Question # 327: what to say when performing umrah for a deceased person, and hajj too.

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The place for the intention is the heart, and speaking it out loud is bid’ah. Hence, it is not Sunnah for a person to say “O Allah, I have intended to do ‘Umrah” or “I have intended to do Hajj”, because there is no report to that effect from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). Rather he should say Talbiyah based on what he intends. The Talbiyah is not regarded as expressing the intention, because it signifies responding to Allah. Hence, if a person says “Labbayka ‘umratan (Here I am for ‘Umrah)” or “Laybbayka hajjan (Here I am for Hajj)”, that does not come under the heading of forming the intention, because he has to make intention prior to Talbiyah. Therefore, if one intends to perform ‘Umrah on behalf of someone deceased, then it is enough to intend that within one’s heart and then, while entering ihram for ‘Umrah, ones should say, “Labbayk Allaahumma bi ‘umratin ‘an [so-and-so] (Here I am, O Allah, for ‘Umrah on behalf of [so-and-so])” and “Labbayk Allaahumma bi ‘hajjin ‘an [so-and-so] (Here I am, O Allah, for ‘Hajj on behalf of [so-and-so]).” Lastly, one must remember that before performing Hajj on behalf of someone else, a person must have performed his own Hajj. 

Long Answer:  Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Speaking the intention is a bid’ah (innovation) and doing so loudly is even more sinful. Rather the Sunnah is to make one’s intention in the heart, because Allah knows that which is secret and what is even more hidden. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Say: Will you inform Allah of your religion while Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth?” (Soorah al-Hujuraat, 49:16)

It was not narrated from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) or the Sahabah or any of the most prominent imams that they spoke the intention out loud. From this we may understand that it is not prescribed, rather it is an innovation that has been introduced into the religion.” (Fataawa Islamiyyah)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “It was not narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) spoke the intention out loud, whether for prayer, wudu’, fasting or any other act of worship. Even in Hajj and ‘Umrah he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not say, when he wanted to do Hajj and ‘Umrah, “O Allah, I intend to do so and so.” It is not narrated that he did that or that he told any of his companions to do that. The most that has been narrated concerning that is that Dubaa’ah bint al-Zubayr (رضي الله عنها) asked him for advice, saying that she wanted to do Hajj but she was feeling unwell. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to her: “Do Hajj and put a condition saying, ‘I will exit ihram at the place where You cause me to fall ill,’ because your condition is valid before Allah.’” In this case it is acceptable to speak out loud because resolving to do Hajj is like a vow, and a vow is spoken out loud, because if a person intends to make a vow in his heart, that is not a vow and is not counted as a vow. Because Hajj is like a vow and must be completed once started, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded Dubaa’ah to say her condition out loud and say, “If something prevents me from completing my Hajj, then the place of my exiting ihram is the place where You cause me to be unable to proceed further.”

With regard to what is proven in the hadith, that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Jibreel came to me and said, ‘Pray in this blessed valley, and say, ‘Umrah fi Hijjah or ‘Umrah wa Hijjah [‘Umrah and Hajj],’” that does not mean that he was speaking the intention out loud, rather what it means is that he was mentioning the acts of worship in his Talbiyah. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not speak his intention out loud.” (Fataawa Islamiyyah)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “It should be noted that the place for the intention is the heart. It is not Sunnah for a person to say “O Allah, I have intended to do ‘Umrah” or “I have intended to do Hajj”, because there is no report to that effect from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). Rather he should say Talbiyah based on what he intends. The Talbiyah is not regarded as expressing the intention, because the Talbiyah signifies responding to Allah, so in and of itself it is dhikr which is not expressing the intention in the heart.” (ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘)

“If a person says “Labbayka ‘umratan (Here I am for ‘Umrah)” or “Laybbayka hajjan (Here I am for Hajj)”, that does not come under the heading of forming the intention, because he formed the intention before that. Hence it is not prescribed to say, “O Allah, I am going to do ‘Umrah” or “O Allah, I am going to do Hajj.” Rather you should form the intention in your heart and recite the Tabiyah out loud. With regard to uttering the intention for actions other than Hajj or ‘Umrah, this is something which it is well known is not prescribed. It is not Sunnah for a person to say, when he wants to do wudu’, “O Allah, I am going to do wudu’” or “O Allah, I intend to do wudu’”, or when he wants to pray to say “O Allah, I am going to pray” or “O Allah, I intend to pray.” None of that is prescribed. And the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم).” (Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)

Hence, if one intends to perform ‘Umrah on behalf of [someone deceased], then it is enough to intend that within oneself without mentioning [the person’s] name at all. But it is better to mention the first name, to say, “Labbayka ‘an so-and-so (Here I am on behalf of so and so).”

In his collection of Fataawa, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked about what one should say when assuming Ihram (ritual state of consecration) for performing Hajj on behalf of someone. He was also asked about what one should say on the Day of ‘Arafah (the 9th day of Thul-Hijjah), the Day of Nahr (the 10th day of Thul-Hijjah), when throwing the pebbles, and during other rituals. He answered: He should say, “Labbayka ‘an so and so (Here I am on behalf of so and so).” The evidence for this is the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) according to which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), heard a man say, “Labbayka (Here I am) on behalf of Shubrumah” [i.e., he was performing Hajj on behalf of Shubrumah]. He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) asked, “Who is Shubrumah?” The man replied, “He is a brother (or a relative) of mine.” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), asked, “Have you performed Hajj for yourself?” The man said, “No.” Then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), told him, “Perform Hajj for yourself first, then perform Hajj on behalf of Shubrumah.”

So, you should say, “Labbayka ‘an (and mention the person’s name).” If you do not remember his name, then it is enough to say, “Here I am on behalf of the one who delegated me to perform Hajj,” or any similar statement. Indeed, Allah Knows who this person is. You are not required to repeat the same during Tawaaf (circumambulation), Sa‘y (going back and forth between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah), standing at ‘Arafah, spending the night at Muzdalifah, throwing the pebbles, and so on. It is enough for you to intend it at the beginning of Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umrah. (The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs)

[Hence, also before performing Hajj on behalf of someone else, a person must have performed his own Hajj based on the above hadith.]

(Unless specific otherwise, the above reply is based on various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam