“And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, for those who are able to undertake the journey” [Surah A-‘Imran, 3:97].
This Ayah established the obligation of performing Hajj. There are many Hadiths that mention it as one of the pillars and fundamentals of Islam, and this is agreed upon by the Muslims. 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 Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah once gave a speech in which he said,
“O people! Hajj has been enjoined on you, therefore, perform Hajj”.
A man asked, "Is it every year, O Allah's Messenger '' The Prophet remained silent until the man repeated the question three times and he then said,
“Had I said yes, it would have become an obligation and you would not have been able to fulfill it.”
He said next,
“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 `Afford' in the Ayah
Meaning of `Afford' in the Ayah 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 said, ‘A man stood up and asked the Messenger of Allah, ‘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,
“For those who are able to undertake the journey;” [Surah Al-‘Imran, 3:97]
‘What does ‘able to undertake the journey mean?' The Prophet answered, ‘Having sufficient provision and a means of transportation.’ al-Hakim stated that this Hadith's chain of narration is authentic, following the guidelines of Muslim in his Sahih, but the Two Sahihs did not collect it. Ahmad recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Whoever intends to perform Hajj, let him rush to perform it.” Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith.
The One who Denies the Necessity of Hajj Becomes a Disbeliever
“...and whoever disbelieves, then Allah stands not in need of any of the `Alamin” [Surah Al-‘Imran, 3:97].
Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid and several others commented on this Ayah, ‘Whoever denies the necessity of Hajj becomes disbeliever and Allah is far Richer than to need him.’ Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Isma`il recorded that ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab 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.
[98. Say: ‘O People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians]! Why do you reject the Ayat of Allah, while Allah is Witness to what you do’]
[99. Say: ‘O People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians]! Why do you stop those who have believed, from the path of Allah, seeking to make it seem crooked, while you [yourselves] are witnesses And Allah is not unaware of what you do.’]
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