From WikiHaj

Istiṭāʿa (الاِستِطاعَة), In Islamic law, means enjoying all the required characteristics that make hajj obligatory, such a person is called mustati' (المُستَطيع).

The obligation of hajj is immediate; it means that the hajj should be performed in the same year in which a person becomes mustati' and any delay in it, without an excuse is not permissible. In case it is delayed, it would be considered a sin and they will be obligated to perform hajj the very next year or in case, they do not perform it, in the future years.

After one becomes mustati', if the act of performing hajj requires travelling and managing provisions, the person should take every step possible to accomplish this noble pilgrimage the same year. When a mustati' person is negligent and does not perform hajj, he has committed a sin and hajj would remain obligatory for him even if he no longer meets the conditions of being mustati'.

Istita'a includes the following:

  • Financial ability;
  • Physical ability;
  • Availability of a safe route;
  • Availability of time.

Financial Ability

The term financial ability is classified into four categories:

  • Provisions for travel and transportation;
  • Provision for the family while he is in journey;
  • Basic necessities of life during the pilgrimage; and
  • Ability to sustain normal life after pilgrimage.

Provisions for Travel and Transportation

Provisions mean everything that one needs during his travel such as food, water, clothing, and other basic necessities of traveling along with a means of transportation, like a car. Hajj is not obligatory for a person who does not have provisions and means of transportation or the means to procure them. Though he can achieve the ability for hajj by working and trading, until he achieves that status hajj is not obligatory for him.

Obligation of hajj is conditional upon having enough money to return to their own city or the place they want to go. If a person does not have money to spend on hajj but he has given some amount of money as loan, he must claim that amount from the debtor if the loan is due, the debtor holds the capacity to return it, it is not unbearably hard for him to ask it back, and by receiving the money he will be financially able to go to hajj and return.

If a woman's marriage portion is adequate for hajj expenses, and she demands his marriage portion from her husband but her husband does not have enough wealth to pay her, she cannot demand it from him and she is not considered mustati'. If the husband is financially stable, and her claim does not lead to a vile consequence, it is obligatory that she demands her marriage portion from her husband and perform hajj with it. However, if her claim results in divorce or dispute, demanding the marriage portion is not obligatory for her and she is not considered mustati'.

If a person is unable to bear the expenses for performing hajj but it is possible for him to take loan — which he can repay it easily — to meet its expenses, it is not obligatory for him to get the loan and become mustati'. However, if he does so, he will become mustati'.

For a person who has to pay his debt and he has not the money except his hajj expenses to repay the debt, hajj is obligatory for him only if he has enough time to pay back the debt and he is confident that he can repay the debt on time. Similarly, if the date for payment of the debt has approached but the creditor agrees to defer his debt and the loaner is confident that he can repay it when creditor demands, the person is obligated to perform hajj. Apart from these two cases, hajj is not regarded as obligatory for such a person.

If a person needs to marry, avoiding marriage brings about difficulty and problem and he can marry, he will be considered mustati' when he has enough money for hajj as well as for marriage.

Regarding the transportation expenditures such as a car, airplane etc., if the cost is higher in the year in which he becomes mustati' but he is able to pay the expenses without unbearable hardship, hajj is obligatory for him. A mere high price of things does not prejudice the state of being mustati'.

But, if he is unable to pay extra cost or it amounts to oppression, it is not obligatory to pay it and he is not mustati'. The same rules apply if he is to pay higher for hiring/buying what he needs during hajj journey or he should sell his property for a price less than its market price to provide for his hajj expenses.

The criterion for being mustati' is normal method of going to hajj. If he believes that he does not have enough money to perform hajj in a normal way but thinks there may be a cheaper way compatible with his current financial status, it is not obligatory for him to investigate and hajj is not obligatory for him. On the other hand, if a person doubts his being mustati' as he does not know how much money/wealth he has, it is obligatory for him to scrutinize his situation.

Provision for One's Family While He is in Journey

Meeting the financial needs of the family members during the journey is one of the conditions of financial ability.

By family members whose provisions are considered a condition in determining financial ability for hajj are meant one's dependents as per common view, although providing their maintenance is not obligatory in Islamic law.

Necessities of Life and Livelihood

Meeting the basic necessities of life as per a person's social status is a condition for hajj to be obligatory. It is not necessary that the very basic necessities of life exist; it suffices that one has the money or property to spend for this purpose.

As social status varies from person to person, if a person considers possessing his own home as a need and essential for his social position, and a borrowed or endowed house may cause hardship or disgrace to him, then possessing a house will be one of the conditions to be mustati'.

If one possesses a sum of money/property that is adequate to meet hajj requirements but the amount is needed for a necessary deed such as buying a house, treatment of illness or running the routine expenses, the person is not mustati', and hence hajj is not obligatory for him.

Keeping the provision itself and sources of travelling itself is not a condition for a person to be mustati' for hajj. But, if he has a property or money for purchasing provisions of travelling, it is sufficient to be considered as mustati'.

If a person has all the basic necessities of life in surplus, can spend the extra to meet the hajj requirements, and this does not cause any hardship, he is mustati' for the hajj.

For a person who sells a piece of land or something else to buy a house, if having a house is necessary for him or having a house is appropriate to his social position, he will not be mustati' for hajj by getting the land, even though the proceeds are equal to the expenditures of hajj.

If a person does not need a property any more – even if it is some books – and by gaining money through selling them he will have an amount sufficient to fulfill needs for hajj, he is mustati' for hajj.

