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Covid-19: Hajj and Travel Refunds

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by IslamicPortal.co.uk

Covid-19: Hajj and Travel Refunds


Over the past few years, I (a resident of the UK) saved up £26,000 for our family of four to perform Hajj. The full amount was paid to the travel agent in November last year. The Saudi authorities have now cancelled Hajj for those not residing in Saudi Arabia. In this scenario:

1) Am I entitled to a full refund from the travel agent from an Islamic perspective? If the travel agent refuses to provide the full refund, what should I do? Some travel agents are making an excuse that they have already paid for the hotels and airline tickets.

2) We are aware that some travel agents are issuing vouchers for Hajj in the subsequent year. Are they allowed to do this? What should we do? 

(For Q&As, guidance & articles regarding Covid-19, click here)

(For the Zakat implications on refunds, click here)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم


1) If a customer has paid the travel agent the full cost, or the partial cost, or the deposit, and the travel agent is unable to fulfil the agreement due to cancellation of flights and Hajj, the agreement becomes void and the customer is entitled to a full monetary refund. Customers are not liable for any potential losses incurred by the travel agents, just as they do not benefit from the profits of travel agents in normal circumstances. It is therefore wrong for a travel agent to refuse to provide a full refund. Customers are entitled to use all appropriate options to recover the money.

In relation to the excuse of travel agents, this does not affect the entitlement of customers. Nevertheless, it should be noted that airlines and hotels are providing refunds. In addition, most travel agents make a significant profit, and generally hotels are given deposits, not the full amount. Therefore, travel agents should be able to issue refunds of the majority of the money very quickly.

It is recognised that some travel agents may face some genuine difficulty in issuing full refunds. If so, they should refund whatever is possible immediately and strive to refund the remainder as soon as possible. When a person has the intention to pay, Allah Almighty provides assistance. All parties should engage with each other constructively and mutually agree the refund arrangements.  

2) If a travel agent issues a voucher for Hajj for next year and the customer refuses, the travel agent cannot force the customer to accept this. As mentioned above, the customer is entitled to a full monetary refund. However, if the customer agrees to accept a voucher for Hajj in the subsequent year, this is permissible. In effect, this is both parties entering into another agreement upon the same terms. To avoid disputes later and take into account potential changes in circumstances, both parties should agree the following in writing:

  • If the travel agent cannot facilitate Hajj next year, the customer has the right to a full monetary refund.
  • No additional charges will be applied by the travel agent and the same terms of quality and service will apply as per the initial agreement. However, if due to unforeseeable circumstances, the travel agent cannot provide the package at the same cost or with the same terms of quality and service, the customer reserves the right to either accept the amended terms and/or additional costs, or rescind the agreement and obtain a full monetary refund.
  • The customer reserves the right until a particular date (which can be mutually fixed) to cancel the agreement and obtain a full monetary refund. The travel agent can also have this right. Once this date passes, the unrestricted right of the customer to cancel will not remain unless either of the first two points apply.

In relation to the final part of the question, you are aware of your circumstances and you have the right to decide between a monetary refund and a voucher. In light of the ongoing situation, the uncertainty and economic volatility, we recommend you to obtain a full monetary refund if this is possible. Ultimately, the decision is yours and both are valid options.

Our general advice for the future is that any Hajj deposit is only given once there is confirmation that Hajj will go ahead and the travel agent is allocated a quota to take pilgrims.

May Allah Almighty remove the pandemic from us so that we can visit Ḥaramayn and al-Masjid al-Aqṣā. Āmīn.   

قال الله تعالى: وأوفوا بالعهد، إن العهد كان مسئولا. وقال تعالى: يا أيها الذين آمنوا أوفوا بالعقود. وعن عائشة في حديثها أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: ما بال رجال يشترطون شروطا ليست في كتاب الله، ما كان من شرط ليس في كتاب الله فهو باطل وإن كان مائة شرط، قضاء الله أحق وشرط الله أوثق، وإنما الولاء لمن أعتق، رواه البخاري (٢٧٢٩). وقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: الصلح جائز بين المسلمين، إلا صلحا حرم حلالا أو أحل حراما، والمسلمون على شروطهم، إلا شرطا حرم حلالا أو أحل حراما، رواه الترمذي (١٣٥٢) وأبو داود (٣٥٩٤)، وصححه الترمذي۔

وقال محمد في الأصل (٣/٥٥٢): وكذلك الكراء إلى مكة، فإن بدا للمستأجر أن يترك الحج فهذا عذر، انتهى. وقال الكاساني في البدائع (٤/١٩٧): والثاني عدم حدوث عذر بأحد العاقدين أو بالمستأجر، فإن حدث بأحدهما أو بالمستأجر عذر لا يبقى العقد لازما وله أن يفسخ، انتهى. وفي الهندية (٤/٤٥٨) عن فتاوى قاضيخان (٢/٢٧٠): ومشايخنا وفقوا فقالوا: إن كانت الإجارة لغرض ولم يبق ذلك الغرض أو كان عذر يمنعه من الجري على موجب العقد شرعا، تنتقض الإجارة من غير نقض، انتهى. وقال السمرقندي في التحفة (٢/٣٥٠): الأجر يجب شيئا فشيئا بمقابلة استيفاء المنافع. وقال (٢/٣٥٧): المستأجر إذا كان مجهولا أو الأجر مجهولا أو العمل أو المدة فالإجارة فاسدة، لأنها جهالة تفضي إلى المنازعة كما في البيع، انتهى۔   

وأما خيار الشرط فقال محمد في الجامع الصغير (ص ٣٤٣): وإن اشترط الخيار أربعة أيام فالبيع فاسد، وإن أجاز في الثلاث جاز، وكذلك إن كان الخيار للبائع، وقال أبو يوسف ومحمد: إن اشترط الخيار عشرة أيام أو أكثر جاز، انتهى. ونحوه في الأصل (٢/٤٥٧). وقال محمد فيه (٢/٤٦٣): وإذا كان البائع أو المشتري بالخيار ثلاثة أيام فمضت الثلاثة قبل أن يختار فقد جاز البيع ولزم المشتري، انتهى. وقال شيخنا محمد تقي العثماني في فقه البيوع (٢/٩٠٤): ونظرا إلى علة مشروعية الخيار، وإلى أنه لم يرد نص صحيح في نفيه بعد ثلاثة أيام، فالراجح أن الخيار يجوز لما فوق ثلاثة أيام، ويمكن أن تختلف المدة من مبيع إلى مبيع آخر، ولكن ينبغي أن لا تكون المدة تتضمن ترك العقد مترددا إلى أمد بعيد لا يُحتاج إليه للتروي في مثل تلك المبيعات، انتهى۔

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shabbir

3 Dhū al-Qaʿdah 1441 / 25 June 2020

Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir

This answer was collected from IslamicPortal.co.uk, which is a repository of Islamic Q&A, articles, books, and resources. Various schools write and oversee the answers, including Maulana Yusuf Shabbir, Mufti Shabbir Ahmed, and Mufti Muhammad Tahir. 

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