If a Muslim performs Fajr Prayer and then keeps offering dhikr or reciting the Qur’an until sunrise, Allah Almighty will bestow on him great rewards. But this does not mean that this will exempt him from performing Hajj or `Umrah, for each act of worship has its own reward.
Dr. Ahmad Taha Rayan, Professor of Comparative Fiqh at Al-Azhar University, states: Islam encourages Muslims who can afford Hajj and `Umrah to perform them. Hajj is an obligation upon able Muslims who can afford its expenses. It brings pilgrims great rewards, eradicates their sins, multiplies their good deeds, and makes them as if born anew. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked, “What is the best deed?” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “To believe in Almighty Allah and His Messenger.” The questioner then asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied: “To participate in jihad in Almighty Allah’s Cause.” The questioner again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “To perform Hajj mabrur (one that is accepted by Allah, performed with the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure only and not to show off, without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him])” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) also reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not approach his wife for sexual relations nor commits sins (while performing Hajj), he will come out as sinless as a newborn child” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
It was also reported by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The (performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of Hajj mabrur is nothing except Paradise” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and At-Tirmidhi).
Hajj is one of the basic pillars of Islam. It combines the attainment of many noble aims and brings one great rewards in both this world and the Hereafter.
Hajj is the obligation that brings Muslims all over the world together, regardless of their differences in color, homeland, or language. It is the conference under which the Muslims get acquainted and consult on what the Muslim Ummah should do, so that it can be truly the best nation [as Almighty Allah has destined it to be]. Hajj is to be the strongest tie that brings Muslims together. If Muslims are to realize the core theme of Hajj and make use of it in seeking unity and solidarity, the seeds of awe will be thrown into the hearts of their enemy.
Each Muslim, male and female, who is able to perform Hajj and can afford it must perform it. Allah Almighty says: (And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither.) (Aal `Imran 3:97).
This verse indicates that Hajj is a duty upon the legally responsible Muslim who can afford the journey of Hajj and has enough money to leave for his dependants until he gets back from Hajj. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked, “Messenger of Allah, what does ‘a way thither’ refer to?” He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It refers to (affording) the provision of the pilgrim and the vehicle that can get him there.”
As regards the question in hand, the questioner’s saying that the circumstances of his work hinder him from going to Hajj is not an excuse for him not to perform Hajj. No jurist has ever said that performing the Fajr Prayer in congregation and then reciting the Qur’an until sunrise substitutes for performing Hajj or `Umrah. Each act of worship has its own reward.
So, dear questioner, keep on observing congregational Prayers and reciting the Qur’an, and perform Hajj if you can afford it. May Almighty Allah grant you success and accept what you do for His sake.
The questioner may be referring to the hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “He who performs the Fajr Prayer in congregation, and makes dhikr until sunrise, and then offers two rak`ahs of Duha Prayer will get a reward equal to that of complete Hajj and `Umrah.” (He [peace and blessings be upon him] said “complete Hajj and `Umrah” three times) (At-Tirmidhi).
This hadith is authentic, but it should not be interpreted literally. The hadith indicates that if one spends the time between the Fajr Prayer and sunrise in remembering Almighty Allah and then offers Duha Prayer, one will be greatly rewarded like pilgrims. But this does not mean that one may do so as substitution for performing Hajj or `Umrah.
Allah Almighty knows best.