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

Doubts About My Tawaf During Hajj

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: I have a constant gas problem, and I have recently performed Hajj. I’m having doubts about my tawaf al ziyara. Please advise.

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Your tawaf is fine and perfectly valid. You can relax, and thank Allah for the opportunity of going.

Certainty is Not Removed by Doubt

The basic understanding is that you performed wudu and nothing which invalidates wudu occurred. You did not hear a sound nor did you smell anything. Therefore, the certainty of your being in a state of wudu is not removed by the doubts you had. (Zarqa, Sharh al Qawa’id al Fiqhiyya)

What you should do is busy yourself with what the prophets Ibrahim and Isma’il said when building the blessed Ka’ba, “O Dear, Loving Lord; accept [this] from us. Indeed, you the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Qur’an, 2:127) An accepted Hajj will be priceless on the Day of Judgement.

May Allah accept your Hajj and that of everyone else who went this year. Amin.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

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.


Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can a Woman Go to Hajj With Her Sister and Her Borther in Law?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: A sister in Bangladesh is wanting to go to hajj and claims that her husband is in no mental state to take her. Her three sons cannot return back to Bangladesh to accompany their mother.

The mother is now asking whether she would be able to go along with her older sister and her sister’s husband (her brother-in-law), to Hajj?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

According to some scholars, such as those of the Hanafi school, there is no obligation of Hajj on a woman who cannot find a mahram to accompany her.

Other scholars, however, allow women to travel without a mahram for the obligatory Hajj on condition that she be accompanied by a group of upright individuals or even a single upright woman. Some scholars allowed a woman to travel alone for the obligatory Hajj provided the journey was safe.

Given these opinions and the circumstances surrounding the woman you describe, she may go to Hajj without a mahram accompanied by her sister and brother-in-law or another group of people

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

قال النووي في المجموع: قد ذكرنا تفصيل مذهبنا في حج المراة وذكرنا ان الصحيح أنه يجوز لها في سفر حج الفرض أن تخرج مع نسوة ثقات أو أمراة ثقة ولا يشترط المحرم ولا يجوز في التطوع وسفر التجارة والزيارة ونحوهما الا بمحرم وقال بعض أصحابنا يجوز بغير نساء ولا امراة إذا كان الطريق آمناً وبهذا قال الحسن البصري وداود وقال مالك لا يجوز بامرأة ثقة وانما يجوز بمحرم أو نسوة ثقات وقال أبو حنيفة واحمد لا يجوز الا مع زوج أو محرم (ج.٨ ص.١٢-٢١١ ط. الارشاد)

قال الكاساني في بدائع الصنائع: وأما الذي يخص النساء فشرطان أحدهما أن يكون معها زوجها أو محرم لها فإن لم يوجد أحدهما لا يجب عليها الحج (ج.٢ ص.١٢٣ ط. العلمية)

قال الحطاب في مواهب الجليل: ويشترط في وجوب الحج على المرأة أيضا وجود زوج أو محرم فإن لم يكن لها محرم ولا زوج فيجب عليها الخروج للحج في الفرض في رفقة مأمونة (ج.٣ ص.٤٨٨ ط. الفكر)

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Days Of Gratitude And Love – The Two Spiritual Meanings of Hajj, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this inspiring reminder, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the two key practical spiritual meanings of Hajj: gratitude (shukr) that causes one to turn to Allah, as expressed by journeying to the Kaaba; and love (mahabba) that causes one to always yearn for Him and make one’s life revolve around love of the One Beloved, as expressed by the tawaf.

This reminder was delivered as the Friday sermon (khutba) at the Sayeda Khadija Centre, in the Greater Toronto Area, during Hajj season, September 2016.

Hajj: So Much More Than Just A Gathering, by Ustadh Salim Mauladdawila

The Hajj brings millions of Muslims together on a horizontal plane each year but it is so much more than just an enormous gathering. Ustadh Salim Mauladdawila brings us back to a core message of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ – the call to and importance of unity amongst Muslims and what there is to gain from it.

Nearly 1384 years ago to the day, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ addressed his Companions on the Hajj pilgrimage. In the valley of Urana and the foot of Mount Arafat, The Prophet ﷺ sat upon his camel al-Qaswa’ before his Companions and advised them in what was subsequently knows as his ‘farewell sermon’. Imam Muslim relates the beginning of the sermon from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir as follows:

“Verily your blood and your wealth are [made] sacred upon you, like the sacredness of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this land of yours.”

