Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Shawwal / Dhu'l-Qa'dah 1423 H
January 2003
Volume 16-01 No : 193
Camps \ Workshops

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Our Dialogue


Is intention crucial to perform the Hajj?
Covering face during Tawaf
How to do the Tawaf?
Hajj on behalf of deceased Parents
Performing Substitute Pilgrimage and Umrah
Zamzam Water and Hajj
Q. What about a person in debt?
Q. How is the duty of Hajj fulfilled after a person's death?
Q.What is meant by the ability to afford and undertake the pilgrimage?
Q. What if the deceased was never able to throughout his life afford the cost of the journey to offer the pilgrimage because of his poverty?
Q. Should anyone change his lifestyle in order to meet the expenses of Pilgrimage?
Q. Why is Hajj made a duty owed to Allah?
Why do we not say the same of prayers or fasting?

Q. Are there any conditions which make the duty of pilgrimage due?
Q. If a person does not own enough to cover his expenses during his pilgrimage, but someone else, say a friend or a relative or any other person or a company offers to pay his expenses, must he accept?
Q. Is it wrong to throw five stones at one go at the Jamarah when the crowd is too heavy?


By Adil Salahi

Is intention crucial to perform the Hajj?

Q. I will be performing the Hajj inshallah this year and was keen to know how important it is to verbally declare the intention of pilgrimage.

A. One’s intention is a highly important factor in any action, one may take. It makes all the difference between an action being acceptable or not. Indeed an action may earn a reward or incur punishment according to the intention behind it.

In Pilgrimage and Umrah, the intention is particularly important. Moreover, the mental intention must be supported by the verbal one, because the preparations for the journey may take a long time, when the intention is there, but the action has not started yet. Hence it is necessary in both duties of Pilgrimage and Umrah that a person declares what he or she intends to do. This verbal intention is done at the meeqat, when one is about to enter the Hill area if one is coming from outside it. When one arrives at meeqat, one should say something on the following lines: “ My Lord, I intend to do the pilgrimage, (or the Umrah or both if he is doing them both in the qiran method), so facilitate it for me and accept it from me”. Or he may say: “ My Lord, I respond to your call with a pilgrimage (or an Umrah).” If one crosses the meeqat declaring his intention to do either duty and does not observe the restrictions of consecration or ihraam, he is in violation of the rules and he needs to compensate for that.

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Covering face during Tawaf

Q. I understand that a woman must not cover her face while she is in a state of consecration during Hajj. On several occasions while I was performing the tawaf, I have been told by religious attendants around the Kaabah to cover my face. Please clarify.

A. You are right. A woman who is in the state of consecration or ihraam must not cover her face. If she does, she violates the rules of ihraam. There is no disagreement among scholars on this point. What happened to you does happen quite often. I was visiting a famous scholar the other day, when he mentioned that he was doing tawaf with his wife and other women relatives. One of the attendants around the Kaabah told the women to cover their faces. The next round, he did the same. So our scholar told him: “ brother, a woman in ihraam does not cover her face.” The attendant said: “ Indeed and she must not do this or that,” counting the restrictions of ihraam. Our scholar smiled and said: “ Should you then allow people to proceed with their worship as they are rather than impose restrictions.” The man apologised that it was the force of sheer habit and not more than that. Those men have been in the habit of telling women to cover their faces, oblivious of the fact that women in ihraam should not cover their faces.

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How to do the Tawaf?

Q. Could you please explain how tawaf should be done and what is permissible or required during tawaf. May I ask in particular about the practice of people who lift their hands to greet the Kaabah as they first see it when they enter the Mosque.

