General Islamic Topic

The Ruling of Children Performing Hajj?

What is the ruling for a child who is brought along by his parents to perform hajj and is the hajj performed by the child valid?

Obligatory Conditions of Hajj

Before we discuss this issue further, we would like to state the obligatory conditions of hajj as the following:

First: It must be performed by a Muslim

The reason is, hajj is a type of worship and also one of the pillars of the five pillars of Islam. And worship from disbelievers is rejected. This is in accordance with the statement of Allah SWT (which means):

“And what prevents their expenditures from being accepted from them but that they have disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger,” Surah al-Taubah (54)

Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir commented on the above verse (which means): Allah SWT explains the reason as to why their good deeds are rejected and the reason is for their disbelief in Allah and His Messenger. And indeed, every deed is only valid when one is a believer. [See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azhim, Ibn Kathir (4/162)].

Second: The worship of hajj is only for those who are sound-minded

The worship of hajj is rejected and not obligated for those who are insane. The reason is, hajj is worship just like any other worship which has the prerequisite of intention. Hence, it is impossible for an insane person to set his intention for worship. This is in accordance with the words of the Prophet PBUH (which means):

“There are three (persons) whose actions are not recorded: a sleeper till he awakes, a boy till he reaches puberty, and a lunatic till he comes to reason.” [Sunan Abu Daud (4403)]

The above hadith clearly states that the three types of people whose actions are not recorded, whether it is in the form of sin or worship. Thus, an insane person can neither commit sin nor perform worship until he comes back to reason.

Third: Reached puberty

Puberty is one of the conditions of hajj. This is in accordance with the above hadith narrated by Abu Daud mentioned earlier. While the signs that someone has reached puberty for a boy or a girl is as the following:

  • Ejaculation
  • Pubic hair growth
  • Reached 15 years for both boy or girl
  • Experience menstruation

Fourth: Free

The meaning of freedom in this situation is when someone is not a slave (a free man). The reason is, a slave has to fulfill the rights of his owner upon him.

Fifth: Capability

Capability is also one of the obligatory conditions of hajj. This is in accordance with the statement of Allah SWT (which means):

“And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way.” Surah ‘Ali Imran (97)

Fiqh scholars divided the meaning of istitha’ah (capability) into two:

  • Physical ability: Physically able to perform hajj.
  • Financial ability: There is sufficient money for expenses throughout the travel and hajj.

The Ruling of Children Performing Hajj

Comprehensive discussions by the jurists on this issue are recorded in their books. According to the obligatory condition stated above, it is clear that hajj is not an obligation for children. However, another question arises. Even though they are not obligated to perform hajj, is it permissible for children to perform hajj and what is the ruling for it?

Hence, the jurists stated that it is permissible for children to perform hajj according to the following evidence:

First: Hadith from Abdullah Ibn Abbas RA (which means):

The Prophet (ﷺ) came across a caravan at Ar-Rauha’ and asked who the people in the caravan were. They replied that they were Muslims. They asked: “Who are you?” He (ﷺ) said, “I am the Messenger of Allah.” Then a woman lifted up a boy to him and asked: “Would this child be credited with having performed the Hajj (pilgrimage)?” Whereupon he (ﷺ) said, “Yes, and you will have a reward.” [Sahih Muslim (1336)]

Second: according to a hadith from al-Sa’ib bin Yazid RA, he said (which means):

“(While in the company of my parents) I was made to perform Hajj with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and I was a seven-year-old boy then.” [Sahih al-Bukhari (1858)]

Third: A hadith narrated by Jabir bin Abdillah RA, he said (which means):

“We performed Hajj with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and there were women and children with us. We recited Talbiyah on behalf of the children and stoned the Pillars on their behalf.” [Sunan Ibn Majah (3038)]

According to the above three hadiths, it is clear that it is permissible for children to perform hajj and the hajj is valid. However, hajj performed when one is just a child is not considered as Islamic hajj, which means it is not the obligatory hajj on them. This means, when the child reaches puberty, then it is obligated for him to perform hajj.

The following are the opinions of fiqh scholars regarding this issue:

First: Imam al-Mawardi Rahimahullah said: If a child performs hajj before he reaches puberty or if a slave performs hajj before he is freed, then they are not considered as Islamic hajj (obligatory hajj) and both have to perform the hajj again after puberty and being freed. See Al-Iqna’, al-Mawardi (1/83)

Second: Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah said: and in our madhab (al-Syafi’e) the hajj performed by a child is valid but it is not an obligation for him. “Hajj is not an obligation for children” is the consensus of scholars. [Refer Al-Majmu’ Syarah al-Muhazzab, al-Nawawi (7/39)].

Third: Imam Ibn al-Munzir said: The majority of scholars have agreed (with the exception of peculiar opinion), there are no differing opinions that for a child who has not reached puberty and a slave who has not been freed, then when the child reaches puberty and the slave is freed, then both of them are obligated to perform Islamic hajj (obligatory hajj) when they are capable to do so. [Refer Al-Mughni, Ibn Qudamah (5/44)].

Fourth: Imam Ibn Abd al-Barr al-Andalusi Rahimahullah: The jurists said that hajj performed by children is valid according to Imam Malik, Imam al-Syafie, and all jurists from Hijaz and Kufah. [See Al-Majmu’ Syarah al-Muhazzab, al-Nawawi (7/41)].

Conclusion

After analyzing the above opinions stated previously, in our opinion it is permissible for children to perform hajj. Parents who bring their children will get the rewards of the hajj and the hajj is valid. However, the hajj is not considered as obligatory hajj for the child. Hence, once the child reaches puberty, he has to perform it again. This is in accordance with the words of the Prophet PBUH (which means):

“Any minor (child) who performs Hajj must perform it again after coming of age.” [Narrated by al-Baihaqi (4/325)]

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani stated the above hadith as Sahih in his book Al-Talkhis Al-Habir (2/220).


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