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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.

Converts and Inheritance

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have a question regarding inheritance. My husband and I are both converts. Recently, my mother converted alhamdulillah; otherwise we have no Muslim relatives. We also have two adopted children who are young (8 year old twins).

How should we structure are wills, so that my mother gets her rightful share (which I am not sure what it is – 1/6?) and so that we can provide for our girls? Their birth parents left them at an orphanage without providing any information about themselves and therefore they will not be receive an inheritance through them.

 

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

There is scholarly consensus that a non-Muslim does not inherit from a Muslim. [Ibn Qudama, Mughni]

As such, your only rightful heirs are your husband and your mother. Your husband is entitled to 1/2 of your estate. Your mother is entitled to 1/3 of your estate, and then the remaining 1/6 also goes to your mother [by returning of what remains (radd)].

As for your husband, you are his only rightful heir and hence you are entitled to his entire estate (1/4 is your rightful share, and then the remaining estate goes to you as well).

As for the twins for whom you both are caretakers, each of you may give them a bequest (wasiyya) of up to 1/3 of the estate (without need of anyone’s approval). If you wish to give them more than 1/3 of your estate, your mother and husband would have to approve after your demise. If he wishes to give them more than 1/3 of his estate, you would need to approve after his demise. [Maydani, Lubab]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Does Islamic Law Require that My Property be Divided in Particular Way in the Event that I Die?

Inheritance Laws: Can I Stipulate Other Than the Determined Amounts Mentioned in the Qur’an?

Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners

Inheritance Laws: Can I Stipulate Other Than the Determined Amounts Mentioned in the Qur’an?

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: According to the sharia, an estate should be transferred in between kids as 1/3 to the girl and 2/3 to a boy. Will it be ok if one decides to do 1/2 and 1/2  between the boy and girl, especially if the kids are not married?

Answer: Assalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of health and states.

This is an excellent question. To fully understand its legal ruling, one must appreciate the nature and importance of inheritance law as a whole.

Inheritance Law: Linguistics

The word in Arabic most often used for this branch of jurisprudence is fara’id, sing. farida, which is derived from a root word that has three primary meanings:

(1) “to decree,” (taqdir), since the shares that are designated for various relatives are decreed by Allah Most High and are therefore fixed;

(2)”to be decisive,” (qat`), since the percentages are listed in the Qur’an itself and hence the proof for them is decisive and unequivocal;

(3) “to expound or clarify” (bayan), since they are delineated in full clarity and as such need no interpretation or elucidation from the Prophetic practice. This is opposed to the ritual prayer (salat), for example, the command of which is general in the Qur’an but the details of which are then elucidated by the Prophetic sunna. [Mawsili, Ikhtiyar]

Allah Most High Himself uses this term (farida) in the Qur’an to refer to inheritance rulings (4:11), and ends the verse with “Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, Ever-Wise.” These two divine attributes are essential to keep in mind when considering the fixed percentages of inheritance, since His decree of those percentages is undoubtedly based on His preeternal knowledge of human nature and society, and undoubtedly a reflection of His transcendent wisdom, which we are utterly incapable of comprehending. [Tafsir Jalalayn, Abu Suud, Nasafi]

The Legal Ruling

Based on the above discussion, one can appreciate that Islamic law does not allow for changes to these determined percentages. The one exception to this ruling would be if the deceased had made a bequest for an heir of a certain amount of money, which would be valid only if the rest of the heirs, that are adults, approved of it after his/her death. If some of them approved and not others, then it would be valid only with respect to the heirs that approved, based on their relative portions. Finally, a child’s approval would not be given any consideration. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.