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