‘Haj hijacked,’ by Omar Khalidi, (The Hindu, Open Page, October 4, 2009) was meaningful, interesting and informative. On several occasions I have raised my voice against subsidy for the Haj.
From a religious point of view, let me quote two Hadith (authentic sayings of the Holy Prophet, PBUH) from the book Haj, Umrah and Ziarath, by an eminent Islamic scholar from Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Bin Baz:
“One should arrange for his expenses of Haj and Umrah out of his or dependent progeny lawful earnings, as commanded by the Holy Prophet (PBUH)”, “Allah is pure and He accepts only what is pure” (page 14).
“A pilgrim should avoid the earnings of others and not seek others monetary help” (page 23).
Every Muslim who wants to go for Haj must keep in mind these two Hadith. Further, in the Holy Koran in Sura Imran (Sura 3) verse 97 it is clearly stated that Haj is incumbent on those who can undertake the journey. The words “can undertake” prohibit going to Haj on subsidy assistance, because it is not pilgrim’s lawful earnings, but someone else’s earnings.
The question is: “Is it morally and ethically correct to undertake Haj pilgrimage on subsidy?” Let the learned Ulema, Islamic scholars and Muslim intellectuals clarify whether performing Haj by availing of the subsidy is permissible or not under Shariat (Islamic Law).I am writing this with the utmost respect to every individual Muslim, and it is not my intention to embarrass anybody embarking on Haj pilgrimage, at any level. It is disturbing to religious beliefs, and should be corrected by the Ulema by issuing the right fatwa in the light of the Holy Koran and Hadith. No country in the world, including Muslim countries, perhaps offers Haj subsidy.
Even the High Court of Lahore in a 1997 judgment said it is un-Islamic to avail of subsidy and perform Haj. I am sure the authorities concerned will agree that spending about Rs. 400 crore (which may go up in future) for 0.06 per cent of Muslim population is justifiable.
The Government has to devise some other alternative if it really wants to help Muslims, and let the subsidy amount be used for constructive and meaningful welfare measures for the community.
One of the senior Indian politicians recently asked me what was wrong in offering Haj subsidy? The question is not what is wrong but whether it is right.
(The writer is Prince of Arcot.)