A legal practitioner, prolific writer, editor, poet, and member of the League of Qur’an Memorizers in Nigeria, Ibn Abdillah As-Sudaisiy Al-Iloori, has shared his opinion on the trending controversial Hajj and Umrah sponsorship, stating that sponsoring people for Hajj is not a misplaced priority.

This is coming amid hardship in the country that led to a viral post on social media urging Muslims that have the capacity to sponsor Ramadan programs, Hajj and Umrah, not to do so this year; instead, they should use their money to feed the poor.

The post read, “As-Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh! Please, if you know you’re a Muslim and Allah has blessed you little or more, Please don’t sponsor any Ramadan program on radio or television this year.

“Use your money to feed people and not programs, please. Please feed people during Ramadan.

“Do not sponsor people to HAJJ this year when people around you are hungry, The 6 million for Hajj will pay 60 families (100k) each and 120 families (50k). Please think twice. Walahi, there’s Thawab in feeding the less privileged, People are hungry.

“People are suffering, Please let’s feed people as much as Allah bless us, May Almighty Allah accept all our dua as an act of Ibadah.

In reaction to the viral post, Ibn Abdillah As-Sudaisiy Al-Iloori said in a statement that partly read, “I have seen people sharing this screenshot and I wish to make this humble contribution.

“There is food for the mouth and the soul. Both are essential. The food for the mouth is what we eat and the food for the soul is sermons and lectures. In my humble view, those sponsoring beneficial programmes on radio and television should not be discouraged. They are contributing their own quota to the spiritual development of the Muslim community. Only Allah knows how many people they feed apart from sponsoring those programmes.

“The rich should only avoid sponsoring programmes of people of bid’ah in Ramadan and beyond. For instance, anyone who sponsors a Tafseer or programme where people are being misled from the path of Sunnah is aiding evil. It is better for them to use this fund to feed the poor.

“On the other hand, sponsoring people on Hajj or ‘Umrah is not a misplaced priority if the persons being sponsored are sound in knowledge, aqeedah, and ibādah. Only those who are qualified should be sponsored. What is the essence of performing Hajj or ‘Umrah without understanding Taoheed and knowing the rules guiding the exercise? Anyone who is offered Hajj or Umrah can request for the money. If he is given, fine. If he is not given, that is his own portion.

“Being free from debt is not a condition to perform Hajj or ‘Umrah if the trip is based on sponsorship. But if he is the one sponsoring himself, it is not only better for him to pay his debt first, but mandatory.

“It is Allah who makes Hajj and ‘Umrah easy for whoever He wishes. People should not be discouraged from performing a sponsored Hajj or ‘Umrah just because they are owing. It may just be an opportunity for them to ask for Allah’s help to clear their debts when they return home. Indeed, Allah is capable of doing all things.

“As for me, if I see Hajj or ‘Umrah ticket now, I will gladly take it and use the opportunity to thank Allah and pray for a better life at the most sacred place on earth. Then, I will strongly pray Allāh to purify the intention of my sponsor and accept his gesture as an act of ibādah. Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islām. Any Muslim who sincerely helps another Muslim with his halal wealth to perform it will be rewarded by Allah. If not for sponsorship, many will never have the opportunity to perform Hajj due to its expensiveness. Most of those that I know who have gone for either Hajj or ‘Umrah were through sponsorship.

“However, state resources should never be used for pilgrimage sponsorship, except for those who are going there for official roles. Even in this case, their numbers should be  limited,” it added.