their own contribution of 15% –  if you have more than 5 years of service to the employee’s designated beneficiary.

Hence every month on their pay slip, everyone can tell how much they have contributed towards their pension thus far. Obviously, everyone has different salaries and different years of service, but at the end of 2.5 years each one would have given $6,000 to the group. So, if one of them dies, the intention is to have a written document signed by each member of the group stating that $6,000 (minus whatever they have already paid to the group before their death) should be taken from their pension money and given to the group by their beneficiary.

The question is: is this method of going for Hajj acceptable in Shari‘a? Are there any conditions that need to be followed if yes? If possible, please provide the Hanifi as well as Maliki opinion, if they are different.

Jazakum Allah khayr for this opportunity to ask a question and have it responded to by competent scholars.

The manner of pooling funds together in order to facilitate the hajj pilgrimage for those otherwise financially unable is acceptable. But it isn’t necessary to do this because the hajj is only obligatory once its strict conditions have been met. 

As for deducting a certain sum from the estate after death, the specific scenario is unclear in your question. If the deceased person leaves a bequest (wasiyya) to contribute a certain amount to the fund, then this would be permissible as long as the guidelines of fulfilling such bequests are followed.

Please also see A Hajj Reader.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can a Woman Go Perform a Umra Alone? [Shafi’i]

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am a woman. Can I go on umra without a mahram?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

In the Shafi’i madhhab, it is permissible for a woman to perform a personally obligatory hajj or umrah without a mahram. [Bushra al-Karim] If however one has already fulfilled the obligation of umra, then it would only be permissible to go with a mahram.

Please also see this answer

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.

Can We Take the Hanafi Opinion on Wudu When Making Hajj? (Shafi’I)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

If a Hanafi man, is married to a Shafi’i woman, and they intend to perform Hajj together, with the man as Mahram for his wife; what is the ruling on the woman’s Wudu if she cannot avoid physical contact with her husband, during the performance of the Hajj?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum, I pray you’re well insha’Allah.

It is permissible, and perhaps even necessary, for a Shafi’i to utilise the Hanafi dispensation, that skin to skin contact with marriageable members of the opposite sex, for the purpose of keeping one’s wudu during the pilgrimage.

Wudu during pilgrimage

In the Shafi’i school, being in a state of wudu is actually only a condition for the Tawaf and any prayers performed during the pilgrimage. It is not a condition to be in a state of wudu for the rest of the Hajj and Umrah rites, though of course, it is highly recommended to be in a state of purification throughout the whole pilgrimage.

Combining opinions in acts (talfiq)

In the Shafi’i school there are two valid positions in regards combining different opinions in one or more acts. The summary of these opinions are:

1. That one cannot combine two different opinions in any act, whether one, two, or more acts.

An example of combining opinions in one single act, is combining an opposing Hanafi opinion and a Shafi’i opinion when making wudu. Examples of combining opinions in two acts, is making wudu as a Shafi’i and then taking the Hanafi opinion that touching one’s spouse’s skin does not break the wudu, or, making wudu as a Hanafi (such that it is not valid in the Shafi’i school) and then praying as a Shafi’i. According to this opinion, all of these are invalid. This is the opinion of Imam Ibn Hajr.

2. That one cannot combine two different opinions in any one single act (such as in wudu, same as above), but it is permissible to combine two different opinions in 2 or more acts.

For example, one could make wudu as a Hanafi, and then pray as a Shafi’i, or, make wudu as a Shafi’i and take the Hanafi opinion that spousal skin contact does not break the wudu. According to this opinion these acts would all be valid and free of blame. This is the opinion of Imam Ibn Ziyad.

As we can see, there is agreement that combining two opposing opinions in one single act is not permissible by agreement, as this means the act is not valid in any of the schools. The difference of opinion is on combining opinions in two or more acts.

If an act (or acts) are valid in different schools, then obviously, there is no dilemma.

In regards the question then, your wife could either:

a. Make wudu as a Hanafi and follow all the Hanafi rulings pertaining to the pilgrimage rites. This will be in line with Ibn Hajr’s opinion.

b. Make wudu as a Hanafi, and continue to adhere to the Shafi’i rulings pertaining to the pilgrimage rites. This will be in line with Ibn Ziyad opinion.

As mentioned, both positions are valid. Again, bear in mind that in our school, it is only Tawafs that strictly require wudu.

Wudu according to the Hanafi school

If your wife does choose to make wudu according to the Hanafi school, then I would suggest consulting a reliable Hanafi scholar to find out the rulings relating to wudu in their school. For example, the minimum wipe of the head in these two schools differ.

[Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Bughyat al Mustarshidin]

I pray you both have a valid, accepted, and blessed pilgrimage insha’Allah. Please keep us in your du’as during your Hajj, especially at the Ka’aba and if visiting the beloved Prophet ﷺ in Medina.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Does One Have to Shave or Cut Their Hair Short During the Pilgrimage? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I’ve been growing my hair long and I’m going to Umra soon and I don’t want to shave my head all off. What can I do?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. I pray you’re well insha’Allah.

Trimming just a small length from the hair suffices for the act of the pilgrimage, though one should be aware that the reward is commensurate to the amount of hair cut.

Shaving the Hair during the Pilgrimage

For men, the optimal and sunnah is to shave the entire head with a razor. The minimal sunnah of shaving is to shave three strands of hairs.

One could even pluck or burn all the three hairs to fulfil the basic sunnah, as the word used in the ruling is simply to ‘remove’ the hair, though shaving is preferable.

Trimming the Hair during the Pilgrimage

If one does not shave the head then it is permissible to trim the hair, ideally over the entire head evenly. However, the reward is greater in shaving than trimming.

When trimming, the minimum obligatory amount of hair to be trimmed, for both men and women, is also three hairs.

