Is It Permissible to Perform Hajj While in Debt?

22 July, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I owe my brother a debt that I have to repay over the next two years, and at the same time I'm thinking of going to Hajj this year as I will be in Jeddah for work just before the Hajj season. Will my Hajj be valid in this case if I could be able to reach Makkah? And do I need my brother's permission for Hajj before I repay this debt? Or, must I first repay my debt, bearing in mind that I have not performed Hajj before, only `Umrah? Jazakum Allah Khayran


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- Islam pays due attention to people’s rights.

2- A Muslim should not go for hajj if he is heavily indebted and his debts are due before the hajj season.

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3- However, it is permissible to go for Hajj if there is no set time limit for the repayment of the debt or the debt is not due before the hajj time.

Responding to your question about going to hajj while in debt, Dr. Wael Shihab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University, and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:

Hajj is obligatory, once in a lifetime, on every Muslim, man or woman, who is financially and physically capable to afford it. Allah the Almighty says: {Pilgrimage thereto is a duty people owe to Allah, those who can afford the journey…} (Aal `Imran 3:97)

Acceptable hajj (hajj mabrur) brings about great rewards and blessings of Allah. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “(The performance of) Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of the accepted Hajj (mabrur) is nothing but paradise.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Hajj, moreover, expiates all sins. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj) free from all sins as if he were born anew.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Regarding your question, it should be clear that Hajj is obligatory only if a Muslim has enough funds to pay for his trips and expenses (including the expenses of those who are dependent on him such as one’s wife, children and parents who cannot support themselves), and after paying off one’s debts that are due before the hajj season.

Moreover, if a person owes an interest-based debt, which is not permissible in principle, one should pay off such debts as soon as possible—even at the expense of delaying hajj—in order to avoid incurring interest on his payments as much as he can.

If, however, he incurs no interest on his debt payments, and he has paid all the outstanding dues, then he may go for hajj as long as he has the means to pay his debts off when he comes back.

Given the above, if your debts are not due before the hajj, as it is clear in  your question, and you have the ability to pay off your debts on the due time, and the loan is interest-free, then you are absolutely allowed to go for hajj. Moreover, you are not obliged to seek your brother’s permission to go for hajj since your performance of hajj would not affect repaying your debts on the due time.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.