A. It is recommended as one sees the Kaabah for the first time on arrival for his Hajj or Umrah to offer some supplication. It is said that such supplication is sure to be answered. Hence, one should make a short prayer for something he desires the most, such as: “ My Lord, admit me in into heaven without causing me to face the reckoning.” Lifting one’s hand to greet the Kaabah from a distance is not recommended. The proper way to do the tawaf is to come to the area between the corner known as Rukn Al Yamani and the corner of the Black Stone. Joining the worshippers about one meter before the corner of the Black Stone, one makes clear his intention to do the tawaf which means to go around the Kaabah seven times whether in obligatory or voluntary worship. One must have ablution before starting, because tawaf is a form of prayer with the only difference from regular prayer being that it is not invalidated by ordinary talk. As one walks, he is recommended to get to the Black Stone, kiss it and say: “ In the name of Allah, Allah is Supreme.” Or Bismillah Allahu Akbar.” If the place at the Black Stone is too crowded, one can lift one’s hand and signal to it as he says these words. Then he can walk in an anti-clockwise movement around the Kaabah going beyond the semi-circle part known as Al Hateem. As one reaches the corner known as Rukn Al Yamani, one touches it and says a little supplication. As he gets parallel with the Black Stone, he repeats what he did the first time, kissing it if he can or signaling to it if he cannot. This is repeated seven times. When one finishes, one is recommended to offer two rakahs behind the place known as Maqam Ibraheem. This does not mean that he should be very close to that place. During Ramadan and Hajj, the area is too crowded. He can be at a distance behind the Maqam or he can offer these two rakahs anywhere in the Haram. To stand at Al-Multazam beneath the door of the Kaabah to offer supplication is also recommended. Tawaf is the same for men and women.

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Hajj on behalf of deceased Parents

Q. I would like to perform the Hajj on behalf of my parents who are deceased. With whom should I start, considering my father died first?

A. Scholars have spoken at length on who has the first claim on the kindness and dutifulness of a son or daughter. Some are clearly in favour of the father saying that he has the greater claim, but they also point out that the mother is to be attended to first.. All this is largely a matter of opinion. For my part, I believe that there is not much difference between the claims of both parents. Therefore, it does not matter with whom you start first, since you intend all the time the same act of dutifulness for the other parent. You may do the pilgrimage on behalf of each of your parents, but this cannot be done for both at the same time. You have to choose one first and then do the pilgrimage the following year or whenever the chance presents itself, on behalf of the other.

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Performing Substitute Pilgrimage and Umrah

Q. I know that it is appropriate to perform the pilgrimage or the Umrah on behalf of a relative who is dead, but is it permissible to offer either of these duties on behalf of a person who is alive, as many expatriates do?

A. Substitute pilgrimage may be offered on behalf of relatives who died without having fulfilled this duty. The same applies to the Umrah. The Prophet was asked whether one may offer the pilgrimage on behalf of a deceased parent and he said that this should be done. Similarly, if a relative is too ill to be able to do the journey, it is valid if someone else offers the pilgrimage on his behalf. This could be a relative who performs the substitute pilgrimage voluntarily, or the person himself may hire a man or a woman to do the pilgrimage for him, paying all the expenses of the person hired for the purpose. The only condition is that such deputy should have done his own pilgrimage first.

There are several Hadiths which confirm this. A woman said to the Prophet that her father is too weak to be able to sit on the back of his camel. Could she offer the pilgrimage on his behalf? The Prophet told her to do so. Some well-meaning expatriates feel that they should take the opportunity and save their relatives the trouble and expense of doing the pilgrimage or the Umrah by doing these duties on their behalf. Or they may do so because they know that their relatives are too poor to be able to afford the journey. This is not right, because if a person cannot afford the journey, he does not meet the ability condition which makes the pilgrimage a binding duty for him or her. This duty is conditional on one being able to undertake the journey, both physically and financially. If one does not meet this condition, he is exempt from doing it. If the relative concerned is one’s own parent, it is infinitely better to arrange for one’s parents to come over and do the pilgrimage themselves. If one cannot do that, he may pray for them in the Haram. If neither he nor they can afford the expense, he may do the pilgrimage on their behalf as an act of dutifulness, knowing that it is not binding on them. He will be richly rewarded for that, God willing. But he need not go further and do the pilgrimage or the Umrah on behalf of other relatives who are similarly placed with regard to ability, because they are not required to do it themselves.

