Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam. As the new season of Hajj is approaching; the question rises about who are obliged to perform this great worship.
Hajj is obligatory on male and female Muslims who meet the following conditions:
The acts of worship are accepted only from Muslims. If non-Muslims pray, fast, or perform Hajj or `Umrah, their acts will never be accepted since the first and foremost requirement, that of being a Muslim, is absent.
2. Reaching puberty
Attaining the age of puberty is the second condition. Little boys and girls are not required to do Hajj or `Umrah. It is acceptable and rewardable to let them participate with their families in performing Hajj and `Umrah, but they are still required to do Hajj and `Umrah again when they reach the age of puberty, which can be verified by meeting one of the following criteria:
a. Having a wet dream
b. Ejaculating semen
c. Reaching the age of 15
d. Growing pubic hair
Insane people are not required to perform the acts of worship until they regain their sanity.
4. Having the ability
As it is clear from the above verse, Hajj is only required from those able to do it. The ability mentioned here is in terms of three things:
People who are ill and are not expected to recover or to be able to perform Hajj in the future, or who are too old to perform Hajj are excused from Hajj. However, if they are financially able, they have to send another person to perform Hajj on their behalf.
b. Financial ability
People should also be able to afford the costs of Hajj and to leave enough money for these they are responsible for. Muslims are not required to take loans to perform Hajj or `Umrah.
Hajj and debt
Actually, Hajj is not obligatory on those who are in debt. However, if someone has a long-term loan and they are required to pay only a certain amount each month, then their debt is only that which is due each month. If they pay off all the debt and then nothing is left with them to make Hajj, then Hajj is not obligatory on them. But if they only pay their monthly dues and then have enough money to make Hajj, then they should make Hajj because it is obligatory on them.
If someone is in debt and their creditor allows them to go for Hajj, then they can perform Hajj. If someone takes a loan to perform Hajj and makes Hajj, their Hajj is valid, although they were not required to perform it and Hajj was not obligatory on them.
If traveling to Hajj would risk someone’s life, such as if there were a war or the like, they are not required to perform Hajj because they are unable to do so safely.