The Consequences for Not Giving Importance to Hajj
By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi
This has been recorded in the tradition of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) by Amash and in the tradition of Imam Riďa (a.s.) by Fazl Ibn Shazān. Since Hajj is also an obligatory article of faith, what is true of avoiding prayers and zakat also applies to Hajj, viz. a person who refuses to acknowledge it as an obligatory duty is a Kafir and the one who does not fulfill this duty, due to laziness, carelessness or excessive involvement in worldly affairs has committed a great sin. Hajj is highly emphasised as a religious duty of tremendous importance. Indifference towards it is sacrilege.
Delay from the year of Capability is Harām
Hajj is from those obligatory duties that must be performed immediately, if it is possible to do so. Not only is failure to perform Hajj a greater sin, but postponing it, is also a greater sin, even if it be for a year. Hajj has to be performed the very year, in which one is capable of doing so.
Muhaqiq says in Shariatul Islam that delay from the year of capability is a deadly (Great) sin. Shahīd Thani (the second Martyr) says in Masālik, “There is no difference of opinion among the Shia Scholars regarding this matter and there are sufficient proofs from the Qur’an and traditions that delay from the year of capability is a Greater Sin.” It is therefore clear that any delay in performing Hajj amounts to not giving it the importance which is due to it.
Qur’anic ayats and traditions of Ma’sūmīn (a.s.) equate failure to perform Hajj with infidelity. It is a denial of Allah (S.w.T.) and a sort of polytheism. The Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “…and pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it and whoever disbelieves, then surely Allah is self-sufficient, above any need of the worlds.” (Surah Āli- ‘Imran 3: 97)
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, “By the words ‘whoever disbelieves’ is meant the one who does not perform it.”
‘Ali Ibn Ja’far records in his Sahih that, “My brother Imam Mūsa Ibn Ja’far (a.s.) says, ‘Indeed, the Almighty Allah has made Hajj incumbent on those who are capable. That is if they do not perform Hajj in the year of capability the omitted Hajj will become incumbent on them every year till the end of their lives.’”
For further explanation of this statement the book Urwathul Wuthqa can be referred.
‘Ali Ibn Ja’far says: I asked Imam (a.s.) whether those of us who did not perform Hajj would become infidels? Imam (a.s.) said, “No, but the one who denies Hajj and does not give it due importance. He shall be a Kafir.”
Zarih Muharibi writes in his Sahih a tradition from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.): “If a person dies without performing the obligatory Hajj while there was nothing that prevented him from doing so, that is, he was not having any need or problem and neither was he sick and nor any strong person stood in his way, then Allah shall raise him in Qiyāma with the Christians or Jews.” (Wasa’il ul-Shia Vol. 8 page 20)
Imam (a.s.) also said, “A person who delays Hajj intentionally till such a time that he dies, will be raised by Almighty Allah on the day of Qiyāma in the form of a Jew or a Christian.” (Wasa’il ul-Shia Vol. 8 page 21)
Muhaddith Faiz says in the book Wafi regarding above tradition that “need” means a necessity that impoverishes or that which will impoverish him in the future. Also, Imam (a.s.) has said that a person who fails to perform Hajj without a valid excuse will die as a Christian or a Jew. This implies that he has no faith in this important Islamic tenet. Otherwise in the absence of any obstruction he would have performed it immediately, considering the possibility that he may not be alive the next year.
Ishaq Ibn Ammar narrates from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said, “One who dies (without performing Hajj) while he was healthy and wealthy is like the one regarding whom Allah says that, ‘We shall raise him blind in Qiyāma.’”
