Does Wifaqul Ulama consider Hajj in Saudi Arabia to be invalid?

(Qari) Muhammad Shoyaib Nurgat

Question: Since Wifaqul Ulama considers Moon Sighting for Saudi Arabia to be invalid, doesn’t it automatically call into question the validity of Hajj. Can I have a direct answer, please?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

We would like to begin by extending our gratitude to you for asking this question. May Allah (SWT) give you the best of rewards (Ameen).

In a nutshell and in the most direct manner, Wifaqul Ulama DOES NOT question the validity of Hajj NOR its date OR it’s establishment. Wifaqul Ulama has never done so in the past and never will. I hope this answers your question in the most direct and emphatic manner, lets proceed with a detailed analyses of your query and various reasons for the invalidity of such a position from Sharia based sources and common sense.

Jurisdiction of Ulama and their domain of Influence:

Its common knowledge and experience that Islamic Scholars around the world armed with local knowledge and ground realities manage the affairs of their people. UUCSA (South Africa) manage the affairs of Moon Sighting for their country and Muslims resident within it. Ulama & laymen alike when travelling to South Africa are bound by Sharia to accept the Judgement of South African Ulama.

Central Ruyat-e-Hilal committee handles the same function of (Moon Sighting) in Pakistan. Ulama & laymen alike when travelling to Pakistan are bound by Sharia to accept the Judgement of Pakistani Ulama.

There are various Moon Sighting committees in India such as Rander Chand Committee (Gujarat) etc which perform the same function. Ulama & laymen alike when travelling to India are bound by Sharia to accept the Judgement of Indian Ulama.

Head of Central Ruyat-e-Hilal committee (of Pakistan) when travelling to South Africa will follow UUCSA (South Africa) and not import Moon Sighting from Pakistan.

Shaykhul-Hadeeth (Mufti) Saeed Ahmed Palunpuri (DB) of Darul-uloom Deoband when travelling overseas does not import Moon Sighting (news) from Deoband but follow the local Ulama of his location.

Shaykhul-Islam (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (DB) when travelling overseas does not import Moon Sighting (news) from Deoband but follow the local Ulama of his location.

This is the scenario and practise of these Ulama travelling to any other location on the globe, how would travelling for Hajj be any different?

Shaykhul-Hadeeth (Mufti) Saeed Ahmed Palunpuri (DB) of Darul-uloom Deoband and Shaykhul-Islam (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (DB) both in India and Pakistan respectively don’t follow Saudi Moon Sighting and have both written about their reservations with regards to the Saudi Moon Sighting system. Nevertheless, both of these Ulama (and others) perform Hajj in Saudi Arabia without reservations and alarm because Hajj is done under the Jurisdiction of Saudi Ulama.

Wifaqul Ulama for over 10 years has worked on developing and streamlining a system of Moon Sighting in Britain, on which authority would Wifaqul Ulama impose this on Saudi Arabia? Is there ever a case when a travelling Muslim takes his (local) Moon Sighting with him to a travelling location and overrides the judgement of local Scholars?

Moon Sighting for Hajj in the Qur’aan:

The verse of the Qur’aan is clear cut, emphatic and unabmigous that there is specific Moon Sighting for Hajj.

يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡأَهِلَّةِ‌ۖ قُلۡ هِىَ مَوَٲقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَٱلۡحَجِّ‌ۗ وَلَيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرُّ بِأَن تَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰ‌ۗ وَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِنۡ أَبۡوَٲبِهَا‌ۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّڪُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ

[2:189] They ask you about the new moons. Say: They are indicative of time for the people, and of the Hajj. It is not righteousness that you come into your houses from their backs, but righteousness is that one fears Allah. So come into houses through their doors; and fear Allah so that you may be successful.

Moon Sighting for Dhul-Hijjah for people in the Hadeeth:

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) alluded to the fact that when the Moon for Dhul-Hijjah is sighted this Hadeeth clearly also points out that individuals in various parts of the world will sight the Moon differently, otherwise the command would have been that when the Moon for Dhul-Hijjah is sighted (in general).

