Religious Guidance on Purchase of Conventional Insurance Schemes for Haj Pilgrims


1. The Office of the Mufti (OOM) received a question from the Haj Services Strategic Unit (HSSU) on the ruling of having sufficient insurance coverage whilst traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj and Umrah pilgrimages. Despite the availability of the takaful protection schemes, the coverage provided by these protection schemes may not be adequate should they contract COVID-19 whilst performing their Haj or Umrah. Currently, only conventional insurance companies offer full coverage for those who have contracted COVID-19.

Ensuring safety and welfare by having insurance coverage

2. The Shariah places great emphasis on ensuring Muslims’ welfare.1 On this basis, when the pandemic had just begun, and COVID-19 was spreading rapidly throughout the world, travelling was not advisable.2 In fact, the Fatwa Committee in 2020 has decided that the Haj for that year has to be deferred to the following year because the conditions that make Haj obligatory such as the ability and well-being of the individual who wishes to perform Haj cannot be fulfilled.3 However, if the individual still needs to travel such as performing Haj, all additional safety steps should then be taken such as buying travel insurance as it is a necessary undertaking to assure one’s safety and welfare. Currently, no takaful company provides schemes with full and comprehensive coverage for travelers during pandemic.

3. If there is a need to obtain coverage from conventional insurance to protect oneself, the Fatwa Committee in 1988 viewed that purchasing conventional insurance is allowed.4

4. Scholars such as Sheikh Mustafa al-Zarqa’5 and Dar Ifta’ al-Misriyyah6 are of the opinion that purchasing conventional insurance is permissible, as it is a form of contract that is new (Aqad Jadīd) that the scholars of the past did not discuss. Generally, the purchase of insurance is allowed, as long as it does not contain any forbidden elements,7 based on the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (Usul Fiqh) that permissibility is the origin of any contract:8

الأصل في العقود والشروط: الجواز والصحة ولا يحرم منها ويبطل إلا ما دل الشرع على تحريمه وإبطاله

Which means: “The general practice is that a contract and its conditions are valid as long as it does not contain any forbidden elements that invalidate it.”

5. In 2002, MUIS had issued a fatwa that encouraged Muslims to purchase Islamic insurance, or takaful.9However, it does not mean that Muslim are not allowed to purchase insurance from conventional company, especially in a specific situation which we are currently facing. This is in accordance with the methodology of Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh):10

إذا بطل الأصل يصار إلى البدل

Which means: “When the original is difficult to work with or no longer valid, proceed with the alternative.”

6. This matter was also discussed in the 181st Meeting of the Shariah Advisory Council of Bank Negara Malaysia and stated in the Decision of the Shariah Advisory Council of the Securities Commission Malaysia, indicating there is a flexibility to opt for conventional insurance if the takaful insurance company is unable to meet the coverage requirements or if coverage is not offered for a particular sector.11


7. Based on the above considerations, the Office of the Mufti is of the view that the purchase of conventional insurance for those travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic is a necessity, and it is thus permissible for those who manage the pilgrims’ affairs to obtain adequate insurance coverage for future pilgrimages, in order to ensure their welfare is taken care of in the face of possible infection whilst travelling overseas.

4 May 2022

[1] Aḥmad al-Raysūnī, Naẓariyyah al-Maqāṣid ‘inda al-Imām al-Shāṭibī, (Al-Dār al-‘Alamiyyah li al-Kitāb al-Islāmī), 19.

[2] Based on the hadith of Nabi s.a.w. that ordered those living in plague-stricken areas not to leave those areas, and the order for those who are well, not to enter plague-stricken areas. Please refer: Al-Naysabūrī, Muslim bin al-Ḥajjāj, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, hadith no. 2219.

[5] Muṣtafā al-Zarqā’, Niẓām al-Ta’mīn – Ḥaqīqatuh wa al-Ra’yu al-Shar‘ī Fīh, 13.

[7] Dār Iftā’ al-Miṣrīyyah, Mawsū’ah al-Fatāwā al-Mu’aṣṣalah, 3:335.

[8] Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmū al-Fatāwā, 29:132.

[9] Fatwa Muis Decision 16/5/2002.

[10] Majallah al-Aḥkām al-‘Adliyyah, 21.

[11] Mesyuarat Majlis Penasihat Shariah (MPS) Bank Negara Malaysia ke-181, 2-3; Keputusan Majlis Penasihat Shariah Suruhanjaya Sekuriti Malaysia, 72.