Two days later, in the holy valley of Mina, The Prophet again addressed his companions from upon his camel. Imam al-Bukhari narrates that he spoke, “O people! What day is this?”
They replied, “It is a sacred day.”
He then asked, “What land is this?”
They replied, “It is a sacred land.”
He asked again, “What month is this?”
They replied, “It is a sacred month.”
The Prophet then said, “Verily your blood, your wealth, and your honour are sacred upon you like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this land of yours, in this month of yours.”

Brotherhood forged

Certainly one of the greatest accomplishments of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the sacred brotherhood he forged amongst the Companions. The unity found in the melting-pot of Medina at the time of his passing was a living example of the Quranic verse, “O people! We created you from a male and a female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another. Surely the noblest amongst you in the sight of God is the most god-fearing of you” [49:13]. Previously-warring Bedouin Arab tribes made peace, Persians were brothered with Ethiopians, and the wealthy befriended the freed slaves. The emphasis the Prophet placed on this unity in his farewell sermon is a fitting capstone to his prophetic message, and the Muslim nation today would do well to reflect upon the poignancy of his words.

The conditions of unity

The unity the Prophet spoke of is a sanctified part of our religion. A Muslim’s blood, wealth, and honour are, as Imam al-Nawawi comments, even more sacred than the holy times and place the Prophet mentioned. As a part of Islam, unity has conditions, and cannot simply be claimed without it having a reality. In the Quran, God tells us signs of its establishment. He says, “Surely all believers are brothers. So reconcile between your brothers, and fear God, so that mercy may be shown to you” [49:10], and “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, establish prayer, give zakat, and obey God and His Messenger. God will have mercy upon them” [9:71]. True unity, then, manifests itself as “[reconciling] between [our] brothers” and “[enjoining] what is right and [forbidding] what is wrong”. It is unity founded upon mercy, and as long as our unity is lacking this mercy, it cannot be called true.

The consequence of merciful unity

In the second halves of the quoted verses, God tells us that a direct consequence of this merciful unity between Muslims is that we receive mercy from Him. Indeed the Prophet tells us, “The merciful are shown mercy by The Merciful [God]”. The Cordovan hadith scholar Ibn Batal explains that the initial mercy between the believers is itself out of God’s mercy, hence, when the believers give the unity forged between them its due, God invariably increases their unity and exposes them to an even greater portion of His mercy. Sanctifying what God has sanctified and giving our unity a reality, we enter into a state of continuous exponential improvement. Conversely, when we do not do this, we expose ourselves to God’s anger, for as the Prophet explained to us, “God will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to mankind”.

When we lie, cheat and plot

Many Muslims today could benefit from being reminded about the sanctity of our unity. When we lie to and cheat one another, when we plot and scheme against our brothers, we are directly calling upon ourselves God’s wrath; and for what gain? Regrettably, it is all too often that we hear Muslims slandering, attacking, disgracing, and shaming other Muslims over frivolous affairs. Imam al-Bukhari narrates in his book of prophetic etiquette al-Adab al-Mufrad, “If one is fed at the expense of a Muslim, God will feed him like it of hell. If one is clothed at the expense of a Muslim, God will clothe him like it of hell. If one achieves a position of ostentation and hypocrisy at the expense of a Muslim, God will put him in a position of ostentation and hypocrisy on the Day of Resurrection”. Will we let these teachings of our Prophet  ﷺ fall on deaf ears?
Several Companions tell the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ looking upon the Kaaba saying, “Verily God has ennobled you, venerated you, and glorified you, and a believer is even more sanctified than you”. The Prophet ﷺ also said, “Whosoever wrongfully harms a believer, it is as if he has destroyed the Kaaba”, and Imam Ibn Majah relates him saying, “The destruction of the world is less [in the sight of] God than wrongfully killing a believer”. Calls of disunity today are heard far and wide, be it on the pulpits of our mosques or in endless social media messages. Vitriolic diatribes have, in some circles, sadly replaced religious knowledge, and we find Muslims seemingly well-versed in technical religious arguments showing ignorance of the basics of cleanliness and prayer.

