Eligibility Factors For Muslims Who Wish To Perform Hajj
There are five pillars of Islam and other than the first pillar of Shahada required for converting to Islam rest of the pillars are obligatory but there is ease of every regard in it. For instance, Prayer is obligatory upon Muslim, however, if he or she cannot offer it in the prescribed way, they can do it while sitting, if even that is not possible then they can do it while lying down. Therefore, Islam brings ease to a Muslim and another such example of Islam being considerate of the followers is the obligation of Hajj. The lines below discuss the conditions which have to be met in order to offer Hajj with ease.
The first and perhaps the most imperative factor that needs to be present in order to perform Hajj is Faith. A person cannot offer Hajj or receive its religious benefits if he or she does not have faith. Now this faith should also be present on the two levels. The first level is faith in Allah Almighty. One cannot be a Muslim without having faith in Allah Almighty and if a Muslim does not have faith in His Supremacy then there is no point in offering Hajj. The second level of faith refers to the faith in Hajj being a form of worship that refers to subjugation to Allah Almighty and His praise and worship. If a Muslim thinks that Hajj is just a set of activities, then it will all be activities and there cannot possibly be any reward for it, unless the true spirit of faith in its being a form of worship. In Quran Allah Almighty says:
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“And nothing prevents their contribution from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger.” (9:54)
Therefore, in order to be eligible for Hajj, before anything a Muslim has to have true faith in its sacredness.
Being Adult and Sensible:
Hajj is an event of mass gathering where Muslims from all over the world gather and perform a prescribed set of activities in an order. In order to perform Hajj one has to do research and find out the obligation and necessary acts of Hajj, therefore, in order to do so a Muslim also needs to be an adult and sane. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in one of His hadiths:
“The pen is lifted from three (and does not record their deeds): from one who is sleeping, until he wakes up; from a child until he reaches puberty, and from one who is insane until he comes to his senses.” (Abu Dawud)
From the hadith it is clear that in order to be eligible for Hajj one needs to be other than these three people. Sleeping is obviously not an option when it comes to Hajj. Similarly a child can also not be considered for Hajj as he or she does not know about the obligations of Hajj and cannot perform the physical labor required in Hajj, moreover, children also miss the real essence of Hajj which makes all the efforts void even if they succeed in doing the physical labor. Thirdly, sanity is another factor that needs to be there in order for a person to be eligible for Hajj. Due to Hajj being an event of mass gathering, it is imperative that all the people in the gathering understand their responsibilities and don’t make things difficult for themselves and for others. All these are not possible by an insane person, therefore, in order to perform Hajj one needs to be in his or her senses. Therefore, in order to perform Hajj a person needs to be an adult with senses intact to perform all the rituals and activities.
The days in which Islam came to humanity, there was the trend of enslavement which continued centuries afterwards all over the world as well. Majority of people who converted to Islam at that time were either very poor or slaves, therefore, it was imperative that Islam realized the condition and situation of the slaves when it came to performing Muslim obligations. Pertaining to the event of Hajj, Islam has made it a condition that one should be a free person to perform Hajj or if he or she is a slave then they need to ask for permission from their master. Therefore, those who are bound to some master and cannot leave for Hajj without permission they should not offer it despite the fact that they fulfill the rest of the conditions.
Physically and Financially Able:
The two most important things that Hajj requires from a person are health and finances. Hajj requires physical labor in which the pilgrims have to revolve around the Kaba which is called ‘Tawaf’. Then they have to do run between the mountains of Safa and Marwa which is called ‘Sai’ and they also have to cast stones at Pillars of Satan at Jamarat in addition to the excessive prayers and worshiping. Therefore, in order to accomplish all these tasks successfully one needs to be physically healthy. On the other hand, the traveling to Macca, accommodation there and eating charges all require finances. If the finances are not there then staying in Macca for weeks can become difficult for a pilgrim, therefore, before going to Hajj a person must make sure that he or she is physically healthy and that there are sufficient funds available to support the trip.
In a nutshell, Hajj is one of the most prestigious obligations that a Muslim can offer in his or her lifetime. In order to do so a person must make sure that he or she fulfills the eligibility criteria to perform Hajj with ease.