Ishaq was surprised and he asked Imam (a.s.) whether that person will be actually blind in Qiyāma? Imam (a.s.) said, “Yes! Allah will blind him from seeing the path to Paradise.” (Wasa’il ul-Shia)
Muhammad Ibn Fuzail says that he asked Imam Mūsa Ibn Ja’far (a.s.) regarding the ayat, “And whoever is blind in this, he shall (also) be blind in the hereafter and more erring from the way.” (Surah al-‘Isrā’, 17: 72)
Imam (a.s.) said, “It is the one who delays Hajj even in the event of his being financially capable. He keeps saying he would perform Hajj the coming year till he dies without performing Hajj.” (Wasa’il ul-Shia Vol. 8 page 18)
Ayats that Imply the ones who Neglect Hajj
The Almighty Allah says in Surah Munafiqūn, “And spend out of what We have given you before death comes to one of you, so that he should say: My Lord! Why didst Thou not respite me to a near term, so that I should have given alms and been of the doers of good deeds?
And Allah does not respite a soul when its appointed term has come and Allah is Aware of what you do.” (Surah al-Munāfiqūn 63: 10-11)
After this Imam Mūsa bin Ja’far (a.s.) said, “I should have given alms”, indicates Sadaqah and “good deeds”, implies Hajj.” (Faqih Vol. 2 page 220)
Also the following Ayat says, “Say: Shall we inform you of the greatest losers in (their) deeds?
(These are) they whose labour is lost in this world’s life and they think that they are well-versed in skill of the hands.” (Surah al-Kahf 18: 103-104)
Imam (a.s.) explains, “It implies those who neglect Hajj and continue to postpone it saying they’ll go next year.”
There are many traditions that say neglecting Hajj is a Greater Sin, however the ones quoted above should suffice our purpose.
Worldly Consequences of Postponing Hajj
One of the worldly consequences of postponing Hajj is failure in the affairs for which Hajj is postponed.
Imam Baqir (a.s.) says that if a person postpones Hajj in order to acquire or complete some worldly affair he will see that other people have gone and come back from Hajj while neither his aim is achieved nor his work complete.
Neglecting Hajj causes poverty
The Messenger of Allah (S) says in the Sermon of Ghadīr: “O gathering of People! Perform the Hajj of the Holy House. Those families who perform Hajj become wealthy and those who neglect Hajj will be reduced to penury.”
“O gathering of People! The Haji is helped by Allah and whatever they spent (on Hajj) is restored to them in this world. And Allah does not waste the recompense of the doers of good (in hereafter).” (Ihtijaj of Tabarsi)
Imam Baqir (a.s.) says, “Three things are such whose reward is in this life in addition to that of the Hereafter: Hajj that removes poverty, Sadaqah that removes calamities and doing good (to others) which increases the life span.” (Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il)
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, “If people neglect Hajj there will be no delay in the descent of punishment upon them.” (al-Kāfi Vol. 4 page 271)
Samah says that, “Imam Sadiq (a.s.) asked me why I did not go for Hajj this year? I said I have entered into a deal with some people and there were other activities also. I hope that those matters for which I couldn’t go for Hajj will be beneficial for me. Imam (a.s.) said, I swear by Allah! Allah has not reposed benefit in any matter that acts as an obstruction to your Hajj. Every person remains deprived of Hajj due to the sins that he has committed.” (al-Kāfi)
Ishaq bin Ammar told Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that, “A person had sought my advice regarding his intention for going for Hajj because he was weak (physically and financially), so I urged him not to go for Hajj.”
Imam (a.s.) said, “For preventing the person from Hajj you have made yourself eligible for being involved in some malady for the whole year.”
Ishaq says that as the Imam (a.s.) had predicted, I was sick throughout the following year. It follows that we must not restrain anyone from good deeds, especially Hajj. If we do so, we close the way of Allah (S.w.T.). Our aim should be to motivate others to do good deeds and encourage them to hasten towards them. Similarly we should never advise people to give up a good action they wish to perform and substitute it with another good one of our choice. Because it is possible that he may not do the latter and even skip the former. Thus, if we do this we will have performed the divine obligation of Amr bil Ma’rūf.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Beware of discouraging your believing brother from Hajj. If one does this he shall face worldly calamities in addition to the punishment of Hereafter.” (Wafi)