Together we are stronger

The Quran says, “And hold firmly to the rope of God all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of God upon you: when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make clear to you His verses that you may be guided” [3:103]. Islam united the Companions of the Prophet and was their salvation. Through remaining united our predecessors in faith accomplished amazing deeds and attained greatness in the sight of God. Imam Malik bin Anas, one of the most highly regarded scholars in Islam and founder of the Maliki madhhab, is famously quoted as saying, “The end of this nation will not be righted except by what righted the beginning of it”. Working towards unity, then, should be of paramount importance to us, and God has given us generous incentives to unite. The reward of our five daily prayers is multiplied by 27 if we pray them in congregation. Once a week a congregational prayer is obligatory upon us. Twice a year we gather in a larger congregation for the Eid prayers. Zakat is a decentralised social welfare charity established over 1300 years ago specifically to benefit needy individuals, as many of the scholars state, in one’s local community. We fast for one month a year, gaining a small taste of the hunger that the less fortunate live every day. Undoubtedly the greatest embodiment of this is the annual Hajj pilgrimage, where Muslims gather from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe, don identical clothing, and perform the one great act of worship at the same place, at the same time.
In the midst of this powerful expression of the immense unifying force of Islam and its respect for humans of all backgrounds such that “surely the noblest amongst you in the sight of God is the most god-fearing of you”, we cannot help but feel united. One feels amongst brethren before their creator, a member of a community who have left their homes desiring only their Lord. Good actions become easy. Generosity and forgiveness become one’s natural disposition. We encounter amazing acts of kindness and humanity on Hajj and we leave feeling firmer than ever in our faith and proud to call ourselves ‘Muslim’. All this is an example of God’s mercy, which he promised us when we “enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, establish prayer, give zakat, and obey God and His Messenger”.

Hajj is not just a gathering

We should strive, then, to ensure that our gathering in this holy place, where the Prophet told us of the sanctity of unity, is not merely an assembly of bodies, for Hajj is no mere assembly. Those who are blessed to travel this year should do so representing their families, communities, cities, and all Muslims behind them. They should stand before our Lord as one nation in heart and in form, for how repugnant would it be to outwardly honour the Kaaba, but inwardly commit acts worse in God’s sight than its destruction? Those who travel should return striving to maintain the bonds which they felt when they were in that sacred place. For those not fortunate enough to perform the Hajj, they should pray for those who do travel; for their safety and for the acceptance of their Hajj, for in God’s acceptance is renewed forgiveness and mercy for us all. And we should all pray for all Muslims, and do whatever little we can to spread mercy amongst both believers and non-believers.
Islam’s message is complete and we are to take it all as it was given to us. God told us that we are allies, so we should be so. The Prophet told us that our fellow believers are sanctified, so we should treat them so. The Prophet told us, “You shall not enter heaven until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not direct you to a thing which, if you do it, will foster love between you? Spread the [greeting of] salaam between yourselves”, so let us begin with this small step and may God encompass us all with his divine mercy.
[cwa id=’cta’]

Is It Permissible to Stitch the Lower Garment in the Middle During the Pilgrimage?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Is it permissible during Ihram to stitch the lower garment in the middle with the intention to cover the private parts?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Generally, tying the lower garment (izar) when in a state of pilgrim sanctity (ihram) would be deemed improper and disliked because it resembles stitched clothing.

[Shurunbulali, Ghunyat Dhawi al-Ahkam fi Bughyat Durar al-Hukkam (1.221/241)]

Please also see: Wearing Stitched Clothing in Ihram: What Kind of Expiation is Due?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Al Jazeera English

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

Is It Permissible to Perform the Sacred Pilgrimage for a Deceased Person?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

Is it permissible to perform the sacred pilgrimage for a deceased person if they did not leave money and instructions to do so? And if they did is it still a valid Hajj for the deceased?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

The basis is that the sacred pilgrimage (hajj) is due from a person if they met the conditions of necessity (wujub), even if they did not fulfil the conditions of it actually being obligatory upon them (ada’).

Thereafter, there are two cases [if such a person is unable to go themselves]:

(a) if the person is alive, they must send somebody to perform the hajj on their behalf;
(b) if deceased, they should have left a bequest (wasiyya) for it to be fulfilled on their behalf.

If neither of these happened, then another person can perform the hajj and donate the reward to the deceased, and insha’Allah, it will be accepted by Allah Most High out of His Tremendous Mercy and Generosity.

[Qari, al-Maslak al-Mutaqassit]

Please also see: Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer and: Appointing Someone to Perform Hajj on Someone’s Behalf and: Can One Perform Hajj on Behalf of Others?

And Allah alone knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I Perform an Obligatory Hajj Without a Mahram? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I am an educated female, never married, teaching in a university. Can I perform hajj with a female colleague going with her mahram? My parents have given permission to proceed to the holy journey.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

It is permissible for a woman to perform an obligatory Hajj without a mahram, even were she to travel alone, so long as she is reasonably sure of her well-being. Traveling with a woman and her mahram also accomplishes this goal.
Beyond the legal permissibility, you should also ensure that your travel plans accord with the host country’s rules and regulations in place for the pilgrimage.

Source: al-Hawashi al-Madaniyyah

Please see also: Can a Women Travel Alone for Islamic Educational Purposes? [Maliki School]

Shuaib Ally