[Friday Sermon] Hajj: Pilgrimage To Makkah Is Duty On mankind To Allah For Those Who Can Find A Way There
By Imam Murtadha Gusau
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers.
Dear brothers and sisters! As you all know, the cost of Hajj fares has increased across most world countries in comparison to previous years, according to reliable and concrete reports.
And surely, the increase in the costs of Hajj pilgrimage was for the benefit and financial sustainability of the pilgrimage itself. And the increase is difficult to avoid due to the increase in the price of necessities, both in Nigeria, in Saudi Arabia and in the world.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has pegged the Hajj fare of each intending Nigerian pilgrim for 2023 at N2.89m.
The Chairman of the Commission, our able brother Sheikh Zikrullah Hassan, made the disclosure on Friday, 07/04/2023, attributing the increment to inflation in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Zikrullah Hassan said the price is of 8 categories, with Borno and Yobe States as the lowest price while the highest is Lagos and Ogun States, N2.99m.
The increase is over N300,000 compared to what was paid during the 2022 Hajj.
He said the Hajj fare has 8 different costs; pilgrims from Maiduguri and Yola, will pay 2.89m other northern states 2.919m. The southern part of the country has six different prices, Edo State and the other states in the South South and South East will pay N2.96m while Ekiti and Ondo States will pay N2.88m, Osun State will pay N2.99m. Cross River to pay N2.943m and Lagos, Ogun and Oyo to pay N2.99m.
The disparity in the price is because states in the north are closer to Saudi Arabia than the states in the south and accommodation secured by each state also determines the amount they would pay.
And the airlines approved for airlift of pilgrims from states are; Air Peace, Azman Air, Fly Nas, Aero Contractors and Max Air while Arik Air and Value jet were approved as chartered aircraft for private tour operators.
The Hajj Commission would close the portal for those who choose Hajj saving schemes by April 21.
They decided to do this to ensure that all operation activities are not dragged and May 21 will be the inaugural flight.
The reason for the increase is due to inflation rate in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, high cost of goods and services in Saudi Arabia and scarcity of aviation fuel. Also, there has been an increase in the exchange of naira to dollar at the official rate.
And the rise in the Hajj fare is not limited to Nigeria alone as other countries who have declared their Hajj fare announced increase.
There is hike from other parts of the world like Ghana, Pakistan, India, Niger, Qatar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Singapore, South Africa, Morocco, Emirates, Tunisia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Palestine, Mauritania, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Sultanate of Oman, Libya, among others.
But respected servants of Allah, with all the explanations, you can hear some people who don’t understand the issue grumbling and shouting that the Hajj fares are too much.
And at the same time, you can see one of them spending millions of naira or dollar in buying clothes, cars, houses or in marriage celebration, in tourism or in honeymoon etc, but to pay only 3 million naira to go and worship Allah Almighty is too much for them!
Please let us fear Allah Almighty for our religion!
And I want those people to check the global rise in the cost of Hajj fares, so that you will certainly see for yourself.
Respected brothers and sisters! There are certain conditions of Hajj. It is obligatory for every Muslim having these conditions to perform Hajj.
These conditions have to be fulfilled before Hajj becomes a compulsory duty on mankind. Some of the conditions are as follows:
- To be Muslim
- To be of sound mind
- To be an adult or mature enough
- To be free
- And to have the ability to afford the journey financially and physically and maintain the dependents back home for the duration.
The reward for the Hajj is nothing less than Paradise.
And our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) stated that Hajj (pilgrimage) is one of the five pillars of Islam and showed Muslims how to do it by applying it himself.
