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Assalaamu alaikum. Before going to Hajj pilgrimage, is it compulsory for an individual to settle all sorts of debts? If he or she has left any debt uncleared, will the Hajj performed be accepted by Allah?

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Generally speaking, it is better to repay the debt than to perform hajj, but it may not be permitted to perform hajj if repayment is due.

Performing hajj (pilgrimage) is conditional: One has to be able to do so, which includes physical and financial ability:

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ

In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House — for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves — then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.

— Surat Al 'Imran 3:97

When one is in debt, the context of the situation dictates what needs to be done:

  1. One's debt is due for repayment:

    a. The creditor does not agree to delay repayment: Debtor has to pay the debt and postpone hajj, or cancel it altogether if debtor's financial situation does not get better. It is prohibited for one who is capable of paying one's debt to delay repayment:

    عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ:‏ مَطْلُ الْغَنِيِّ ظُلْمٌ وَإِذَا أُتْبِعَ أَحَدُكُمْ عَلَى مَلِيءٍ فَلْيَتْبَعْ

    Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: "Delay (in the payment of debt) on the part of a rich man is an injustice, and when one of you is retired to a rich man, he should follow him."

    — Sahih Muslim, Book 22, Hadith 41

    b. The creditor agrees to delay repayment: If the creditor agrees that debtor performs hajj (as well as delay repayment), the debtor may perform hajj but it is better to repay the debt than to perform hajj as repayment of debts is mandatory while hajj is only mandatory when capable. Furthermore, unpaid debts are not forgiven, even for a shahid (martyr):

    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ:‏ يُغْفَرُ لِلشَّهِيدِ كُلُّ ذَنْبٍ إِلاَّ الدَّيْنَ

    Narrated by 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "All the sins of a shahid (martyr) are forgiven except debt."

    — Sahih Muslim, Book 33, Hadith 179

  2. One's debt is not due for repayment: Debtor is permitted to perform hajj prior to repayment of debt provided that the expenses of hajj do not hinder repayment.

  • Why are you linking the Hadith of the rich man to anyone who is capable of paying their debt? How are you linking the second Hadith with the idea that the creditor has a LEGAL RIGHT on how the person wishes to spend his money? Your whole post implies the dangerous idea that the creditor can choose how his borrowers spend their money. That’s absurd. – Shadi Jan 9 '18 at 22:38
  • @Shadi — The answer does not say anywhere that the creditor makes the decision nor has the legal right to making a decision on how the money is spent. The debtor makes the decision and bears the consequence. The creditor, however, has the right (legal and otherwise) to ask for repayment when due (like what happens anywhere in the world). – III-AK-III Jan 9 '18 at 23:40
  • @Shadi — As for the hadith, the word ghani (translated as rich) means someone, not necessarily high on money or earnings, but rather someone who has no need for others (which is the meaning of the word ghani). The Prophet said this phrase in specific about people capable of repaying his debt but elected to delay. You may refer to Fat'h al-Bari and Sharh an-Nawawi for this particular hadith to learn more about its meaning and background. – III-AK-III Jan 9 '18 at 23:40

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