The Poor And The Duty To Offer Hajj?

Question

Hajj has been prescribed for every Muslim who is financially well-off and physically fit to undertake the journey, meet the financial costs and be able to perform the rituals. It is a common observation that majority of the people going for Hajj come from the lower income groups and they bear lot many hardships in raising money for the Hajj. But out of sheer reverence they sacrifice their primal needs at the altar of religious devotion. Do you think that such people who have to struggle to earn their livelihood, better not be allowed to perform Hajj? Is it permissible for an Islamic government to draft a Hajj Policy (as drafted by the Pakistani government regularly) that would only allow people with fiscal soundness to perform hajj? e.g only those would be allowed who earn, lets suppose, 100,000Rs annually or more. Will such a restriction be in accordance with Islam?


Answer

I do not believe that it would be appropriate to restrict the devotees from performing Hajj on the given ground. After all these people struggle hard in the way of God and sacrifice in order to please God. They prefer the everlasting bliss of the Hereafter over joys of the ephemeral world. Such restrictions are prone to transferring their attention from pleasing God to other worldly affairs. We cannot decide on the behalf of the people that they have necessary financial strength when God has left the decision on them. Let them decide and sacrifice in the way of God. However people should be told that they should not ignore the rights of the related people and collect money on the expense of others needs. This purpose can best be achieved through teaching the masses and exhorting them to fulfilling the rights of the people.

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