Ruling on spending the night preceding the ninth day in Mina

Q 3: Some Hajj tour companies take pilgrims by bus from Makkah to `Arafah directly and thus they do not spend the night in Mina on the Day of Tarwiyah (8th of Dhul-Hijjah). They then take them from `Arafah back to Mina directly and they do not spend the night in Muzdalifah, or at least stay therein for half of the night. Actually, such companies do so under the pretext of the heavy crowd. Are these pilgrims sinful? What should they do?

A: Spending the night in Mina on the eighth night of Dhul-Hijjah is Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet) and thus not doing it entails nothing. As for spending the night in Muzdalifah on the ninth night of Dhul-Hijjah, it is one of the Wajib (obligatory) acts of Hajj which if left out, where possible, requires a Fidyah (compensation) of slaughtering a sheep in Al-Haram (all areas within the Sacred Sanctuary of Makkah) and distributing the same among the poor inhabitants of the Haram. However, the patients and the disabled obliged not to spend the night there are not liable. In any case, travel companies undertaking Hajj tours should enable pilgrims to spend the night there and the pilgrims should insist on that.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.