In Islam each and every virtue holds its own
importance and one cannot be sacrificed at the cost of the other. Obligations
are obligations and they can never be forsaken just for the sake of other
virtues. However, as far as optional deeds are concerned, they mostly depend
upon personal tastes. This is completely a separate realm where comes the matter
of personal preference and preference is always very personal.
I understand and share your concerns about the needy and
the poor. These concerns are indeed very commendable but how can you make others
think and feel the same, I do not know.
They would obviously think and act according to their
education and training. Our duty is just to convey our massage and feelings to
them; the rest is up to them.
What you should do is to continue to convey your concerns
to your father in a better way. I do not deny that in certain circumstances
‘giving in charity’ is much more important than performing Hajj. But whether
such circumstances prevail in the case you present is what I cannot decide. You
see this world has always seen adverse times. Suppose, your country is not
facing dire circumstances but does this mean that the world is all peace and
serene? Of course not. There will be some other region where people will be
dying out of hunger or scarcity of clothes. No, I am not implying that we should
not give in charity. All I am trying to communicate is that it is only the
individual who can decide whether it is time for him to give in charity or
perform some other religious obligation. We should play our part by
communicating what we think is more befitting. We should however leave the
matter to the individual alone to decide.
You tell us that your father pays Zakāh and gives in
charity. This means that he is already doing something. Therefore, you should
not worry that he will be held accountable for miserliness or whatever.
You say that if a person is eating enough and his neighbour
is starving, this person will not be a believer. I very humbly say that he will
certainly be a believer though he is ignoring a duty. For this reason, he may be
held accountable in the Hereafter. If there are certain needy and destitute
people in the immediate neighbourhood of your father, then he must give them
preference over Hajj; otherwise the decision is entirely his. All countrymen
cannot be taken as one’s neighbours. Our responsibility is limited to our
immediate neighbours and for others I do not think we would be asked under
general circumstances; however, if a person feels he should spend, he can not
only for people of his country but the whole world.
You ask me why we cannot spend all our money to feed the
poor and make them live a better life instead of going for Hajj. You surely can
spend if you want but I do not think this should be done at the cost of Hajj, if
Hajj is obligatory. If the situation is otherwise, then you will have to decide
keeping in view the dire need of the people concerned and your ultimate
responsibility towards them. Your immediate surroundings are your responsibility
and the others will depend upon your list of priorities.
I summarize that both acts, which you have mentioned, are
important. The choice depends upon the individual. Since he is well aware of the
circumstances, you should communicate to him your concerns and then let him
decide what he may. Be thankful for whatever your father does since both acts
will bring reward to you as well in the Hereafter.