Is Hajj (pilgrimage) obligatory every year?

by Seeker

hajj: the annual pilgrimage to Makkah al-Mukarramah which is one of the five pillars of Islam. (Glossary of Islamic Terms, pp. 8)

The obligation of Hajj is proven through the following verse of the Glorious Qur’an:

“And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, for whoever can bear the way.” (3:97).

The following blessed narrations will simply inform us whether Hajj is obligatory every year or once in a person’s lifetime.

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1st Hadith

Narrated ʿAlī bin ʿAbd al-ʿA’la an-Abeeh: from Abu al-Bakhtarī: from ʿAlī bin Abī Tālib radi Allahu ʿanhum:

When the following verse was revealed: “And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, for whoever can bear the way.” (3:97).

They asked, “O Messenger of Allah (yā RasūlAllah) sal Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam, is Hajj (obligatory) every year?” He sal Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam remained silent. They asked “Is it (obligatory) every year?” He sal Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam said, “No; if I had said yes, it would have become obligatory.” (laa walao qultu: na`am la’wajabat).

Then the following verse was revealed: “O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.” (5:101).

Recorded by Ibn Mājah in as-Sunan (ch. the obligation of Hajj [baab ul-fard’il hajj] #2884), Tirmidhi graded it hasan.

2nd Hadith

Narrated Muhammad ibn Abu ʿUbaydah an-Abeeh: from al-Aʿmash: from Abu Sufyan: from `Anas bin Malik radi Allahu ʿanhum that:

They said, “O Messenger of Allah (yā RasūlAllah) sal Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam, is Hajj (obligatory) every year?” He sal Allahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “If I were to say yes, it would have become obligatory, and if it were to become obligatory, you would not (be able to) do it, and if you did not do it you would be punished.”

Recorded by Ibn Mājah in as-Sunan (ch. the obligation of Hajj [baab ul-fard’il hajj] #2885), Hafidh al-Busayri graded it sahih.

3rd Hadith

Narrated ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAbbās that Aqraʿ bin Hābis radi Allahu ʿanhum asked the beloved Prophet sal Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam:

“O Messenger of Allah (yā RasūlAllah) sal Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam, is Hajj (obligatory) every year, or just once?” He sal Allahu `alayhi wa sallam replied: “It is just once, and whoever is able to perform Hajj voluntarily, let him do so.”

Recorded by Ibn Mājah in as-Sunan (ch. the obligation of Hajj [baab ul-fard’il hajj] #2886), Abu Dāw’ūd in as-Sunan (ch. the obligation of Hajj [baab ul-fard’il hajj] #1721) grading it sahih.

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