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Zamzam Water and Hajj

Q. I would like to bring back lot of Zamzam water for my friends and relatives after my Hajj. Can I also tell them it has curative powers?

A. During Hajj and Umra, pilgrims are recommended to drink Zamzam water to their fill to quench their thirst. They also continue the tradition of bringing it back for family and friends. Apart from its ability to serve as a satisfying drink, Zamzam water’s health benefits are also commended. The Prophet said it was a healing from sickness. This is why pilgrims to Makkah to this day collect it in bottles to bring back for relatives and friends back home who are ill.

The Prophet used to carry Zamzam water in pitchers and water skins back to Madinah. He used to sprinkle it over the sick and make them drink it.

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Q. What about a person in debt?

A. This differs according to the nature of the debt. The normal situation is that a debtor need not offer the pilgrimage until he has settled his debts. However, if he has bought a car on installments and his regular income makes him perfectly able to pay each installment on time until he clears the debt, and yet he has enough money to meet the pilgrimage expenses, he should do the pilgrimage.

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Q. How is the duty of Hajj fulfilled after a person's death?

A. It is important to know first of all that once a person is able to undertake the duty of pilgrimage, he or she must do it without delay. If however a person dies before he offers the pilgrimage, when the conditions of ability have been met during his lifetime, then before his estate is divided among his heirs, and indeed before the execution of his will, if any, a portion of his money should be set aside which must be sufficient to meet the expenses of pilgrimage and Umrah so that someone else may do the Hajj on his behalf using that money. This applies whether the deceased had been too lax about fulfilling his duty or he had every intention to fulfill it, but he was prevented by circumstances, or an illness or any other legitimate reason. The person who offers a substitute pilgrimage on someone else’s behalf should have performed pilgrimage for himself first. On his pilgrimage journey, the Prophet (Pbuh) heard one of his companions declaring that his pilgrimage was intended on behalf of Shibrimah. The Prophet asked him, who Shibrimah was. The man answered that he was a brother of his. The Prophet asked the man whether he had offered the pilgrimage before. When the man answered in the negative, the Prophet said to him: “ Offer the pilgrimage on your own behalf first, then offer it again on behalf of Shibrimah.” It is perfectly acceptable that a close relative, such as a son or a daughter or brother or sister does the pilgrimage on behalf of the deceased. It is also appropriate that someone is hired for the purpose.

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Q.What is meant by the ability to afford and undertake the pilgrimage?

A. The ability, according to scholars is both financial and physical. In the early generations of Islam, scholars used to speak of food and transport and the ability to provide these for oneself during the pilgrimage. Nowadays, there are other expenses involved in undertaking a journey to do the pilgrimage. So with food, we must include what a pilgrim reasonably needs during his stay in the pilgrimage area till he returns home, such as reasonable accommodation, any fees he may have to pay on his journey as in the case of pilgrims who must travel through several countries and need to pay fees for obtaining visas to all these countries. While in the past, transport meant a camel, owned or rented, today we speak of fares for a plane. It is a condition of financial ability that the prospective pilgrim should have enough to cover all this in excess of what he and his dependents may need of accommodation, food etc during his absence. If he has incurred some debts, whether to other people or to God as in the case when he may not have paid some zakah which is due, the money he needs for his journey should also be in excess of what settles his debts.

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Q. What if the deceased was never able to throughout his life afford the cost of the journey to offer the pilgrimage because of his poverty?

A. In this case, pilgrimage as a duty was not applicable to him, since it is binding only on those who can afford and undertake it. Nevertheless, if one of his children does the pilgrimage on his behalf, it is acceptable as such. It is also greatly rewarding for the son or daughter concerned. It counts as an exceptional act of dutifulness on their part. It ensures the reward of pilgrimage for their parent and a gratifying reward for them.

