Hajj is a Pillar from the Pillars of Islaam, and a mighty obligation with tremendous benefits that must be performed at least once in the lifetime of each and every Muslim. None who has the ability to perform it and meets the conditions that make it obligatory leaves it off except that he falls into sin, neglect and is one unappreciative of the bounties of Allaah upon him. The scholars of the Sunnah have listed five conditions that make Hajj binding upon a Muslim:
First Condition: Islaam.
The Hajj of an unbeliever and a polytheist is not considered to be correct is not accepted. He is not permitted to enter the Masjid al-Haraam [in Mecca]. Allaah, the Most High, stated:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ فَلَا يَقْرَبُوا الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ بَعْدَ عَامِهِمْ هَٰذَا
“O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean [in their belief and doctrines], so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year.”
Bukhaaree (no. 1622) and Muslim (no. 1347) report from Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu):
“In the year prior to Hajj to the last Hajj of the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) when Allaah’s Messenger made Abu Bakr (radiyallaahu `anhu) the leader of the Pilgrims, Abu Bakr sent me in the company of a group of people to call the people and proclaim: No idol-worshipper (Mushrik) is to perform Hajj after this year, and none is to make Tawaaf naked [ever again].”
Second Condition: Sanity.
The insane is not commanded with Hajj or `Umrah and even if he performs them, they would not be counted whilst he is not cognisant and not aware (due to his insanity). Abu Dawood reports in his Sunan from `Alee (radiyallaah `anhu) that Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:
“The pen is lifted from three: The one sleeping until he awakes, the child till he reaches adulthood, and the insane till he comprehends (regains sanity).”
(Abu Dawood no. 4403, see al-Irwaa, no 297)
Third Condition: Adulthood.
Hajj is not obligated upon the child until he reaches adulthood as proven by the previous hadeeth. However, if the child performs Hajj, his Hajj is sound and correct but it he has not fulfilled the Hajj of Islaam that is obligated upon him until he reaches adulthood. Ibn `Abbaas said that a woman lifted her child to the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) and said: “Is there a Hajj for him?” The Prophet responded: “Yes, and for you there is a reward.”
There is another another hadeeth of Ibn `Abbaas (radiyallaahu anhumaa) that Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:
“Any child that performs Hajj then he reaches adulthood, then another Hajj becomes obligatory upon him. Any slave that performs Hajj, then he is freed, then another Hajj becomes obligatory upon him.”
(Ibn Khuzaymah in his Saheeh 4/349, Al-Haakim in his al-Mustadrak 2/144 no. 1812. Ibn Hajr said in Al-Fat’h, “Its chain is Saheeh.” 4/71)
“The people of knowledge are in agreement that if a child performs Hajj before reaching adulthood, then upon him is another Hajj. If he reaches adulthood, then that Hajj [which he performed as a child] does not suffice him in fulfilling the Hajj of the Pillar of Islaam. Likewise the one enslaved – if he was to perform Hajj, then he is freed, then upon him is another Hajj if he finds the means to perform it. His Hajj whilst enslaved does not suffice. That is the saying of Suyaan ath-Thawree, Ash-Shaafi’ee, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Is’haaq Ibn Rahawaih.”
(Sunan at-Tirmidhee, p. 169)
Fourth Condition: Being Free From Enslavement.
Hajj is not obligatory upon the slave, however if he performs Hajj it is sound and correct, however it does not suffice the Hajj of the Pillar of Islaam as is proven from the Hadeeth of Ibn `Abbaas (radiyallaahu `anhumaa) previously mentioned.
Fifth Condition: Ability.
Hajj is obligated, by the proofs of the Qur’aan and Sunnah, upon the one who is able to find a way to perform it. What is intended by “able” here is the one who has both the bodily and monetary ability due to the saying of Allaah, the Most High:
فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
“In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.”
(Aali `Imraan: 97)
Physical Or Financial Inability & Appointing Another:
Whoever is physically unable to perform Hajj and `Umrah due to decrepit old age, or a sickness from which one is not expected to recover – or one is physically able but who is financially unable and does not possess the wealth to travel to perform Hajj or `Umrah, then it is not obligatory upon such a person. However if one is financially able but physically unable [due to old age or long-term sickness], then he must appoint someone to perform Hajj and `Umrah on his behalf.
Appointing someone to perform Hajj and `Umrah on one’s behalf is legislated. Abu Razeen al-`Uqailee (radiyallaahu `anhu) said that he came to the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) and said:
“O Messenger of Allaah, my father is an old man and not able to perform Hajj nor `Umrah, nor can he travel [or take a riding beast].” So the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said: “Perform Hajj on behalf of your father and the `Umrah.”
(At-Tirmidhee, no. 930, he commented: “Hasan-Saheeh”)
Also the hadeeth of al-Fadl Ibn `Abbaas (radiyallaahu `anhu) who said: “A woman came from Khath`am in the year of the Farewell Hajj. She said:
“O Messenger of Allaah, indeed Allaah has obligated upon His servants Hajj, but my father is a very old man. He is not able to even mount a riding beast. Am I permitted to to fulfil it for him and perform Hajj on his behalf?” The Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) responded: “Yes.”
(Bukhaaree, no. 1513. Muslim, no. 1334)
Hajj For The Deceased
Whoever dies whilst not performing Hajj and he has wealth, then sufficient funds are extracted from the wealth that he has left behind so that another may perform Hajj on his behalf. Buraidah Ibn al-Husayb (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrates a hadeeth within which he states:
“A woman’s mother died, so she asked the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam): “She never performed Hajj, should I perform Hajj on her behalf?” The Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) replied: “Perform Hajj on her behalf.”
(Muslim, no. 1149)
Sixth Condition: For The Woman: She Must Have A Mahram.
She must have her mahram or her husband who she travels with to perform Hajj due to the Hadeeth of Ibn `Abbaas (radiyallaahu `anhu) that Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:
“A woman is not permitted to travel except with a Mahram. And a man is not allowed to enter her presence except if there is with her a Mahram.” So a man said: “O Allaah’s Messenger, I wish to go out upon a military expedition but my wife wants to perform Hajj?” So the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said: “Go along with her [to Hajj].”
(Bukhaaree, no. 1862. Muslim, no. 1341)
A Mahram is a male relative that is forbidden for her to marry permanently [or her husband]. This includes: Father, son, brother, maternal uncle, paternal uncle, grandfather, grandson, sons of one’s brothers and sisters, brothers through breastfeeding from the same woman, father in law, son in law..