وَحَدَّثَنِي حَجَّاجُ بْنُ الشَّاعِرِ حَدَّثَنِي يَحْيَى بْنُ كَثِيرٍ الْعَنْبَرِيُّ أَبُو غَسَّانَ حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ عَنْ مَالِكِ بْنِ أَنَسٍ عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ مُسْلِمٍ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِذَا رَأَيْتُمْ هِلَالَ ذِي الْحِجَّةِ وَأَرَادَ أَحَدُكُمْ أَنْ يُضَحِّيَ فَلْيُمْسِكْ عَنْ شَعْرِهِ وَأَظْفَارِهِ

Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, “When anyone of you sights the moon of Dhul-Hijjah and anyone of you intends to make sacrifice then let him not touch his hair and his nail’ [Reported by Muslim]

Eid & Hajj are different events:

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) sacrificed animals from the beginning of his blessed migration to Madina

وعن عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال : « أقام النبي صلى الله عليه وسلّم بالمدينة عشر سنين يضحي » . رواه أحمد

Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) stayed in Madina for ten years, offering sacrifice (every year on Eid).[Ahmad]

We would like to point out that some of the Ulama such as Imam Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (RA) [1372-1449] has stated that it was in the 2nd year after Hijrah when Eid was promulgated. The exact year (1st or 2nd) has little impact on our discussion since we are articulating that it was many many years before the obligation of Hajj upon the Muslim Ummah.

وفرض عليه الصوم بعد سنتين هذا تبع فيه القاضي أبا الطيب وصاحب الشامل وجزم في زوائد الروضة أنه فرض في السنة الثانية وفرضت زكاة الفطر معه قبل العيد بيومين وبه جزم الماوردي وزاد انه صلى فيها العيدين الفطر والأضحى وهذا أخرجه بن سعد عن شيخه الواقدي من حديث عائشة وابن عمر وأبي سعيد قالوا نزل فرض رمضان بعد ما صرفت القبلة إلى الكعبة بشهر في شعبان على رأس ثمانية عشر شهرا من مهاجر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأمر في هذه السنة بزكاة الفطر وذلك قبل أن تفرض الزكاة في الأموال وصلى يوم الفطر بالمصلى قبل الخطبة وصلى العيد يوم الأضحى وأمر بالأضحية

There is also explicit authentic tradition where the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) emphatically states the Sunnah for Eidul-Adha and it clearly states no connection whatsoever with Hajj.

حدثنا ‏ ‏حجاج ‏ ‏قال حدثنا ‏ ‏شعبة ‏ ‏قال أخبرني ‏ ‏زبيد ‏ ‏قال سمعت ‏ ‏الشعبي ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏البراء ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏سمعت النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يخطب فقال ‏ ‏إن أول ما نبدأ من يومنا هذا أن نصلي ثم نرجع فننحر فمن فعل فقد أصاب سنتنا

Sayyidina Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib (RA) narrated that I heard the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) say when he gave a sermon (on the day of Eidul-Adha), “The first thing we will do on this day of ours, is to offer the (Eid) prayer and then return to slaughter the sacrifice. Whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunna (tradition). [Bukhari]

Hajj on the contrary became an obligation by the following verse which was revealed in the 9th year after migration to Madina. This is called the year of delegations due to the large number of delegations arriving in Madina to meet the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam). There is consensus of Scholars on the time of revelation (of this verse) and obligation of Hajj.

فِيهِ ءَايَـٰتُۢ بَيِّنَـٰتٌ۬ مَّقَامُ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ‌ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ ۥ كَانَ ءَامِنً۬ا‌ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَاعَ إِلَيۡهِ سَبِيلاً۬‌ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

[3:97] In it there are clear signs: The Station of Ibrahim! Whoever enters it is secure. As a right of Allah, it is obligatory on the people to perform Hajj of the House – on everyone who has the ability to manage (his) way to it. If one disbelieves, then Allah is independant of all the worlds.

It is crystal clear that the two events were isolated and close to a decade apart. Once both became an obligation (with conditions) there is not even a fabricated narration let alone weak or authentic by Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) or a fabricated Athar (from the Sahabah (RA)) let alone weak or authentic which links the two events together at all, since.

