Who is Obligated to Perform Hajj

Performing Hajj and ^Umrah once in a lifetime becomes obligatory upon the Muslim when he is free, accountable, and can afford to reach Makkah and return to his homeplace. This includes that one has in excess of one’s debts, appropriate lodging and clothing, and what one is obligated to spend on those whom one must support from one’s departure until one return.

The conditions which make one obligated to perform Hajj are:

1. To be Muslim: Like all other worships, performing Hajj is not valid from a blasphemer. It is not demanded from the able blasphemer to perform Hajj. However, one will be punished for not doing so in the Hereafter. Rather, it is an obligation on one to first become Muslim, then, if able, to perform Hajj.

2. To be accountable: Although the non-pubescent child is not obligated to perform Hajj–should he do so, it is a valid, rewardable worship. Hajj performed by even a one-day old child is valid through his guardian, who helps him perform the integrals and requisites of Hajj. Hajj is valid from the child who attained to the age of tamyiz , but is not yet pubescent, if he has the permission of his guardian (waliyy), and he performs the required actions by himself. Tamyiz is the age at which a child understands the questions asked to him, and responds to them properly. It is usually at the age of seven (7) lunar years.

3. To be sane: Performing Hajj is not an obligation on the insane person.

4. To be free: Performing Hajj is not an obligation on the slave.

5. To be able: A person is considered ‘able’ to go to Hajj if he can afford to reach Makkah and return to his homeplace. As well, he must have what exceeds his debts, (even if they are not due yet, or if they are pertaining to rights of Allah, such as an unpaid expiation or Zakah), appropriate lodging and clothing for himself, and what he is obligated to spend on those whom he must support (such as his wife, non-pubescent children, slaves, poor parents, and the like), from his departure until his return.

Though not an obligation on him, Hajj is valid from the poor man. However, whoever leaves out performing a matter which is obligatory on him (like supporting his family with the obligatory support) to go to Hajj is sinful.

The one who believes he will not be secured from being killed or robbed on the way to Hajj is not obligated to perform it.

For Hajj to be an obligation on the woman, it is a condition that she can find someone to accompany her–either a mahram  (even one she must pay, if she can afford to do so), a husband or the like, then trustworthy women, or one trustworthy adult woman, or a trustworthy female who is about to turn adolescent.

If she cannot find any of these, she is permitted to go to Hajj alone, i.e., to perform Hajj for the first time after puberty, although it is not an obligation on her to do so. However, she is not allowed to travel alone after that time. A mahram or the like has to accompany her. She is not allowed to travel alone without a mahram to visit the grave of the Prophet.

Doing so is not a rewardable act for her; rather, it is sinful. The woman’s mahram are her brother, her father, her uncle, her son, her son-in-law and the like.

If the person who is not physically able, because of old age or extreme sickness to leave his house to go to Hajj, is able to find someone to perform Hajj on his behalf, it is an obligation on him to assign one to do so. If he cannot find except one who asks to be paid for doing so, and he can afford it, he pays that one to perform Hajj on his behalf. It is a condition that the person, performing Hajj on behalf of another, must have already performed the obligatory Hajj for himself.