New Muslim: When is The Best Time to Perform Hajj?

By Amal Stapley
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 00:00

For new Muslims who hadn’t grown up with Islam, the experience of actually following in the Prophet’s footsteps cemented Islam in our hearts

The Hajj season is drawing to a close and the pilgrims are returning, telling of their experiences, the spiritual, the emotional, the funny and the sad.

They and many others are already starting to look towards next year and praying that they’ll be among the fortunate ones to be invited to Hajj next year.

But should everyone be thinking about it?

What about those who have little knowledge and experience as Muslims?

What about the new Muslims, whose faith and practice are still in the early stages, should they also be thinking about going to Hajj next year?

There are many people who argue that a new Muslim should wait for a while before going to Hajj. They argue that they shouldn’t go too fast or they will burn themselves out or that they should wait until they are more knowledgeable and are able to perform all the rituals perfectly before thinking of going.

There are other people who argue that a new Muslim should wait until their faith is stronger before going on Hajj fearing that the challenges of Hajj will be too much for them. Not only do they fear that the stress of the Hajj itself will be too much for them, but that being faced with the challenges of life in a foreign country where the customs and habits may be so different could be a shock to them.

They also fear that being faced with so many poor people or so many Muslims who aren’t demonstrating the most Islamic behaviors could even make them question their faith.

There are others who argue that it would be better for a new Muslim to do a “Hajj-Lite” first and go to Umrah before venturing on Hajj, as if that would break them in more gently and make it easier for them to face the real thing.
And there are yet others who argue that a new Muslim woman should get married before she contemplates going on Hajj, so she will have her own husband to travel with.

But is this what God and His Prophet (peace be upon him) say?

The Real Advice

If someone is a Muslim, sane, adult and free, they have met the first three conditions for Hajj
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Islam is to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayers, to pay the Zakah, to fast Ramadan and make the pilgrimage to the House.” (Al-Bukhari, 8 and Muslim, 19)

Hajj is one of the basic Pillars of Islam and becomes an obligation once someone has said his/her Testimony of Faith. After becoming a Muslim, they learn how to pray, pay Zakah and fast when the appropriate times arrive and their conditions are met, and they also should go to Hajj when it’s time and conditions are met.

And what are the conditions for Hajj?

If someone is a Muslim, sane, adult and free, they have met the first three conditions for Hajj to be required of them. God then says:

{And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way.} (Al-Imran 3: 97)

So anyone who is physically and financially able should go to Hajj. It is a duty that God has placed on all Muslims. Anyone who can physically bear the journey and manage the rituals alone or with support and if they also have enough money to be able to pay for the Hajj expenses and still have enough to cover their other financial obligations while they are away, they should go.

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