Hajj and Fasting

Bismillah. So this is the end of the explanation of An-Nawawi’s hadith #3 – the hadith of the five pillars – discussing hajj and fasting.


The Meaning

Linguistically, Hajj means “he repaired, or betook himself to or towards a person… or towards an object of reverence, veneration, respect and honor.” In the shareeah, it means a particular going or traveling at a particular time to a particular place for the purpose of worshiping Allah. It is the journeying to Makkah during the months designated for the performance of Hajj as an act of worship for the sake of Allah.

The Importance of Hajj

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not commit any lewdness or sins returns like the day in which his mother gave him birth,” that is, without any sins. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Hajj is an amazing spiritual journey. Muslims from every walk of life get together. They dress similarly and you cannot tell the difference between a doctor and a janitor, or a wealthy man and a poor one. It is a time to leave the pomp of life and immerse ourselves in simplicity and worship.

Siddiqi says: The physical pilgrimage is a prelude to the spiritual pilgrimage to God, when man would bid goodbye to everything of the world and present himself before Him as His humble servant saying: “Here I am before Thee, my Lord, as a slave of Thine.”

The Means for Hajj

Hajj is not meant to be a hardship on anyone. It is obligatory on those who have the physical health, financial well being and the provisions needed to undertake the journey. When these conditions are met, one is required to make H

But does one have to perform the hajj immediately as he becomes able to, or can it be delayed? The scholars differed over this…

Imam Malik, Abu Hanifah, Ahmad, and some Shafi’ees state that one must perform Hajj at its first feasible opportunity. Otherwise, one is sinful. Amongst their evidences is:

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “If anyone breaks [a bone] or becomes lame, he comes out of the sacred state and he must perform the Hajj the following year.”

And also, “Hurry to perform the Hajj, that is, the obligatory one, as none of you knows what may happen to him.”

It is also narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab once said, “I considered sending men to those lands to see who had the means but did not perform the Hajj. They should have the jizya applied to them as they are not Muslims, they are not Muslims.”

One of the strongest evidences presented for saying that one is allowed to delay the Hajj is that the Hajj was made obligatory in the 6th year, but the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not perform it until the 10th. However, al-Shaukaani offers an argument for this. He says that the reason the Prophet (peace be upon him) delayed the Hajj was because the polytheists used to make tawaaf around the Ka’bah naked, and he disliked to perform the Hajj in such company.

The One Who Does not Perform Hajj though He had the Means

The one who denies the obligation of Hajj, of course, is a disbeliever.

The one who intentionally delays the performance of the Hajj, though he had the means, until he dies is a faasiq or evildoer. He has left himself open to the punishment and displeasure of Allah in the Hereafter.


The Meaning of Siyaam

Linguistically, siyaam means to abstain from something such as abstaining from speaking. In the shareeah, it is a direct reference to the abstaining from food, drink and sexual intercourse during the days of the month of Ramadan.

Importance Of

Fasting is a source of self restraint, piety and God consciousness. Allah says: “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa [self restraint, piety and God consciousness].” (Al Baqara, 183)

Fasting is a shield from Hell and it will intercede on the day of judgment for the one who fasted. I’m sure we all know of the hadith Qudsi in which Allah says: “He leaves his food, drink and desires because of Me. Fasting is for My sake and I shall reward it. And every good deed shall be rewarded ten-fold.” (Bukhari)

If a person fasts the month of Ramadan with faith in Allah and hoping for its reward, Allah will forgive all of his previous minor sins. (Bukhari and Muslim)

The One Who Doesn’t Fast

The one who denies the obligation of fasting is a disbeliever.

For the one who doesn’t fast, the majority and strongest opinion of the scholars is that he does not become a disbeliever. However, it is a great sin to do so and the schoalrs and (at least one of) the companions have very harsh words for the one who leaves the fast. Ibn Abbaas actually says that such a person becomes a disbeliever.

Al-Dhahabi once wrote:

“According to the established believers, anyone who leaves the fast of Ramadan without being sick is worse than a fornicator or an alcoholic. In fact, they doubt his Islam and they suspect that he mist be zandiqah (renegade against Islam) and one of those who destroy Islam.”

In Conclusion …

This hadith states the foundation of one’s Islam. If these foundations/pillars are strong, then Allah willing, one’s faith and religion will be sound, correct and strong. However, if these pillars are weak or not sound, then it’s not a surprise that there may be problems further down the line. In fact, one should expect that there would be problems or weakness in submitting to Allah and problems in his faith.

May Allah strengthen our Iman and make us amongst whom He loves. Ameen.

This is the end of hadith #3. InshaAllah next…we’ll begin Hadith #4 – Creation in the Mother’s Womb! 🙂

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