Allah Almighty said:
“And proclaim the Hajj (pilgrimage) for mankind! Let them come to you either on foot or on tired camels which come from distant highways.” [Surah Hajj: 27]
My people! Hajj is a Pillar from the Pillars of Islam, and a mighty obligation with tremendous benefits that must be performed at least once in the lifetime of each and every Muslim. None who has the ability to perform it and meets the conditions that make it obligatory leaves it off except that he falls into sin, neglect and is one unappreciative of the bounties of Allah Almighty upon him. The Islamic scholars have listed five conditions that make Hajj binding upon a Muslim as mentioned:
- Islam: The Hajj of an unbeliever and a polytheist is not considered to be correct and is not accepted. He is not permitted to enter the Masjid al-Haram [in Makkah]. Allah, the Most High, stated that:
“O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean [in their belief and doctrines], so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year.” [Surah At-Tawbah :28]
Bukhari and Muslim report from Abu Hurairah (RA):
“In the year prior to Hajj to the last Hajj of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) when Allah’s Messenger made Abubakar (RA) the leader of the Pilgrims (Amirul Hajj), Abubakar sent me in the company of a group of people to call the people and proclaim: No idol-worshipper (Mushrik) is to perform Hajj after this year, and none is to make Tawaf naked [ever again].“
- Sanity: The insane is not commanded with Hajj or Umrah and even if he performs them, they would not be counted whilst he is not cognisant and not aware (due to his insanity). Abu Dawud reports in his Sunan from Ali (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“The pen is lifted from three: The one sleeping until he awakes, the child till he reaches adulthood, and the insane till he comprehends (regains sanity).” [Abu Dawud, and also see al-Irwa’ul Ghalil]
A Muslim has to have reached puberty and be of sound mind for his or her Hajj to become a duty. Divine rewards and punishments are given as a result of human choice between good and evil. Since a child or an insane person lack the ability to distinguish between good and evil, no religious duties are required of them.
- Adulthood: Hajj is not obligated upon the child until he reaches adulthood as proven by the previous Hadith. However, if the child performs Hajj, his Hajj is sound and correct but he has not fulfilled the Hajj of Islam that is obligated upon him until he reaches adulthood. Ibn Abbas said that a woman lifted her child to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and said: “Is there a Hajj for him?” The Prophet responded: “Yes, and for you there is a reward.”
There is another Hadith of Ibn Abbas (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“Any child that performs Hajj then he reaches adulthood, then another Hajj becomes obligatory upon him. Any slave that performs Hajj, then he is freed, then another Hajj becomes obligatory upon him.” [Ibn Khuzaimah in his Sahih, Al-Hakim in his al-Mustadrak. Ibn Hajr said in Al-Fath, “Its chain is Sahih.”]
Imam At-Tirmidhi said:
“The people of knowledge (Islamic scholars) are in agreement (consensus/Ijma’) that if a child performs Hajj before reaching adulthood, then upon him is another Hajj. If he reaches adulthood, then that Hajj [which he performed as a child] does not suffice him in fulfilling the Hajj of the Pillar of Islam. Likewise the one enslaved – if he was to perform Hajj, then he is freed, then upon him is another Hajj if he finds the means to perform it. His Hajj whilst enslaved does not suffice. That is the saying of Imams Sufyan ath-Thawri, Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Is’haq Ibn Rahawaih.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi]
- Being Free From Enslavement: Hajj is not obligatory upon the slave, however if he performs Hajj it is sound and correct, however it does not suffice the Hajj of the Pillar of Islam as is proven from the Hadith of Ibn Abbas (RA) previously mentioned.
- Ability: Hajj is obligated, by the proofs of the Qur’an and Sunnah, upon the one who is able to find a way to perform it. What is intended by “able” here is the one who has both the bodily and monetary ability due to the saying of Allah, the Most High:
“In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Ibrahim (Abraham). And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” [Surah Ali Imran: 97]
Similar statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) define ability as being sufficient provisions and transportation. Hence, a Muslim has to be economically able to make the trip. And any amount Muslim paid to travel and worship his creator is not much and will never be a waste. And If he has to borrow the money to make the journey, Hajj is not compulsory on him. In the case when one’s family is left in debt or with insufficient funds, it is recommended that such an individual stay home until he is financially able. Muslims with physical disabilities are also not obliged to make Hajj unless they have the economic ability to pay others to carry them. Therefore, only those who are economically and physically able to perform the rigorous rites of Hajj are obliged to do so.
Dear brothers and sisters! A condition for Hajj being wajib (compulsory/obligatory) is the ability to afford provisions and transportation above and beyond one’s debts, required financial support, and essential needs. This is the position of the majority of scholars: the Hanafis, Shafi’is, and Hanbalis. It is the position of Sahnun and Ibn Habib from amongst the Malikis. It is also the position of the majority of jurists (Fuqaha).
- Physical Or Financial Inability and Appointing Another:
Whoever is physically unable to perform Hajj and Umrah due to decrepit old age, or a sickness from which one is not expected to recover – or one is physically able but who is financially unable and does not possess the wealth to travel to perform Hajj or Umrah, then it is not obligatory upon such a person. However if one is financially able but physically unable [due to old age or long-term sickness], then he must appoint someone to perform Hajj and Umrah on his behalf.
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