Ruling for performing Hajj and Umrah while in debt

Question:
I am currently working full time and at the same time paying off some student loans (at a fixed amount every month). This was agreed with the bank at the beginning of the loan term and is spread over a number of years. Obviously it is a large amount and I cannot pay it off all at once. My dilemma is that I want to perform Umrah, however I will still be paying this loan during that time. I have the means i.e. enough money to perform the Umrah. Can I still go?
Also, a person is heavily indebted to the bank by way of overdraft and to private business houses. Is Hajj compulsory upon him? If not, can he perform Hajj?

Answer:
It is forbidden to engage in any interest bearing transactions. As long as a person is involved in an overdraft, he will be incurring sin. Hajj is compulsory on a person who has the financial means to travel to Makkah Mukarramah and is able to maintain himself there and his dependants (if any) at home. As for other debts, if a person is heavily indebted and his liabilities exceed his assets, Hajj is not compulsory upon that person.

If he fulfils his monthly commitments and his creditors do not have any arrears claim against him, he will not be infringing on the rights of his creditors by performing Hajj on condition that he is sincere in fulfilling the remaining amount according to the commitments. If the creditors have arrears claims against him, he will be infringing on their rights by performing Hajj. Hence, he cannot perform Hajj unless he receives the prior consent of his creditors claiming arrears from him. [Al-Mahmood 6]

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

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