SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) Question: It is recommended to perform hajj every year. However, there are many poor Muslims who are in dire need of food and clothing in various Muslim countries. If it comes to making a choice between spending the money for hajj repeatedly or ziyãrat (pilgrimage to the shrine of one of the Infallibles [a.s.]) and between giving in charity for those believers—which is more meritorious?
Answer: In principle, helping those needy Muslims is better than a recommended hajj or ziyãrat of the holy shrines. However, at times the hajj or the ziyãrat is associated with certain other issues that can elevate them to the same or even higher status of virtue.