Imam Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (RA) [1372-1449] has also recorded a historical incident where the Muslims performed Hajj on Saturday while the Khaleefa (claiph) performed his Eid Salah on Friday

شهر ذي الحجة استهل بيوم الخميس بعد أن تراءى الناس الهلال ليلة الأربعاء على العادة بعدة أما كن من الجوامع وغيرها فلم يخبر أحد برؤيته إلا شذوذا، يقول الواحد منهم: إنه رأى، فإذا حوقق أنكر، فبحث عن السبب في ذلك فاعتذروا بأنه شاع بينهم أن السلطان إذا اتفق يوم – العيد يوم الجمعة يلزم أن يخطب له مرتين وقد جرب أن ذلك إذا وقع يكون فيه خوف على السلطان، فبلغ السلطان ذلك بعد أيام فأنكره وأظهر الحنق على من ينسب إليه ذلك، فقيل له فإن أحمد بن نوروز، وهو أحد من يلوذ به من خواصه المعروف بشاد الغنم – ذكر أنه رآه ولم يخبر القاضي بذلك، فاستدعاه فاعترف أنه رآه ليلة الأربعاء ومعه جماعة، فأرسله مع المحتسب إلى القاضي الشافعي فأدى عنده شهادته، فلما شاع ذلك نودي في البلد من رأى هلال ذي الحجة ليلة الأربعاء فليؤد شهادته بذلك عند القاضي الشافعي، فسارع غالب من كان شاع عنه دعواه الرؤية في تلك الليلة إلى الشهادة بذلك، فلما استوفيت شروط ذلك نودي بأن العيد يوم الجمعة، فاعتمدوا على ذلك وصلوا العيد يوم الجمعة؛ فلما كان في يوم السبت الخامس والعشرين من ذي الحجة وصل المبشر بسلامة الحاج في آخر ذلك اليوم، وأخبر أن كل من حضر الموقف من الآفاق لم ينقل عن أحد منهم أنه رأى الهلال ليلة الأربعاء بل استوفوا العدة واستهلوا ذا الحجة بيوم الخميس ووقفوا بعرفات يوم الجمعة -، واستمر الأمر بينهم على ذلك وأنه فارقهم آخر النهار يوم السبت، فقطع المسافة في أربعة عشر يوما، ووصف السنة بالأمن واليمن والرخاء مع كثرة الخلائق – ولله الحمد على ذلك

Action of Sahabah (RA) confirming different Moon Sighting:

The actions of Sahabah (RA) in general was to enforce local Moon Sighting and Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA) emphatically rejected the Moon Sighting from Syria.

عَنْ كُرَيْبٍ أَنَّ أُمَّ الْفَضْلِ بِنْتَ الْحَارِثِ بَعَثَتْهُ إِلَى مُعَاوِيَةَ بِالشَّامِ قَالَ فَقَدِمْتُ الشَّامَ فَقَضَيْتُ حَاجَتَهَا وَاسْتُهِلَّ عَلَيَّ رَمَضَانُ وَأَنَا بِالشَّامِ فَرَأَيْتُ الْهِلَالَ لَيْلَةَ الْجُمُعَةِ ثُمَّ قَدِمْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ فِي آخِرِ الشَّهْرِ فَسَأَلَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الْهِلَالَ فَقَالَ مَتَى رَأَيْتُمْ الْهِلَالَ فَقُلْتُ رَأَيْنَاهُ لَيْلَةَ الْجُمُعَةِ فَقَالَ أَنْتَ رَأَيْتَهُ فَقُلْتُ نَعَمْ وَرَآهُ النَّاسُ وَصَامُوا وَصَامَ مُعَاوِيَةُ فَقَالَ لَكِنَّا رَأَيْنَاهُ لَيْلَةَ السَّبْتِ فَلَا نَزَالُ نَصُومُ حَتَّى نُكْمِلَ ثَلَاثِينَ أَوْ نَرَاهُ فَقُلْتُ أَوَ لَا تَكْتَفِي بِرُؤْيَةِ مُعَاوِيَةَ وَصِيَامِهِ فَقَالَ لَا هَكَذَا أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَشَكَّ يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى فِي نَكْتَفِي أَوْ تَكْتَفِي

Kuraib reported that Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent him (Fadl, i.e. her son) to Sayyidina Mu’awiya (RA) in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria, and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina at the end of the month. Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: When did you see it? I said.: We saw it on the night of Friday. He said: (Did) you see it yourself? -I said: Yes, and the people also saw it and they observed fast and Mu’awiya also observed fast, whereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. So we would continue to observe fast till we complete thirty (lasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sightidg of the moon by Mu’awiya not valid for you? He said: No; this is how the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) has commanded us. Yahya b. Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration by Kuraib) was Naktafi or Taktafi. [Muslim]

There is nothing in the treasure of Islam to suggest that the Sahabah (RA) rejected Moon Sighting for 11 months but adopted and enforced the Dhul-Hijjah Makkah sighting.

