Disability Fatwas

The sick performing Hajj

I want to go to Makkah to make a pilgrimage in the near future, but he has a big injury on his foot, and needs to use a crutch. Can I go to Makkah? Or can people who are not healthy not make the pilgrimage?

Praise be to Allah.

Allah says in His Holy Book:

“. . . Hajj to the House [Ka‘baa] is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence]; and whoever disbelieves, then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen [mankind and jinn].” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:97]

The scholars’ discussion of the ability to perform Hajj revolves around the availability of a means of transport and sufficient money for the journey there and back, as well as sufficient funds to cover one’s family’s needs during one’s absence, freedom from debt, good health, security on the way, and - for women - a mahram (blood relative within the prohibited degrees of marriage, or a husband). The issue of your question revolves around the question of health, so we will focus on this matter here:

With regard to the interpretation of the aayah (verse of the Qur’aan) quoted above, ‘Ikrimah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Sabeel [paraphrased in the phrase ‘those who can afford the expenses’] means health.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).

One of the conditions of Hajj being obligatory is that a person should be free of physical illness and disability that would prevent him from performing Hajj. If a person is suffering from a chronic illness, permanent disability, paralysis (that makes him unable to walk) or is very old and unable to move about, then there is no obligation to perform Hajj. If a person is able to perform Hajj with the help of another, then it becomes a duty to perform Hajj when such help is available. (al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 17/34).

Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “There may be different categories of ability. Sometimes a person may be able to perform Hajj by himself, and sometimes with the help of others, as is stated in the books of Ahkaam (Islamic rulings).” (Tafseer of the aayah previously quoted).

Whoever suffers from a permanent disability that prevents him from performing Hajj must appoint someone to perform Hajj on his behalf. If his disability is not permanent, then he should wait until he has recovered, then perform Hajj for himself; he is not permitted to appoint someone to perform Hajj on his behalf.

This is the answer to your question, which I hope you will convey to your friend. I do not want to miss this opportunity to thank you for your concern and interest in finding out the Islamic rulings in this situation which has to do with the fifth pillar of Islam. I also wish to encourage and invite you to join us in Islam. Peace be with you.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Question

I am a disabled person in a wheelchair. I can't dispense with my wife's attendance to me regardless of whether she goes to a near or far place. Does refraining from going to Hajj on account of my condition incur sin on her part?

Fatwa

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad PBUH is His slave and Messenger. Scholars have held different opinions regarding whether or not it is obligatory on a wife to serve her husband. The majority of scholars view that it is not obligatory for a wife to serve her husband. Meanwhile, some scholars view that it is obligatory for her to serve him in all matters as stated by Abu Thawr RA.

Some scholars have given a detailed account of this issue saying that a wife is obliged to offer domestic services such as kneading, cooking, cleaning and tidying. This complies with the instruction the Prophet PBUH gave to ‘Ali and Faatimah RA when Faatimah RA complained to him PBUH about her housework and how it severely exhausted her. If we adopt the view stating that this kind of service is due on a wife to her husband, then is it due on her to attend and care for him if he is disabled?

It seems that if Hajj is due on her and her husband has neither children to serve him nor money to hire a servant to assist him, then his wife is obliged to stay and serve him in such a case. This is because, if she were to leave him, he would be exposed to harm. Consequently, saving a Muslim takes precedence over performing Hajj.

However, if there is someone else who can manage the husband's affairs such as his children or trusted servants, then the wife must hasten to perform Hajj because it is an obligation according to the preponderant opinion of the scholars.

Allah Knows best.

The sick performing Hajj

Hajj and Umrah for disabled pilgrims

Hajj and Umrah are physically demanding and should be done only by those who meet the physical and financial requirements. The Holy Quran clearly states that Hajj is obligatory to only those who are physically and financially able. Umrah is similar to Hajj and poses a lot of physical challenges. Many Muslims have some physical or medical disability but still wish to perform Hajj and Umrah. If adequate preparations are made they can fulfill their religious obligation. These preparations can be discussed with the Umrah or Hajj operator before the booking so that they can notify the local handlers about the requirements of the pilgrim.

At the airport there are several facilities for the disabled. The Hajj and Umrah flights land at the Jeddah and Madinah airport and all kinds of necessary arrangements like wheel chairs, escalators and ramps are available so that the disabled pilgrims can move about easily. All these facilities are free of charge but your travel agent should notify the airport management about your needs.

Local transport of all kinds is available in Makkah and Medina during the Hajj and Umrah season. Buses are not equipped to handle wheel chairs. Disabled pilgrims must ensure that their travel agents have made arrangements with private transportation and taxi firms in Makkah and Medina so that they can properly be dealt with. Making necessary arrangements in advance will ensure that the disabled pilgrims can perform their religious duty with full concentration.

Accommodation during Hajj and Umrah is usually at hotels or houses. Hotels in general are equipped for the disabled with lifts and wheel chairs. Houses in general are not equipped for the disabled but you can inquire your travel agent about the facilities available. The Grand Mosque in Makkah is well equipped for the disabled. It has escalators and ramps to enable wheel chairs to move easily from one level to another. Wheel chairs are provided free of charge and can be acquired by the management at any time. If the pilgrim is accompanied by someone to push the wheel chair then it is good otherwise you can ask someone to push your wheel chair, the pusher may charge for his service.

It is the wish of every Muslim whether disabled or not, to perform Hajj and Umrah. Some people can bear the financial cost of Hajj but are unable to meet the physical requirements. These people can also appoint someone else who is physically fit to perform Hajj in their place. This facility is provided to the Muslims by Allah (SWT) so that every Muslim can perform their obligation. If a disabled Muslim still wishes to perform Hajj and Umrah, they can do so by making prior arrangements with their travel agents.