Is it permissible to go hajj with the money borrowed at interest? I am not well-off. Can I go to hajj by bank credit?

The Details of the Question

I want to go hajj very much but I am not well-off. The companies that organize hajj do not accept reveiving the money on installments. Is it permissible to go to hajj by getting a bank loan?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to Hanbali madhhab, hajj performed by haram money is not valid but according to the other three madhhabs, hajj is valid but that person becomes a sinner; that is, he is freed from the responsibility of hajj. 

Hajj is not performed with haram money; if one goes to hajj with haram money, his hajj is valid but its thawab is not like the thawab of hajj performed with halal money.

As it is known, an accepted hajj is enough for the elimination of all sins of a person except for the violation of others’ rights. A person is virtually regarded as having just been born in terms of sins. However, it is necessary to pay attention to the following five conditions at least:

1. To go to hajj with a sincere intention, that is, only for the sake of Allah. To forget about everything except Allah as if visiting Him.

2. To go to hajj with clean (halal) money.

3. To pay his debts related to other peoples’ rights or to ask forgiveness from them, to perform his missed (qada) prayers and fasting or to decide to perform them and start. 

4. To keep away from nonsensical and bad words, intentions and deeds (rafath and fusuq) during hajj.

5. To complete hajj based on its other external and internal conditions.

Only Allah knows the amount of the thawabs such a hajj will gain man after eliminating all sins. The thawabs of the hajj will decrease as the fulfilment of those conditions decreases. Some people will only be freed of the responsibility of hajj but will not gain any thawabs. Hajj might also cause a person to commit sins. Therefore, rich people whose wealth contains haram or doubtful money are advised to go to hajj by borrowing money and pay their debts from their own wealth when they return.

In addition, Imam Gazali gives the following advice:

"A person who goes to hajj with haram or doubtful money should try to make sure that his food is clean and halal. If he cannot do it throughout hajj, he should try to do it between the time when he enters ihram and exits ihram. If he cannot do it, he should try to do it on the day of Arafah. If he cannot do it either, he should feel sorry and regret all the time because he has to make hajj with such money; it is hoped that he will be shown mercy in Arafat." (Husayn al-Makki, Irsshadus-Sari, 3)

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