Allamah Shami (RA) [1198–1252] states Local Sighting for Dhul-Hijjah:

Allamah Shami (RA) [1198–1252] explicitly states that global sighting is not applicable for the month of Dhul-Hijjah and there is clear evidence for this in the Hanafi Madhab even if a person follows the opinion of global sighting in the Hanafi Madhab

يُفْهَمُ مِنْ كَلَامِهِمْ فِي كِتَابِ الْحَجِّ أَنَّ اخْتِلَافَ الْمَطَالِعِ فِيهِ مُعْتَبَرٌ فَلَا يَلْزَمُهُمْ شَيْءٌ لَوْ ظَهَرَ أَنَّهُ رُئِيَ فِي بَلْدَةٍ أُخْرَى قَبْلَهُمْ بِيَوْمٍ وَهَلْ يُقَالُ كَذَلِكَ فِي حَقِّ الْأُضْحِيَّةِ لِغَيْرِ الْحُجَّاجِ؟ لَمْ أَرَهُ وَالظَّاهِرُ نَعَمْ؛ لِأَنَّ اخْتِلَافَ الْمَطَالِعِ إنَّمَا لَمْ يُعْتَبَرْ فِي الصَّوْمِ لِتَعَلُّقِهِ بِمُطْلَقِ الرُّؤْيَةِ، وَهَذَا بِخِلَافِ الْأُضْحِيَّةِ فَالظَّاهِرُ أَنَّهَا كَأَوْقَاتِ الصَّلَوَاتِ يَلْزَمُ كُلَّ قَوْمٍ الْعَمَلُ بِمَا عِنْدَهُمْ فَتُجْزِئُ الْأُضْحِيَّةُ فِي الْيَوْمِ الثَّالِثَ عَشَرَ وَإِنْ كَانَ عَلَى رُؤْيَا غَيْرِهِمْ هُوَ الرَّابِعَ عَشَرَ وَاَللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ

…It is understood from their words in kitab ul-hajj (chapter of hajj) that difference of place in respect of the moon’s rising (ikhtilaaf ul-mataali’) is taken into considerstion (for thu l-hijjah). Therefore, they will not be liable of (any missed acts of worship) if it becomes evident that it (the crescent) was sighted in another country a day before them. Can the same be said for the Qurbani of non-pilgrims? Although I have not seen this (issue in books), the plausible (answer) is, yes! Because ikhtilaaf ul-mataali’ is given no consideration in respect of fasting, as fasting is dependant on absolute/sheer/… sighting, while Qurbani is similar to the times of prayers; each group (of people) is tasked with performing it according to their circumstances. As such, Qurbani on the 13th day (of thu l-hijjah) is valid, although it maybe the 14 day according to the sighting of others. Allah knows best.

Shaykhul-Islam [Mufti] Taqi Usmani (DB) on Moon Sighting for Dhul-Hijjah:

…It is true that the Eid-ul-Adha falls immediately after the day of Arafat in Saudi Arabia, but it is not necessary that the Muslims of every country should follow the same dates in their respective areas. Hajj is, no doubt, tied up with a particular place, but the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha is not confined to that place alone. It is celebrated everywhere in the world. Therefore, it cannot be held as a celebration which should in any case conform to the Saudi calendar, as suggested in the article…

Closing remarks:

It is true that Wifaqul Ulama in the light of evidence from the Qur’aan, Sunnah, Ijm’a, Qiyas and in line with the practise of our teachers and elders considers Eidul-Adha and Hajj to be two different distinct and separate events. However, it would be disingenuous to make this statement and not add that in accordance with the judgement of Scholars and pratise of Muslims for the past 1400+ years Wifaqul Ulama also considers Hajj performed in Saudi Arabia on the dates set by Saudi Government to be absolutely valid.

May Allah (SWT) give us all the ability to visit the Blessed Haramain again and again and again (Ameen).

جزاك اللهُ خيرًا