IBN Kathir related the following in his famous history book, Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah: The scholar – who was also a businessman – Abdullah Bin Mubarak, set out to perform Hajj. As he was passing by a certain region, he noticed a bird that had fallen from the sky and died, so he ordered that it be thrown in a heap of garbage. Later on, when he passed by that heap of garbage, he saw a young girl coming out of her home, going to the pile of garbage, taking the dead bird, and hurrying back to her home.

He went to her and asked her about what she did, and she said, “My brother and I live here, and we own nothing except for our clothing. We have no sustenance except for what is thrown in that heap of garbage; for the past few days, even the dead carcass has become permissible for us.

Our father used to have a lot of wealth, but he was wronged, his wealth was taken away from him, and he was killed.” Ibn Mubarak ordered for the supplies of the trip to be taken back to his home, and he said to his agent, “How much do we have in terms of spending money?” He said, “1000 dinars.” ‘Abdullah said, “Take 20 dinars from that, which should be enough for our return journey, and give the rest to her, for that is better than our (voluntary) Hajj this year.” He then returned home.

And that is why the scholar Muhammad Ghazali was of the view that to spend money on the needs of the Muslims is better than a voluntary Hajj. He said, “To fulfill a need of Muslims is a communal obligatory deed, and the obligatory deed is given precedence over the voluntary deed.”