Afford and Effort in Hajj and Umrah: The Issue of Muslims’ Faith

Afford and Effort in Hajj

The ibadah of Hajj and Umrah is to surrender to the will of Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ. To be able to perform Hajj or Umrah is a blessing in itself, a pinnacle of a Muslim’s love for and submission to the one true God. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه said, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said

New call-to-action

“Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not utter any obscene speech or do any evil deed, will go back (free of sin) as his mother bore him.”

“(The performance of) ‘Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ‘Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (i.e., one accepted) is nothing but Jannah.”

The removal of sin and the rewards of Paradise is the underlying force that fuels a Muslim’s yearning to perform Hajj and Umrah. Hajj is one of the 5 pillars in Islam, hence the integral point still revolves around the intention of following Allah’s command and pleasing Him.

A Good Question is Half of Knowledge

As believers, we are encouraged to ask questions especially matters pertaining to the faith in order to holistically understand and to acquire deeper knowledge of Islam. In the case of Hajj and Umrah, my thoughts were once polarized around the subject of the injustice between the poor and the rich. Though Hajj is not obligatory, it seemed unfair to impose this on Muslims as some Muslims just cannot afford to perform Hajj.

Does being poor and not being able to perform Hajj mean that your faith is weak? Conversely, does performing Hajj numerous times equate to stronger faith?

Putting these questions in parallel with the excerpts from the Quran somehow brought a whole new perspective. As described clearly in the Holy Quran:

… And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Hajj, then he is a disbeliever of Allah), then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘Alâmin (mankind and jinn).” (Qur’an 3:97)

When the issue of faith is incorporated into the question of being financially able, it becomes a new conundrum. The question now evolves into the question of one’s effort to afford the expenses. Hypothetically speaking, if all Muslims make the efforts to afford the Hajj costs, that would probably attest to the Muslim’s biggest representation of their faith.

His Answers to My Questions

The keywords are: determination and perseverance. Truly, Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ is the most sufficient and the most intelligent. The questions pertaining to believers who are financially incapable of performing Hajj or Umrah were already provided by Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ through our Messenger. Allah has provided a surfeit of options on how Muslims can gain similar rewards of performing the Hajj and Umrah should they are incapable to afford the expenses.

In Hadith Al-Bukhari and Muslim, narrated from Abu Hurayrah a story that is in tandem with the above questions:

Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه reported: The poor came to the Messenger of Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ and said,

“Oh, Messenger of Allah, the wealthy have gone with the highest ranks and lasting bliss. They offer Salat (prayer) as we offer it; they observe fast as we do; and as they are wealthy, they perform Hajj and ‘Umrah, and go for Jihad, and they spend in charity.”

Other Hadiths includes:

Anas رضي الله عنه narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until sunrise, then prays two units of prayer, has a complete reward of Hajj and ‘Umrah. (The Prophet ﷺ ) repeated ‘complete’ three times for emphasis.) [Tirmidhi]

Abu Umamah رضي الله عنه narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Whoever goes to the mosque not desiring except to learn or teach what is good has the reward of a pilgrim who completed his Hajj.” [Tabarani]

Hajj and Umrah – Through My Lenses

The grounding essence in search of answers is trust. Trust Allah the All-Knowing who has conceptualized ideal solutions and explanations for every issue. After all, Islam is not just a religion, it is a way of life. In and of itself, Islam is a religion that covers every aspect of human life. A religion with holistic and universal views for mankind.

Today, I see Hajj and Umrah differently. I understand the terminology of effort and afford by its fundamentals. And most importantly, I believe in Islam and Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ with a better heart. It is never too late to take that little step to save up for Hajj and Umrah. It is never too late to start making sincere Du’a to Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ, asking Him to grant our wish to visit His home. There is no discrepancy in how Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ sees His servants. What matters most is the effort we put in in trying to obey and fulfil His commands.

Most importantly, pilgrimage is not about the number of times you set foot in the house of Allah, but is the shift of our old self towards the better. Allah ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ has provided ways for His servants who are willing to make the effort to reach the same gains, regardless of our state; financial or physical-wise. All that remains is the question of the willingness of our hearts and minds to make the effort to be close to him.

With the Hajj season comes another joyful celebration, Eid Al – Adha which will be celebrated by Muslims all over the world. Join GlobalSadaqah and support our qurban campaigns in providing qurban for the underprivileged people in Sierra Leone and Mali.