Is The Hajj Ban a Sign of The Day of Judgment?

07 July, 2020
Q Is the Haj ban a sign of the Day of Judgment or an evil omen?

Answer

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- Hajj is obligatory only when one can be assured of safety. Preservation of life and health are priorities in Islam. Thus, we are to take all the necessary measures to safeguard life and health.

2- Canceling Hajj for pilgrim from outside Saudi Arabia and limiting it to resident to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic conforms to the spirit of the Shariah.

3- Hajj ban is not a sign of the Day of Judgment or an evil omen.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

The question of the Hour (the Day of Judgment) is one of the mysteries, known only to Allah. Neither the Angels closest to Allah nor Allah’s chosen Messengers have any prior knowledge of it. That is what we learn from the famous hadith known as Hadith Jibreel.

The hadith is one of the foundational texts. Its importance lies in the fact that it defines the terms of Islam, Iman (faith), and Ihsan (excellence). The hadith also answers the question of the Hour.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) answered all the questions and Jibreel confirmed them as right. Then he asked, ‘When is the Hour?’, the Prophet replied, “I have no more knowledge thereof than you”, to which Jibreel said, “You are right.”

Then Jibreel asked the Prophet: “Then tell me some of its signs.” The Prophet replied, “You will see slave woman giving birth to her master and seeing those who were nomads with bare feet, tending camels and sheep (suddenly becoming superrich) and vying with one another in building taller and taller and taller mansions!” Jibreel confirmed the answer, and then he went away.

The Prophet told Umar to trace the man, but he could not find a trace of him. Then he said to Umar: That was (the Angel) Jibreel, who came to teach your religion.”

So, it is clear from the above, we can never know when the Hour will be. What we know for sure is that it would be so sudden that we will be caught unaware.

In fact, this fact is explicitly stated in the Quran:

{They ask you [Prophet] about the Hour, ‘When will it happen?’ Say, ‘My Lord alone has knowledge of it: He alone will reveal when its time will come, a time that is momentous in both the heavens and earth. All too suddenly, it will come upon you.’ They ask you about it as if you were eager [to find out]. Say, ‘God alone has knowledge of [when it will come], though most people do not realize it.’} (Al-Araf 7:187)

So what we have been given to know is some of its signs. Among others, on top of what we said above, are the following:

a- There will be steady erosion of morals and spread of promiscuous behavior; because of which deadly diseases will be sent down the like of which were known before;

b- Also integrity and honesty will disappear from the people especially from the leaders/rulers. The Prophet said, “Before the Hour approaches you will witness years of deception (and treachery): Wherein the liars will be trusted, and the truthful will be falsified; the treacherous people will be trusted, and the honest will shunned as untrustworthy, and the worthless person will come forward as the spokesman (or the leader).” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and others)

As for the question of whether hajj ban has anything to do with the signs of the Day of Judgment or an evil omen, my answer is, it is not mentioned as one of the signs.

Hajj had been canceled a few times in history due to invaders’ threat due to wars waged by the sectarian terrorists, highway robbers, plagues, and other natural tragedies.

In the year 908 (317 AH), the Qarmatians invaded the Kabah and slaughtered thousands of pilgrims, throwing hundreds of bodies into Zamzam well. Abu Tahir, a Qarmatian leader, sacked the Kabah, took the Blackstone, and carried it away with him to Bahrain. It was retrieved only after over ten years. And Hajj resumed after the Abbassids with the help of Seljuks who defeated the Qarmatians.  

Furthermore, there were quite a few other occasions when pilgrimage was canceled from various countries outside Arabia for the reasons mentioned above.

In recent times, Al-Azhar scholars and others gave the ruling ordering the Muslims in their countries to stop going for Hajj to save lives (due to the spread of SARS).

So, we cannot see the cancellation of Hajj for people outside Saudi Arabia and limiting it to residents only as an evil omen. After all, Hajj is obligatory only when one can be assured of safety. Preservation of life and health are priorities in Islam. Thus, we are to take all the necessary measures to safeguard them; so, canceling Hajj as a temporary measure to pre-empt any threat to life and health conforms to the spirit of the Shariah.

I pray to Allah to protect us all against all deadly diseases and tragedies.

Almighty Allah knows best.