#148: Settling Debt or Perform Umrah?

Question:

Should one settle his PTPTN debt or is it permissible for him to go for umrah? Which is prioritized?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.

Basically, the ruling of performing hajj and umrah is that it is obligatory once in a lifetime for those who are capable. There are numerous favors promised for those who perform hajj and umrah with sincerity and taqwa.

From Abu Hurairah RA, the Messenger PBUH said:

الْعُمْرَةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَالْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُورُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةُ

“An ‘umra is an expiation for sins committed between it and the next, but a hajj which is accepted will receive no less a reward than paradise.” [1]

The above clearly shows us the sanctioning of hajj and umrah is an esteemed sanctioning of Allah SWT. This is clear in the above-stated hadith. The Prophet PBUH promised paradise for those whose hajj is accepted (mabrur hajj). Likewise, for those who performed umrah repeatedly, all of their minor sins are forgiven throughout the umrah.

In this issue, in our opinion, every capable Muslim must perform hajj and umrah once in their entire lives.

Referring to the above question, the performance of umrah is permissible although one’s PTPTN loan hasn’t been paid off. The reason is there are two types of debt, debt that should be settled immediately or deferred debt (has been agreed to be paid after a certain amount of duration).

Imam al-Nawawi said: If he still has debts that he should settle immediately and he is capable to do so, then the creditor has a right to prevent him from travelling. Consequently, if he is from the poor or needy and he doesn’t have what is claimed over him. Then, it is permissible for him to travel without the permission of the creditor. Likewise, for deferred debt, it is permissible to travel without first paying it off. However, it is sunnah to not travel until he has appointed a proxy to settle his debt during his absence. (See al-Idhah, pg. 18)

In the matter of PTPTN debt, in our opinion, it is categorized under debt that can be managed to be paid through monthly instalments. An Islamic legal maxim states:

الجمْعُ بَيْنَ المَصْلَحَتَيْنِ أوْلى من إِبْطَالِ إِحْدَاهُما

“Combining two maslahah is prioritized rather than cancelling one over the other.”

However, the performance of umrah must fulfil several conditions or dhawabit set which is that one must have an income that exceeds his needs and the needs of his dependents to settle his debt and the expenses that he’ll incur for his umrah. Thus, if someone doesn’t have any surplus from his income or his income is just sufficient for his needs for his daily life, then he cannot continue to perform umrah.

Conclusion

Capability is one of the obligatory conditions that need to be fulfilled by anyone who wants to perform hajj and umrah. Hence, for whoever is incapable then the condition for him to perform it is abrogated due to his incapability. However, for those who are capable to manage their debt and finances properly, has a stable income, then it is permissible for them to perform umrah or hajj. Although, this is only permissible for those who are certain that they are capable to manage their finances properly when they return from the Holy land.

Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1] Riwayat Al-Bukhari (1773) and Muslim (1449)

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