“Pilgrimage to the House (of Allah) is a duty man owes to Allah upon those who can afford the journey.”
The ulama inform us that Hajj became obligatory when this verse was revealed. When we look at the verse we see a lot of emphasis and stress. Let us study it:
Firstly, we find a Laam on the word of Allah (Lillaahi) which lays emphasis on the fact that Hajj is obligatory. (see Allama Ainy)
‘Alan-naas’ is another term that denotes extreme emphasis.
The mention of the word ‘Manis Tataa’a’ which lays emphasis in two different ways. One is, a noun in opposition, and the other is, that the obligatory duty of Hajj on people, in the aggregate, is expressed here in detail.
‘Wa man kafara’ (who disbelieves) this is indeed a great threat. Allah uses two word ‘kufr’ for those who refuse (don’t care) to perform Hajj.
After that, Allah in apparent anger states that, should man refuse to obey this injunction, then He loses nothing at all.
Lastly, more anger is expressed when Allah states: that He is most definitely not in need of anything at all in this universe as well as beyond it.”
Much of the above will only be truly appreciated by those who understand the Arabic language. My aim in mentioning them here is merely to show how much emphasis Allah has laid upon Hajj being ‘FARDH” and the great danger in failing to perform it.
It is reported that Hazrat Umar R.A. used to say: “Whosoever has health and (sufficient) wealth to bring him to Hajj and still does not go for Hajj and dies without performing it, then on his forehead the word ‘KAAFIR’ shall be written on the day of Qiyaamat.” Then Hazrat Umar R.A. used to recite the verse mentioned above unto ‘Wa man kafar’. (Durre Mansoor)
It is reported that many great ulama, from among the Taabi-een used to say that when a person is so rich that Hajj becomes obligatory on him, and he still does not perform Hajj, then none of us will perform the Salaat ul Janaazah over him. They are Saee-bin-Jubair, Ibrahim-ul-Nakhee, Mujaahid and Hazrat Taoos R..A. all great men (Ithaaf)
The ulama and especially the four great Imaams did not consider a person Kaafir when he does not perform Hajj ( even though he has means). They only did that when he denied that fact that Hajj is a pillar of Islam and an obligatory duty. However, the threats and warnings from Allah and His Rasool (Salallaho Alaihi Wassallam) are such that it would bring one very near to Kufr.