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“And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence).” (Surah Imran 3:97)
We are all aware of the fact that Hajj is considered obligatory under certain conditions. However, what about the case of people who have debts lined up? Yes, a question arises at the back of one’s mind in regards to what to do if one is liable to someone or to a lot of people and wishes to go to Hajj at the same time. What does Islam say about this? Well, the answer is simple but people often seem to get confused in this regard.
As known, Hajj is only compulsory if a Muslim holds enough funds to encounter trip expenses and that is preferably after paying off debts before going for Hajj. The first priority should be to get rid of the liability of debt, for every Muslim individual; especially if liabilities are more than the assets one holds. However, if one wishes to go to Hajj and wants to pay off the money later; in that case the individual needs to have the consent of the creditor. If it is allowed by the creditor to pay later; one may go forward with the Hajj preparations. Also, in order to guarantee payment after Hajj, one can give something on leverage before going for Hajj.
In the case of owing an interest-bearing (Riba) debt; quick action should be taken to return payment even if it is at the expense of delaying Hajj. This is because an interest bearing debt is not permissible yet it should be paid off as soon as possible and there is definitely no room for compromise.
Moreover, if debts are due for payment after the time period of Hajj and one feels that there is a likelihood of paying them off after returning from Hajj; an individual may move forward with Hajj. The debts involved in business propositions are on-going and may not be considered as much of an issue as there is no set rule in that matter.
Thus, it is important for all of us to know what Islam says about such a situation and it is our right to adhere to the given injunctions. We must understand that it is for our own betterment and to cater to our responsibilities as Muslim individuals.
It is narrated by Abu Musa Ashari that the Prophet said:“After the major sins which must be avoided, the greatest sin is that someone dies in a state of debt and leaves behind no asset to pay it off.” (Darimi)
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