In the Shafi’i school, the absolute minimum length to trim can be just a tiny amount of the hair and from any part of the head, while it is preferred to trim the length of a fingertip (anmula), which is a little less than 2cm (these rulings apply to trimming the whole hair or just three hairs). In the Hanafi school, the minimum amount that needs to be trimmed is the extent of a fingertip from a quarter of the whole head hair. (Refer to this answer for more details on the Hanafi position).

As a side note, women do not shave their hair. The optimal for a woman is to evenly trim the ends of the whole head of hair the length of a fingertip.

These rulings apply to Hajj and Umrah.

[Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Mughni al Muhtaj]

In conclusion, you may keep your hair long by performing the absolute minimum of shaving/plucking or trimming a very small amount from 3 hairs, in order to exit from the state of ihram, however, the reward will also be the minimum. If trimming, it would be religiously more precautionary, if possible, to trim a fingertip length from a quarter of the head hair, in order for it to be valid in both the Shafi’i and Hanafi schools. And Allah knows best.

I hope this clarifies the matter for you. Please keep us in your duas during your pilgrimage, and if visiting the blessed Prophet ﷺ in Medina. May Allah accept it from you insha’Allah.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Is My Hajj Valid If I Enter in Arafah After Sunset? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Is my Hajj valid if I enter in Arafah after sunset?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Shukran for your question.

The allocated time for executing the obligation of standing on Arafah extends from zawal on the 9th till Fajr on the 10th. Whoever reaches and stands on Arafah, even for a short while, in this allocated time, has fulfilled this obligation. [al-Majmu’]

Accordingly, the one that reaches and stands on Arafah after Magrib, has fulfilled his obligation. That being said, the recommended time to be on Arafah is after the dhur prayer or dhur and asr prayers for those joining, up until after sunset. This was the practice of the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Do Mental Disorders Lift the Obligation of Hajj? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I have been diagnosed with what was then called “Asperger’s Syndrome.” This is co-morbid with a few other mental illnesses I have. During a meltdown, I oftentimes black out, becoming unaware and anxious.

Does my condition exempt me from going on Hajj?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam. Thank you for writing in. May Allah increase in your desire to fulfil your obligations despite the hardships you’re facing, and grant you an easy way to make it to His House.

Hajj is obligatory on every Muslim who has reached adulthood, is sane, and has the means. If one does not have the means, or is not sound in mind, Hajj is not obligatory.

Sickness as an exemption

Sicknesses that lift the obligation of Hajj are chronic or terminal illnesses of which there is no hope of recovery, and it is not deemed possible that they will ever be able to make the pilgrimage. [Bushra al Karim]. For any other form of sickness, the obligation remains.

Your specific situation

In your specific case, despite the understandable fear of a blackout, it is a valid concern but it is not certain that it will happen. For this reason, the obligation of Hajj would still remain, if you have the means, though sensible measures should be taken when preparing for the pilgrimage.

If, however, a qualified, upright, Muslim physician tells you that, should you go on Hajj, you will definitely have one of the blackout episodes as you have described, then this would be a valid exemption for the obligation of Hajj to be lifted from you.

If this is the case, then Allah will reward you for your intention to make the pilgrimage despite not being able to perform it. Performing the ‘Umrah instead would indeed be desirable if possible (in the Shafi’i school, Umrah is also obligatory once in a lifetime, so it would be obligatory to do, if able).

Sensible measures

Should the obligation of Hajj remain, then plan your trip carefully and take into account the following:

1. Inform the group that you go on Hajj with of your condition and discuss what support they can offer and precautionary measures they advise. Many of the people involved in the Hajj groups are extremely helpful and will sacrifice a lot to help pilgrims fulfil the Hajj.

2. Take a family or friend who is willing to be a companion throughout the rites of the Hajj, for support and assistance.

3. Make a note of all the signs and symptoms you usually get before a blackout and share it with the group leaders and your Hajj companion.

4. If you know of certain things you need to help prevent the blackouts (such as water, certain foods etc.) then plan ahead with these.

5. Take a course on the fiqh of Hajj with a teacher, paying particular attention to the minimum needed to fulfil each act of the pilgrimage.

6. Listen to these valuable talks by Sh. Nuh Keller. They cover the minimum fulfilments, as well as tips that make the hajj quicker and on how to avoid to the crowds and busy periods, such as walking to the different places at night. This should help a great deal with your concerns and anxieties.

7. Of course, make plenty of du’a to Allah to lighten the obligation for you, and enable you to fulfil this fifth pillar of Islam with serenity and success.

May Allah accept your efforts and grant you every ease. If you do go on Hajj, please do remember us in your du’as on your journey, in Mecca, and when visiting the beloved Prophet ﷺ in Medina.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

This is general religious counsel. We encourage you to consult both expert medical opinion, and a reliable local scholar about the specific details of your case.

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Is It Permissible to Recite Supplications From a Book Moving Between Safa and Marwa? [Shafi’i]

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Is it permissible to read duas from a book whilst performing Sa’i (moving between Safa and Marwa)?

Is it preferable to recite in Arabic or can you make dua in your mother tongue?

Answer: Assalāmu ʿalaykum,

I pray that you are well.

It is permissible to recite supplications from a book while moving between Safa and Marwa, as well as during Tawaf, if this helps a person to supplicate.

Both of these situations are ones of remembrance of God. Reciting transmitted supplications, Qur’an, or supplications you (or another) have composed, are all permissible.

These supplications can be recited in either Arabic, or one’s mother tongue. However, since both of these situations are ones of closeness to the divine, it is preferable for you to ask for something that applies to you and your personal circumstances, and to understand what you are asking for, as opposed to reciting something you do not understand.

Shuaib Ally

Photo: Aiman titi