A Code of Practice For Muslims in the West


The pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) is one of the fundmental obligations in Islamic laws. The holy Qur’an has clearly mentioned this obligation. Almighty Allah says in His holy Book: “And it is for the sake of Allah [a duty] upon the people to do the pilgrimage of the House—whosoever has the ability [to travel] to it. And whosoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is free from need of the universe.” (2:196) The Almighty has compared the negligence of hajj to ingratitude because of its importance.

Hajj is one of the five pillars on which Islam is based. In a noble hadith, Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, “Islam is based on five pillars: on prayer (salat), alms (zakat), pilgrimage (hajj), fasting (sawm), and devotion [to the Ahlul Bayt] (wilaya)." (1)

Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) advised about hajj by saying, “Do not neglect the pilgrimage to the House of your Lord; otherwise you will perish." (2) Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “If the people neglect the pilgrimage to the House, the chastisement will overwhelm them and they would not be warned [about it].” (3) This is so because neglecting hajj while the person is in a position to fulfill all its conditions is a great sin. A hadith says, “When a person is capable of doing the pilgrimage but does not do it, he has indeed flouted a law from the laws of Islam.” (4) Another noble hadith says, “One who keeps postponing hajj until he dies, Allah will resurrect him on the Day of Judgement as a Jew or a Christian.” (5)

1. Tafsilu Wasa'ili 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 1, p. 20.
2. Ibid, vol. 11, p. 23.
3. Ibid, p. 22.
4. Ibid, p. 28.
5. Shaykh as-Sadûq, Muhammad bin 'Ali Ibn Babwayh, Man La Yahdhuruhu 'l-Faqih, vol. 4, p. 266.