O, people! Fear Allah the Almighty and know that Hajj is one of the finest acts of worship and the greatest in reward. It was related that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“(The performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward for Hajj Mabroor (i.e., the one accepted by Allaah) is nothing except Paradise. Whoever performs Hajj to this House (i.e., the Ka`bah) and does not approach his wife (for sexual intercourse) nor commits sins (while performing Hajj), will come out of it as sinless as a newly-born child.”
Hajj is a physical devotion that every Muslim is required to physically fulfill, though a small part of it pertains to money – such as when one offers a sacrificial animal.
The Sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has clarified that in the event of a person being genuinely unable to perform Hajj, then it is permissible by proxy. It was related in Saheeh Al-Bukhari on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, that:
“A woman asked: ‘O Messenger of Allaah! My father is very old. There is the obligation of Hajj upon him from Allaah, but he is incapable of sitting on the back of a camel.’ Thereupon Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Perform Hajj on his behalf.””
This happened on his Farewell Pilgrimage.
In another narration, a woman came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and asked: “My mother had vowed to perform Hajj but she died before performing it. May I perform Hajj on her behalf?” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: “Perform Hajj on her behalf. Had your mother been in debt, would you not have paid it off? Therefore pay (her debt to) Allaah, as He has the most right to be paid.”
If a person has the ability to perform Hajj in person, he is not permitted to authorize another person to make Hajj on his behalf. Many people loosely resort to Hajj by proxy in the case of supererogatory Hajj, even though they are well capable of performing it. By doing this they deprive themselves of the immense reward attained from the fatigue of worship and all that it contains remembrance, supplication, submissiveness to Allaah, redoubling of reward, useful meetings, etc. In one of the two narrations reported from Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, he forbade proxy in supererogatory Hajj for those who are capable of performing it in person. Thus, a Muslim should not be careless concerning the matter of Hajj; he should either perform supererogatory Hajj in person if he wishes, or provide pilgrims with money in order to share with them the reward of Hajj.
O, people! Hajj is a type of worship that is performed by the servant as a means to please Allaah and to attain reward in the Hereafter. A servant’s attention must not be diverted to attaining worldly gains during Hajj. Unfortunately, many people who perform Hajj on behalf of others do this solely for the sake of money, which is prohibited since worldly considerations should not spoil acts of worship.
Allaah the Almighty says that which means:
“Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments – We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the fire. And lost is what they did therein [i.e., during worldly life], and worthless is what they used to do.” (Hood: 15-16).
He also says that this means:
“And when you have completed your rites, remember Allaah like your [previous] remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance. And among the people is he who says: ‘Our Lord! Give us in this world,’ and he will have in the Hereafter no share.” (Al Baqarah: 200).
Allaah will reject any worship that is not done purely for His sake. The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prevented seeking worldly gains in places of worship when he said:
“If you see a man indulging in a (financial) transaction in the mosque, say to him: ‘May Allaah not render your trade profitable.’”
If this strict attitude is taken against those who utilize places of worship for worldly gains, what about those who turn the worship itself into a means of attaining worldly gains? Indeed it is not rare for us to find those requested to make Hajj on behalf of others bargain and asking for extra money, which is turning worship into a craft or profession.
For this reason, the Hanbali jurists maintained that it is invalid to hire a man to perform Hajj on behalf of another. Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah declared that whoever makes Hajj only to attain hire will have no reward in the Hereafter. However, if a proxy is made for a religious purpose, such as benefiting others with the reward of Hajj or aiming to increase acts of obedience through supplication and remembrance of Allaah during the rituals of Hajj, then Hajj by proxy will be valid and acceptable in this case.
Those who charge proxy in Hajj should devote their intention to seeking the pleasure of Allaah, aiming to exercise the rituals related to Allaah’s House, remembering Him, and supplicating to Him, in addition to the fulfillment of the needs of their fellow Muslims who authorized them to make Hajj on their behalf. They should not divert their attention to gaining worldly benefits; for if this becomes their sole interest, they will not be permitted to charge proxy in Hajj. If one entertains a sound intention for proxy in Hajj, all the money he gets from the authorizing person will be his, unless the latter demands refunding the remaining amount after covering the costs of the Hajj. The deputy should intend to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah on behalf of the authorizing person unless the former allows him to perform ‘Umrah for his own benefit.
A person deputized to make a Hajj on behalf of another person cannot deputize a third party unless he obtains the consent of the person who commissioned him to make a Hajj on his behalf. All the reward of acts related to the rituals of Hajj goes to the authorized person, but the redoubling of reward through offering supererogatory prayers and Tawaf, as well as extra types of worship that exceeds the rituals goes to the authorized person.
The representative in Hajj should exert the best of his efforts to accomplish the verbal and practical acts related to the rituals since this is a trust that he should fulfill duly. When pronouncing Talbiyah, he should say: ‘labbayka ‘an fulan’ (i.e., ‘O Allaah I respond to Your call on behalf of so and so’.) If he forgets the name of the person he is performing Hajj or ‘Umrah for, he may intend it with his heart, saying: ‘labbaika ‘ammanan-abani fi hathihil-‘Umrah, or fi hathal–Hajj’ (i.e. ‘I respond to Your call on behalf of one who authorized me to make this ‘Umrah or this Hajj.’)
O servants of Allaah! Fear Allah and do not pay much attention to worldly gains, and don’t turn worship into a means of attaining material gains!