Restricted Hajj and the Saudi Government: Refuting the Objectors

6 mins read

by Dr. RK Noor Madani

Except some people with evil intentions cannot accept this correct decision which is in protection of all human life and they have begun to falsely accuse the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of cancelling Hajj and demolishing the pillars of Islam!

The world today is going through very difficult days like never before. The Coronavirus Pandemic has not spared any country- irrespective of whether it is a rich country or poor, developed or underdeveloped. The number of people infected by this virus today is about ten million; and almost half a million have died from it in more than two hundred countries globally.

Travel and transportation have been disrupted, cancelled and suspended. Lockdowns have been imposed in most of the countries. Religious and worldly gatherings of all faiths have been banned. Forced to stay in their homes to protect themselves from the invisible but deadly virus, people have lost their means of livelihood. The economy has collapsed and the livelihood of people is threatened or has totally disappeared. This is the reality and a fact that none can deny, except those in denial – those with a blind and dead heart.

In this harsh situation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has come up with a decision to limit the Hajj to only the people of all nationalities residing in Saudi Arabia and has prevented people from the rest of the world to come for Hajj. It is a decision which is in accordance to the Shariah which upholds Mercy and Humanitarianism and it is fair and wise.  And it is in conformity with the Shariah, that demands the welfare of people singularly as well as collectively, and this is the true essence of reasoning and wisdom!

Islamic law has emphasized the protection of human life, by teaching that, “whoever saves one soul, it is as if he has saved all of the people. And whoever kills one soul, it is as if he has killed all the people”. So protecting oneself from the virus is incumbent on every person.

It is forbidden to throw oneself into destruction, as Allah says: “And do not throw yourself into destruction”. [Quran 2:195]

And Allah Subhanahu wa táala says: “And do not kill yourself and surely Allah is Most Merciful”. [Quran 4:29]

It is authentically reported from Abdullah ibn Abbas that he said: The Messenger peace be upon him looked towards the Ka’bah and said, “Warm welcome to you Oh great house. How great you are! How great is your sanctity! The sanctity of the believer is greater than that of yours in the sight of Allah! For Allah has made sacred for you one thing. But He has made three things sacred for the believers: his blood, his wealth and to conceive evil suspicion about him.’  [Reported by Al-Bayhaqi (RH) in “Shuab al-Iman” and it is classed as Hasan by Sheikh Al-Albani (RH) in his Silsilah].

It was also reported by Abdullah bin Abbas which is the heart of this topic, wherein the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him made the sanctity of the believer greater than the sanctity of the House of Allah (Kaaba). If a large gathering of pilgrims were to expose themselves to the current danger, it is compulsory (upon those responsible) to prevent that from happening, and take precautionary measures to protect human life. This is the verdict given by senior scholars and that is the stand the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has rightly taken. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia never stopped hajj because of the virus whatsoever. In fact, the pilgrims will continue to perform all the rituals of Hajj like the previous years, with the exception to limit the number of pilgrims to a reasonable rate, so that they may not be affected (by the virus) while performing the rituals of Hajj, which is in accordance to the maxims of Shariah which are: (No harm to others and No harming ourselves), (fending off that which is harm takes precedence over drawing of that which is good), (the lesser of two evils is taken in order to fend off greater harms), (Harm has to be ceased off), it is also in accordance to many more maxims of Shariah.

Except some people with evil intentions cannot accept this correct decision which is in protection of all human life and they have begun to falsely accuse the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of cancelling Hajj and demolishing the pillars of Islam! They also show their deep animosity and hatred towards the land of the Two Holy Mosques, whose foundations are based on monotheism (Oneness of Allah) and was established on the pillars of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Allah knows how the pilgrims of the House of Allah never enjoyed peace throughout the history after the era of Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him and the caliphate of his companions, Allah blessed the Companions and those after them with Peace, comfort and calmness until the 71st year after hijrah, the Hajj that year was under Abdullah ibn Zubair that is when Hajjaj ibn Yousuf surrounded them on the night of 1st Dhil Hijjah in the year 72 Hijri.

And now, He has blessed the pilgrims with peace and security at the hands of the Founding King Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al Saud who took over the reign of the Arabian Peninsula (and established) the country of the two Sacred Mosques, and continues to bless the pilgrims till now under his righteous progeny who have succeeded him for approximately a century.

The pilgrimage of Hajj was never paused. In fact, the Sacred places and the two holy mosques of Makkah and Madinah testifies for the necessary improvements made every day by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the betterment and ease of the pilgrims of Hajj and Umrah.

If a just person compares the conditions of the pilgrims today to what it was before, he will come to know that dangers awaited the pilgrims as they performed the rituals of Hajj. Historians have reported that a man from Makkah killed a pilgrim for one Riyal and said that: “One Riyal is better than him (the dead man)!”.

History has also witnessed events where pilgrims were partially or totally prevented from performing Hajj more than forty times. Al Bukhari reported in his Saheeh, that Nafi’ reported that Ibn Umar intended to go for Hajj during the year when Hajjaj surrounded Ibn Zubair (in Makkah). It was said to him: There is a state of war between the people and we fear that they would detain you, whereupon he (‘Abdullah ibn Umar) said: “Verily, in the Messenger of Allah there is a model pattern for you.”

I would do as Allah’s Messenger peace be upon him did. This was the 72nd year of hijrah.

Al-Suyuti has mentioned in his book “Husnul Muhadharah” that: “In the year 430 Hijri, Hajj was cancelled for people from all other regions. No one did Hajj; neither from Egypt, nor from Syria, from Iraq, from Khurasan!”. These incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. The history is a witness to it.

Some objectors said that the Kingdom must have consulted with the scholars of other countries in the matter of restricting the pilgrims! I ask them: Why should the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia consult with scholars other than the scholars of its own country? And which are the scholars who should be consulted pertaining to this issue in your opinion? Will they have a unified position? And when did scholars of other countries give rulings in the affairs of the two holy Mosques? And do the scholars of your country agree on one opinion regarding the matters of Muslims in your own country? Or are you fighting amongst yourselves which has made your people be like scum and rubbish that is carried down by a torrent?              

And with regards to them accusing the Leader of  the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in helping the Jews, then we say that, if a just and loyal person was to examine their actions and connections that they have on the basis of Qur’an and Sunnah, he will know who is more entitled to the accusation of “helping the Jews”.

If the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had opened its doors for Hajj without restricting people from outside Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, and then they returned to their respective countries being infected by the virus, these objectors would have said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the cause for spreading the disease to the countries of the world!”

Dr. R.K Noor Muhammed Madani is PhD scholar from Islamic University of Madina – Saudi Arabia. He currently resides in South-Indian city of Chennai. He wrote this article in response to the objectors who made false accusations against Saudi Arabia in restricting Hajj for the people outside of Saudi Arabia.

Translated and adapted into English by: Mohammed Arshad Ahmed, Mohammed Usman Hafeel and Mohammed Asif.