Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 96-97 [Part 2]
“And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way.”
This ayah established the obligation of performing Hajj. There are many ahadeeth that mention it as one of the pillars and fundamentals of Islam.
According to texts and the consensus of the scholars, it is only obligatory for the adult Muslim to perform it once during his lifetime. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam once gave a speech in which he said,
أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ فُرِضَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْحَجُّ فَحُجُّوا
“O people! Hajj has been enjoined on you, therefore, perform Hajj.”
A man asked, “Is it every year, O Allah’s Messenger?” The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam remained silent until the man repeated the question three times and he then said,
لَوْ قُلْتُ: نَعَمْ لَوَجَبَتْ وَلَمَا اسْتَطَعْتُم
“Had I said yes, it would have become an obligation and you would not have been able to fulfill it.”
He said next,
ذَرُونِي مَا تَرَكْتُكُمْ فَإِنَّمَا هَلَكَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ بِكَثْرَةِ سُؤَالِهِمْ وَاخْتِلَافِهِمْ عَلى أَنْبِيَائِهِمْ، وَإِذَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ فَأْتُوا مِنْهُ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ، وَإِذَا نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْ شَيْءٍ فَدَعُوه
“Leave me as I leave you, those before you were destroyed because of their many questions and disputing with their prophets. If I command you with something, perform it as much as you can. If I forbid something for you, then refrain from it.”
Muslim recorded similarly.
Meaning of “Affording Hajj”
There are several categories of “the ability to undertake the journey.” There is the physical ability of the person himself and the ability that is related to other things as mentioned in the books of jurisprudence. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ibn ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “A man stood up and asked the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who is the pilgrim?’ He said, ‘He who has untidy hair and clothes.’
Another man asked, ‘Which Hajj is better, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘The noisy (with supplication to Allah) and bloody (with sacrifice).’ Another man asked, ‘What is the ability to undertake the journey, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Having provision and a means of transportation.’” This is the narration that Ibn Majah collected.
Al-Hakim narrated that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah was asked about Allah’s statement,
مَنِ اسْتَطَـعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً
“for those who are able to undertake the journey,” (3:97) “What does ‘able to undertake the journey’ mean?” The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam answered, “Having sufficient provision and a means of transportation.” Al-Hakim stated that this hadeeth’s chain of narration is authentic, following the guidelines of Muslim in his Saheeh, but the Two Saheehs did not collect it.
Ahmad recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
مَنْ أَرَادَ الْحَجَّ فَلْيَتَعَجَّل
“Whoever intends to perform Hajj, let him rush to perform it.”
Abu Daw’ood also collected this hadeeth.
The One who Denies the Necessity of Hajj Becomes a Disbeliever
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.”
Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid and several others commented on this ayah, “Whoever denies the necessity of Hajj becomes a disbeliever, and Allah is far Richer than to need him.” Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Isma`ili recorded that ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “Whoever can afford Hajj but did not perform it, there is no difference in his case if he dies while Jew or Christian.” This has an authentic chain of narration leading to ‘Umar.
The first lesson that we learn is that whoever goes for Hajj or ‘Umrah with the sincere intention to gain the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and to draw nearness to Him, they return changed.
After not shaving for several days, men decide to grow their beard. After covering their hair for several days, women decide to accept Hijab and to continue it for the rest of their lives. Some people are motivated to leave their Haram or doubtful source of earning and seek halal earning. They give up riba, cut down their expenditures and give in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala generously. Some give up music, haram relationships and other acts of disobedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and replace these activities with seeking knowledge of the Deen.
SubhanAllah! These are the people about whom it can be said that their pilgrimage was accepted. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us of them, ameen.
Makkah is so safe that at 3 a.m. you can go alone to the Masjid, do your Tawaf, offer voluntary prayers and you are not afraid. There is no place on earth that is as safe as Al-Masjid Al-Haram, subhanAllah!
In Makkah being a safe place, the lesson for us is that when we go there we should not start a fight or harm others in any other way. We should be tolerant, focus on our worship and be compassionate towards others. When someone near us is praying or reciting the Qur’an, we should not be talking or making noise. If people are pushing, pulling or running, it does not mean we got the license to do the same. We should learn the etiquette of visiting a mosque and be dignified. Even when visiting Riyad al-Jannah or kissing the Black Stone, women should not push or hurt one another. Ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make a way for you.
People who go for Hajj or ‘Umrah are not only spiritually cured but physically too it has been noticed that people start feeling much better. Those who complain of the knee or joint pain they say they feel much better. People who are emotionally down, they find their purpose and become hopeful. SubhanAllah, so many blessings.
For Hajj to be obligatory on someone, the person should be able to afford the trip, be capable of bearing the physical hardship of the journey and be mentally sane. For women, one additional condition is that of a mahram who will accompany her on the journey.
We should remember that we do not do Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala a favor by worshiping Him and obeying His commands. It is obligatory on those capable if they honor this obligation they witness many benefits in their life. Those who do not go, then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not care whether they die as a Jew or a Christian.
Why is it that we can go for vacations abroad, buy designer wear and throw big dinners but not go for the pilgrimage regularly? One Hajj being obligatory does not mean we should never go back ever again. Hajj cleanses the filth of the sins. Frequent ‘Umrah results in the increase of one’s provision.
If you cannot afford the Hajj – ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make a way out for you whether it is a financial constraint or a mahram issue. Cut down your expenditures and start a Hajj fund.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala include us among those who go for the pilgrimage again and again and He accepts it from them, ameen.
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