The Meaning of Hajj
Hajj is the religious journey undertaken to the Sacred Mosque in Makkah and some of the surrounding are as with the intention of performing the pilgrimage rituals. This journey involves a series of activities taught by the Prophet , which include, among other things, assuming the condition of ritual purity (ihraam), walking seven times around the Ka‛bah, walking seven times between the hills of As-Safaa and Al-Marwah, staying in the Plain of ‛Arafah and throwing pebbles at the stone pillars in Mina.
Indeed, hajj provides pilgrims with huge benefits, including, among other things, declaration of the oneness of Allah, immense forgiveness, getting to know one another and learning the rulings of Islam.
The hajj rites are usually performed between the eighth and thirteenth of Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Who must perform it?
> Walking around the Ka‛bah (tawaaf ) seven times is one of the ‘pillars’ of hajj and ‛umrah.
For a Muslim to perform hajj, he has to be legally accountable for his actions (mukallaf) and able to do so. Legal accountability (takleef) means he has to be mature and sane.
What does ability mean?
Ability here involves the ability to undertake the journey to the Sacred Mosque through legitimate means and to perform the hajj rites without undergoing unusually strenuous hardships and without risking personal safety and property. This also means that the expenses the pilgrim requires for hajj must be in excess of his needs and the needs of his dependents.
The Ability to Perform Hajj: Different Circumstances
- he ability to perform hajj in person: This ability allows a Muslim to undertake the journey to the Sacred House without undergoing unusually strenuous hardships while having sufficient means to do so. He must, in this case, perform it in person.
- The financial ability to authorise someone else to perform hajj on one’s behalf: This applies to a Muslim who is unable to perform hajj in person due to illness or old age but who has the means to authorise someone else to perform it on his behalf. He must, in this case, offer the proxy the necessary expenses to perform it on his behalf.
- Lack of ability to perform hajj in person or by proxy: A person who cannot possibly do so is exempt from performing hajj altogether. To illustrate, a person who does not have expenses in excess of his needs and the needs of his dependents with which he can perform hajj does not have to perform it at all.money in order to perform it. However, he must perform it as soon as he becomes physically and financially able to do so.
A Woman Needs a Mahram as a Companion to Perform Hajj
For a woman to perform hajj, she has to be with her husband or any of her male relatives whom she is not permitted to marry because of their close blood relationship (mahram), such as her father, grandfather, sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews and uncles. (See page 207)
However, if a woman performs hajj without a mahram in such a way that she is not exposed to any danger whatsoever, her hajj is valid and would certainly suffice.
- Are you physically and financially able to perform hajj?
- Yes => You must perform hajj in person.
- No => Can you afford to perform it but you are unable to do so due to an incurable illness or old age?
- Yes => You must find a proxy and offer him the necessary expenses to perform it on your behalf.
- No => If you do not have expenses in excess of your needs and the needs of your dependents, then you do not have to perform hajj at all.