Pilgrimage: Left unfinished

Q434 :A friend of mine came to Makkah on the first day of Thul-Hajjah and started Umrah. He then fell sick and his condition deteriorated and did not respond to medication. Four days later, when his temperature was still too high, he was advised that it would be wrong if he went to pilgrimage in this condition. A friend residing in Makkah told him that he would do the pilgrimage on his behalf. Therefore, he went back to where he lived. On arrival, he was admitted into hospital for four days and he was discharged on the 10th Thul-Hajjah. Please comment on the validity of his Umrah and pilgrimage, bearing in mind that he did not do the tawaf of farewell.

A434 : Scholars are unanimous that a person who is able to undertake the journey of pilgrimage himself may not appoint someone else to do the pilgrimage on his behalf. This is due to the fact that pilgrimage is a personal duty, which every single person, man or woman, owes to Allah, once he or she is able to perform it. Substitute pilgrimage is permissible only when there is a legitimate reason to prevent someone from fulfilling this task, with a strong likelihood that this condition is permanent. Thus, substitute pilgrimage may be offered on behalf of someone who died before he could perform this duty himself, or when it is done voluntarily on behalf of a deceased person, or when someone is physically unable to go on the journey of pilgrimage because of old age or chronic illness. In any of these situations, substitute pilgrimage may be offered. If someone is physically and financially able to offer the pilgrimage, he must do it himself. Temporary incapacitation, through illness, does not allow that person to ask someone else to do the pilgrimage on his behalf because his handicap is temporary. He may wait until he has recovered. Our friend here has had a bout of influenza. It might have been very severe, raising his temperature and weakening him considerably. He tried to treat his illness by himself, using antibiotics and cough mixtures. He apparently needed proper medical treatment which, he felt, was not readily available to him in Makkah. He listened to the first person's advice that he could not do the pilgrimage in that condition and returned home. After a three-day stay in hospital, he is completely recovered. This is no justification for using someone else, paid or unpaid, to do the pilgrimage on one's behalf. What our friend should have done was to seek proper medical advice in Makkah. He was able to travel to his home town. Had he stayed, he would have been able to go to Arafat on 9th Thul-Hajjah and return to Mina the following day. He could have stayed in Mina, or returned to Makkah, asking someone else to do the duty of stoning on his behalf. He could have delayed in tawaf of ifaadah until he was strong enough. If our friend thinks that he has done the pilgrimage, I have some disappointing news for him. That pilgrimage undertaken on his behalf by the person he hired for the purpose is not valid. If this was his first pilgrimage, he still owes that duty to Allah. Allah will reward him for the expense he had incurred and for doing the Umrah. But the duty of pilgrimage remains to be fulfilled. No compensation is due from him since he has done the Umrah only.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )