Paying money for hajj rituals by proxy illegal, scholar claims

Muslim pilgrims cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan, during the annual hajj pilgrimage on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, near the holy city of Makkah, October 4, 2014. (Reuters)

Several brokers are exploiting the ignorance of some pilgrims on the correct methods of performing the Haj pilgrimage to make money. These brokers, mostly expatriates working individually or for some Hhajj campaigns, convince some domestic pilgrims wanting to complete their hajj rites quickly, that they could do the rite of throwing pebbles at Jamarat (wall representing Satan) for a fee.

They also have them agree to do the Tawaf al-Ifadha (circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba) on their behalf against a certain amount of money.

Hassan, a 35-year-old Yemeni expatriate, said he is hunting for women and old men to convince them that he could throw the pebbles at the Jamarat on their behalf.

“During the first three days of the Haj, I can easily make between [$2,700-$3,700] for this work,” he said.

Hassan said he starts his work by collecting a large amount of pebbles from Muzdalifah to sell to the pilgrims.

“I then offer them my proxy service to do the throwing of stones at the Jamarat for them. Some of them readily agree and pay me my fees in advance,” Hassan said.

He said in the past he used to do this work free of charge but with the rising cost of living he started charging money.

Yahya, another Yemeni expatriate, said he has made it a habit to come to the Holy Sites every year during the hajj to offer his proxy services to interested pilgrims.

“I especially target domestic and pilgrims from the GCC countries. They are more eager to pay and are always in a hurry to complete their hajj rites quickly,” he said.

Wanting to go home

He said every hajj season he makes more than $8,000 for rendering his services.

“Some domestic and GCC pilgrims are willing to pay between [$200-$270] for throwing the pebbles at the Satan on their behalf. They are rushing to go back to their homes to spend the rest of the hajj holidays with their families,” he said.

Atiq, Jalal and Siraj, three Yemeni expatriates, said they offer to do Tawaf Al-Ifadha and the Sai (walking back and forth seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwah).

They said the money they make out from this job is enough to sustain them for a whole year.

A renowned Saudi scholar objected to this work and said it is not correct.

Saleh Bin Saeed al-Lihaidan, a scholar and a professor of criminal justice, said the pilgrim can deputize others to do the throwing of stones at the Satan, the Tawaf al-Ifadha and the Sai on five main conditions only.

He said pilgrims can deputize others to do these rites for them if they are in a great hurry to leave Mina, they are unconscious because of sickness such as the diabetic coma, hospitalized due to an accident, too old and weak to do these rites by themselves, Pilgrims can deputize others to do these rites for them if they are in a great hurry to leave Mina, they are unconscious because of sickness such as diabetic coma, hospitalized due to an accident, too old and weak to do these rites by themselves, and pregnant and breast-feeding women.

He said pilgrims who are ignorant of the correct hajj rites usually fall prey to these brokers.
 

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Oct. 5, 2014.

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