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Q. Should anyone change his lifestyle in order to meet the expenses of Pilgrimage?

A. There can be no rigid rule in this regard. Suppose that a married couple have no children and are unlikely to have any, but the man has a big house or a villa to live in, yet he has not much money of his own, if he sells his house to buy a smaller, but perfectly adequate one, he will have the required money for his pilgrimage. In this case, he should sell it. On the other hand, if a man needs his home for the accommodation of his family or to use its rent to look after his dependents, he need not sell it. If he has something in excess of his needs, he should sell it to meet the expenses of his pilgrimage. On the other hand, a person is not required to decrease the level of his stock in his business, if that will mean a decrease in his regular income. If he has books which he needs for his work, he need not sell them, but if he does not particularly need them, then he should sell them.

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Q. Why is Hajj made a duty owed to Allah?
Why do we not say the same of prayers or fasting?

A. Allah gives his message in the clearest of terms. Here, pilgrimage is stated in a way which makes it similar to a debt. Since pilgrimage can be offered only at a particular time every year, a delay in offering it, once it becomes a duty is similar to the delay in settling a debt when a person has the money to pay it off. Moreover, should the person who has met the conditions of ability to offer the pilgrimage at one time or another during his life dies without having offered it, then the fulfillment of this duty remains outstanding in the same way as an unpaid loan must be settled after the debtor’s death.

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Q. Are there any conditions which make the duty of pilgrimage due?

A. In order that pilgrimage becomes due, a person must be a Muslim who is sane and who has attained puberty. Moreover, he must be able to afford and undertake it. This means that a non-believer and an insane person are not required to do the pilgrimage, nor is it acceptable from either. A child below the age of puberty may do the pilgrimage and his parents or guardian who take him will also be rewarded for the pilgrimage, but pilgrimage in his case is not a duty. So when he reaches the age of puberty, and pilgrimage becomes a duty applicable to him, the pilgrimage he did when young is not sufficient to fulfill that duty. This is the same as offering zuhr prayer before it is due. It does not count as an obligatory prayer, but as a voluntary one. When zuhr falls due, the person is required to offer it then.

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Q. If a person does not own enough to cover his expenses during his pilgrimage, but someone else, say a friend or a relative or any other person or a company offers to pay his expenses, must he accept?

A. No, he need not accept the offer. If we were to say that he must accept, then pilgrimage becomes due of him. It is not the case because the financial ability must be his own. Nevertheless, if he accepts and undertakes the pilgrimage, he has fulfilled his duty. It is important to point out here that Islam takes everything into consideration. In some cases, accepting such an offer may put the person concerned in a position of moral indebtedness to the one who has offered him that. What Islam is telling him is that if he declines that offer, he incurs no sin and he has not failed to fulfill his duty.

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Q. Is it wrong to throw five stones at one go at the Jamarah when the crowd is too heavy?

A. During the stoning at Jamarah, normally the crowds are heavy and the pilgrims may get pushed. So instead of throwing the stones one by one, if the first two stones are thrown one at a time and the remaining five are thrown at one go, this is definitely an error. That is because the five stones that are thrown at one go is counted as only one stone. If a pilgrim throws all seven stones at one Jamarah altogether, they count as one only. So it is better if some charity is given within the Haram area by the pilgrim who has committed this error.

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News| Community Roundup| Editorial| Readers Comments| Men, Mission and Machines| Investigation| Muslim Perspectives| Profile Women In Focus| Tribute| Religion| Book Review| Children's Corner| Quran Speaks to You| Hadith| Hajj| Our Dialogue| Living Islam Guest Column| From Darkness To Light| Matrimonial| Jobs| Archives| Feedback| Subscription| Links| Calendar| Contact Us

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