Returning with Competence of Earning Livelihood

Returning from hajj in state of capability to earn one's livelihood is one of the conditions for financial ability for hajj. (However, this is not a condition in hajj on gift as it will be described in details). It means that after returning from hajj one should have a sufficient source of income for him and his family in accordance with their social status —as per common view— for instance trade, agriculture, industrial activity, job or profit from property such as a garden or a shop as a source of income). As for students of an Islamic seminary, if the stipends maintain their life after return from hajj, they will be mustati' for hajj.

Returning a woman from hajj in state of capability to have her livelihood is one of the conditions for her to be mustati' as well. Therefore, if she is married and becomes mustati' while her husband is alive, her husband's providing her after hajj fulfills this condition. If she is single, she should have a source to earn money and leads a life compatible with her social status. Otherwise, she is not mustati'.

If a person with limited income is assured by a person that he will pay for his hajj expenditures, and takes full responsibility for it, hajj is obligatory for him. This type of hajj is called hajj on gift, and in this type of hajj competence of source of income is not a condition. It is not necessary that the contributor gives food, transportation, etc.; rather, his paying enough money has the same rule. However, if the contributor gives him money as a gift enough to cover hajj expenditure without specifying it for hajj, then if the latter accept the gift, hajj is obligatory for him. Yet, it is not obligatory to accept the gift and he may reject it and as a result he will not become mustati'.

Hajj on gift is a valid substitute for hajjat al-Islam and it is not obligatory to perform hajj again if the person who performed hajj becomes mustati' later. If a person is invited by an institution or a person to go for hajj but in compensation for some work, this does not classify as hajj on gift.

A person who becomes mustati' for hajj cannot disqualify himself for hajj by spending money when it is the time for spending money on hajj. Moreover, on the basis of obligatory caution, he should not disqualify himself before this time.

Being mustati' or having financial ability for hajj is not confined to one's native country. This implies that if a person gains financial ability even at mīqāt, hajj becomes obligatory for him and this hajj replaces ḥajjat al-Islam.

If a person becomes mustati' for hajj at mīqāt like the servants in the caravans and other assistants, and all the provisions of the family as per their social status as well as the amount to sustain life after hajj are adequate, then hajj becomes obligatory for them and this hajj replaces ḥajjat al-Islam; otherwise his hajj is mustaḥabb, and later, if he becomes mustati' for hajj, hajjat al-Islam will be obligatory for him.

If a person is hired to serve others during the occasion of hajj and he becomes mustati' for hajj by receiving the wage, he has become mustati' for hajj after concluding the hire deed provided that his services as an assistant do not hinder the rites of hajj. Otherwise, he will not become mustati' for hajj. Nevertheless, it is not obligatory for him to accept such a contract.

For a person who is not financially able to go to hajj and is hired for hajj on behalf of another person, if he becomes able for hajj by earning an amount of money other than that of being hired for hajj, it is obligatory for him to perform ḥajjat al-Islam first. If the hiring contract specify the time of hajj on behalf for this year, this contract is invalid; otherwise he must perform hajj on behalf of the other person in the next year.

If a person, due to negligence or on purpose, intends mustaḥabb hajj —though his purpose is performing the rites of hajj as rehearsal and he wants to perform the rites of hajj the next year with greater perfection or thinks that hajj is not obligatory for him– but he comes to know later that he was mustati', his hajj does not replace hajjat al-Islam. By caution, he should perform obligatory hajj the next year. That said unless thinking his duty was mustaḥabb hajj, intended performing his actual duty. In this case, his hajj replaces the ḥajjat al-Islam.

Physical Ability

Physical ability refers to power and strength to perform the rites of hajj. Hajj is not obligatory for the sick and aged who cannot go to hajj or it is unbearably hard and difficult for them to do so.

Stable physical ability is a condition for being mustati'. Thus, if a person travels with an intention to perform hajj but contracts a disease that prevents him from traveling during his journey, or before wearing iḥrām and it becomes clear that he cannot fulfill the rites of hajj, it shows that he was not mustati'. Therefore, it is not obligatory for him to hire someone to perform hajj on his behalf.

In case, he became mustati' years ago and hajj was established to be obligatory for him, now that he contracts the disease as mentioned above and does not hope that he may recover and perform hajj himself even in the future, he should hire someone to perform hajj on his behalf.

However, if he is hopeful that he would recover and would be able to perform hajj next year or later, it is obligatory for him to perform hajj himself. However, if one becomes sick after wearing iḥrām, he is subject to its special rulings and commandments.

Road Safety

This refers to safety along the route to hajj. Hajj is not obligatory for a person for whom the route is closed in such a way that he cannot reach the point of mīqāt or he cannot complete his rites of hajj. Likewise, if the route is open for a person but it is unsafe for hajj and there is danger for his life, honor, or wealth, hajj is not obligatory for him.

If a person has enough money for hajj and he gets registered for performing hajj without delay but his name does not appear in the draw and he cannot go for hajj the same year, he is not qualified for hajj and hajj is not obligatory for him. However, if going to hajj involves registration process and payment of a sum so that he may perform hajj the next year, as an obligatory caution, he should make efforts for it.

Time Ability

Time adequacy refers to having enough time to perform the rites of hajj during the specific days of hajj. So if a person becomes mustati' for hajj when he cannot perform rites of hajj due to lack of time or huge trouble and difficulty, hajj is not obligatory for him that year.


  • The Rites of Hajj, In Accord with Fatwās of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Hajj and Ziarah Research Center