Muslims are obligated to perform a major pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. There is another minor pilgrimage which all Muslims have the option of performing, which is known as Umrah. However due to certain circumstances not all Muslims are able to make either of these pilgrimages. A question was asked not too long ago, on the internet, as it has been present in the minds of Muslims since a long time. A Muslim brother stated that he had some confusion regarding the fact that whether we are able to perform the Tawaf, or circumambulation on behalf of another living person.
Online respondents thanked him for asking this question as it proved he wanted to be more knowledgeable about Islam. The respondent stated that in general the understanding is that you can perform both the Hajj and Umrah on behalf of another who may be unable to do so, for reasons which may be physical inability or financial constraints. However performing the circumambulation or walking between the mountains of Safa and Marwa, on behalf of another person has not been mentioned in the Shariah.
In the authentic sources of Islam, there has been no precedent about the practice of our ancestors performing the tawaf on behalf of another. It is permissible to perform the entire Umrah, however just the Tawaf on behalf of others has not been mentioned in any reliable source. There is something however that we are not supposed to do. As Muslims we are not allowed to bring any innovations into our worship (Biddah). You can however offer pray for other people while performing your own Tawaf.
The Holy Prophet has told us that the Tawaf is a form of prayer, and it is not invalidated by talk. It is a vital part of the pilgrimages, and the validity of the pilgrimages depends on the Tawaf. Additionally we may not even perform the pilgrimages for anyone who has the physical and financial means of doing it themselves. For those whose constraints range from unwillingness to take out time for Allah, or those have a lacking of enthusiasm to perform the pilgrimage, cannot be helped. If a person willingly does not perform acts of worship, then we cannot pray and perform the other acts on their behalf.
Amongst the various Islamic scholars from all around the world there exists a difference on many subjects which includes the permission of fasting, prayer and the other physical acts of worship on behalf of others. We should aim to look at it in this perspective, since it is highly debated, we can rest assured that we will still be getting the rewards for the acts of worship, whether we do it for others or ourselves. Allah is the most merciful and surely Allah will answer your prayers if you pray for showering of blessings on others.
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