Sheikh Sa`ûd al-Funaysân, former Dean of Islamic Law, al-Imâm Islamic University
Printer-friendly versionSend to friendPDF version

Ibn Abbâs said: "Whoever leaves out of forgets anything from the rites of Hajj should offer a blood sacrifice."

This statement of Ibn `Abbâs is related in al-Muwatta' (1/366), Sunan al-Dâraqutnî (2/244), Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (4/416), and al-Tahâwî's Sharh Ma`ânî al-Athâr (2/238), among other sources.

It is not a hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Though Ibn Hazm narrates it as a hadîth, that narration is weak. It is established as a statement of Ibn `Abbâs. [See al-Albânî, Irwâ' al-Ghalîl (4/299)]

This narration has been used as evidence by some students of knowledge to oblige pilgrims to offer an animal sacrifice for every mistakes or omission they might make in their Hajj. In doing so, these students of knowledge have imposed difficulties upon the pilgrims that Allah and His Messenger never imposed on them.

The imposition of blood sacrifice for every omission goes against the large body of scriptural evidence from both the Qur'ân and Sunnah that the rulings of Hajj are based upon facilitation and ease, especially when it comes to forgetfulness and mistakes.

Allah says: "(Pray:) 'Our Lord! Call us not to account if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which You did lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector…" [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 286]

Allah says: "Allah wants ease for you. He does not want difficulty for you." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 185]

When people came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the Day of `Id – the day of the most important rites of Hajj – and mentioned that they carried out the prescribed rites of that day in other than the conventional order, he said to them: "Do so. There is no difficulty." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

We should also note that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Take from me your rites of Hajj".

He did NOT say: "Perform the Hajj as you have seen me performing the Hajj." Though he said this for prayer: "Pray as you have seen me praying."

The difference between these to statements is important. The difference is one of greater ease and flexibility for the Hajj.

If we consider the statement of Ibn `Abbâs, it is a sweeping statement regarding the rites of Hajj. On its face value, it would require a blood sacrifice for all omissions, including the pillars of Hajj, the obligatory acts, and the recommended acts.

However, recommended acts, by their very nature, do not require any compensation for their omission, since they are voluntary. No one has ever said, from the time of the Companions to the present, that an omission of a recommended act of Hajj must be compensated for by offering a blood sacrifice. The pillars of the pilgrimage, on the other hand, cannot be left out. They must be performed. A blood sacrifice certainly cannot substitute for them.

Therefore, the only way to understand Ibn `Abbâs's statement is to say that a blood sacrifice must be offered for any rite obligatory not performed in its proper time.

Scholarly Opinions on Performing Obligatory Rites of Hajj Out of Sequence

Scholars have expressed two opinions on the matter.

1. The pilgrim who performs the obligatory rites of Hajj out of sequence have no sin upon them nor any compensation due from them.

This is the ruling adopted by the vast majority of Islamic legal scholars. They rely upon the hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) told people who had carried out their rites on the Day of `Id in various sequences: "Do so. There is no difficulty."

2. The pilgrim who performs the obligatory rites out of sequence must offer a blood sacrifice.

This is the ruling adopted by the Hanafî school of thought. This opinion was the older view of al-Shâfi`î, which he changed later on. It has also been narrated from Ahmad b. Hanbal as one of the opinions that he had expressed on the matter, though it is not the opinion of his that was adopted by the Hanbalî school of thought.

Scholars who hold this view rely upon the opinion of Ibn `Abbâs that we are discussion. As for where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Do so. There is no difficulty", they interpret this to mean that there is no sin upon the person for doing so, but someone who does so deliberately must offer a blood sacrifice. They argue that the Prophet carried out the rites in a particular order. He had also instructed the people: "Take from me the rites of Hajj." If a pilgrim deliberately performs these rites in a different order, then that pilgrim needs to offer compensation.

However, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by a number of different pilgrims during Hajj about performing the rites of hajj out of their proper sequence, he consistently said: "Do so. There is no difficulty." This is a general, unqualified statement. There is no reason to assume that it merely refers to the negation of sinfulness while an expiation is still needed.

We should keep in mind that the requirement of a blood sacrifice is merely the opinion of Ibn `Abbâs. It has not been established from the Prophet (peace be upon him). When an opinion of a Companion contradicts the meaning of an authentic hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the hadîth is acted upon and the opinion is not followed.

Moreover, nowhere do we find any hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) told the people who performed their Hajj rites in a different sequence that they had to offer an animal sacrifice. If an animal sacrifice was required, the Prophet would have told the people who came to him about the situation, since a prophet cannot withhold information on a religious matter at the time when it needs to be known.

Likewise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) never asked the people who came to him if they performed the rites out of sequence deliberately or on account of forgetfulness. If this distinction made a difference to the ruling, then the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have asked them about it. The fact that he said: "Do so. There is no difficulty" without asking if they did so on purpose or due to forgetfulness; this shows us that the distinction is of no consequence.

And Allah knows best.