Haj without a Visa!
Since Haj is among the most virtuous deeds in Islam, and not everyone can afford it (especially on a continuous basis) Allah has attached the reward of optional Haj to certain other deeds for the benefit of all.
Now that the Hujjaj have all departed, those who have been left behind can take consolation from the following:
1. Wudhu at home before proceeding for Salaah with Jamaat.
عن أبي أمامة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال
من خرج من بيته متطهرا إلى صلاة مكتوبة فأجره كأجر الحاج المحرم ومن خرج إلى تسبيح الضحى لا ينصبه إلا إياه فأجره كأجر المعتمر وصلاة على إثر صلاة لا لغو بينهما كتاب في عليين
رواه أبو داود 559
Sayyiduna Abu Umaamah (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “One who purifies himself (i.e, makes wudhu) and leaves his home to attend the fardh salaah in congregation receives the reward of a Haji in the state of Ihram, And if he leaves for the salaatu-Dhuhaa (Chaasht) he gets the reward of ‘Umrah…
(Sunan Abi Dawud, hadith:559)
2. Salatul Ishraaq.
عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
من صلى الغداة في جماعة ثم قعد يذكر الله حتى تطلع الشمس ثم صلى ركعتين كانت له كأجر حجة وعمرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : تامة تامة تامة
رواه الترمذي وقال حديث حسن غريب 586
Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Maalik (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever offers his Fajr salaah in congregation, and then remains seated making the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah until (approximately 15 mins after) sunrise after which he offers two rak’aats of salaah (Ishraaq), will receive the reward of one complete Haj and one complete ‘Umrah”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, hadith: 586 with a sound chain)
N.B. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) repeated the words: “complete” thrice.
3. Going to the Masjid to acquire Knowledge.
عن أبي أمامة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال
من غدا إلى المسجد لا يريد إلا أن يتعلم خيرا أو يعلمه، كان له كأجر حاج تاما حجته
رواه الطبراني في الكبير(7473) بأسناد لابأس به. كذا في الترغيب 1/104، وقال العراقي في تخريج الإحياء(4253): وإسناده جيد. وانظر المستدرك للحاكم 1/91
Sayyiduna Abu Umaamah (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever goes to the Masjid for the purpose of learning or teaching Knowledge, receives the reward of a Haji whose Haj was perfect.
(Tabarani, hadith: 7473 with a sound chain. See Targheeb vol.1 pg.104 & Takhreejul Ihyaa, hadith: 4253)
4. Umrah in Ramadhan.
عن ابن عباس أَنَّ النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال لاِمرأة من الأنصار يقال لَهَا أُمُّ سِنَان « ما منعكِ أَنْ تَكُونِى حَجَجْتِ معنا ». قالت ناضحان كانا لأَبى فلاَنٍ – زَوْجِهَا – حج هو وابْنُهُ على أحدهما وكان الآخر يسقى عليه غلامنا. قال فعمرة فى رمضان تقضى حجة. أو حجة معى
رواه مسلم (1256
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhuma) has reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) passed by Ummu sinan while on his way to haj. “Why didn’t you accompany me for Haj?” he enquired. She said: “We only have 2 camels, one my husband has used to be with you in Haj, and the other is needed for transporting water.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “ ‘Umrah in Ramadhan equals the reward of Haj with me”. (Sahih Muslim, hadith: 1256)
5. To recite “Subhaanallah” 100 times in the morning and evening.
عن عبد الله بن عمرو رضي الله عنهما قال قال رسول الله صلى الله علي وسلم
من سبح الله مائة بالغداة ومائة بالعشي كان كمن حج مائة مرة…الخ
رواه الترمذي (3471) وقال: حسن غريب
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (radiyallahu’anhuma) reported That Rasulullah said: “He who recites Subhaanallah 100 times in the morning and another 100 times in the evening is like one who performed Haj 100 times!”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, hadith: 3471 with a sound chain)
6. Serving one’s Parents
عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال أتى رجلٌ رسولَ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال إني أشتهي الجهاد ولا أقدر عليه قال هل بقي مِن والديك أحدٌ قال أمي قال فاَبْلِ الله في برها فإذا فعلت ذلك فأنت حاج ومعتمر ومجاهد
رواه أبو يعلى(2760) والطبراني في الصغير والأوسط، وإسنادهما جيد. كذا في الترغيب. 3/315، ومختصرالإتحاف للبوصيري (5721)
Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that a man came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and said: “I wish to participate in Jihaad, but I cannot afford it” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) enquird if any of his parents were alive, to which he said: “Yes! My mother is alive” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Show Allah how your serve her. If you do so (duly) you will be like a: Haaji, a Mu’tamir (one doing ‘Umrah) and a Mujaahid (One striving in Allah’s way).”
(Abu Ya’la, hadith:2760, and Tabarani with good chains.-Targheeb, vol.3, pg. 315 & Mukhtasar Ithaaf, hadith: 5721)
Hafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hambali (rahimahullah) has quoted other deeds that yield the reward of Haj from various Predecessors (i.e, not necessarily from the hadith). All of the following have been extracted from his priceless work: Lataaiful Ma’aarif, pgs.357-359)
7. Attending the Jumu’ah Salaah.
Sa’eed ibnul Musayyab (rahimahullah) said: “Attending the Jumu’ah is better according to me than a nafl (voluntary) Haj.”
Hafidh Ibn ‘Asaakir (rahimahullah) has quoted a similar virtue via Imam Al-Awza’ie (rahimahullah) 
8. Attending the Eid Salaah.
Some of the Sahabah y have said: “Attending the Eidul Fitr Salaah equals the reward of ‘Umrah, and the Eidul Adha Salaah equals that of Haj.”
9. Esha Salaah in Congregation.
A reliable Tabi’e, Uqbah ibn ‘Abdil Ghaafir (rahimahullah) said: “Offering the Esha salaah  in congregation equals the reward of Haj, and the Fajr in congregation equals ‘Umrah”
10. Fulfilling the need of a fellow Muslim.
Imam Hasan Al-Basri (rahimahullah) said: “Your proceeding to fulfil the need a fellow muslim is better for you than one Haj after another!” (Also quoted By Zabeedi (rahimahullah) in Sharhul Ihyaa, vol.6 pg.292)
The fulfilment of all obligations.
After citing the above, Hafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) writes:
“The fulfilling of all obligatory deeds is considered better than Nafl (voluntary) Haj and ‘Umrah. This is due to (the Hadith in Sahih Bukhari which states that) the best way of attaining nearness to Allah is via the obligatory acts. However many people find it easy to carry out nafl Haj and ‘Umrah, but feel it difficult to fulfil the other responsibilities (Wajib acts) like repayment of debts and other such duties.
Abstinence from the haraam (forbidden) acts are also more virtuous than Nafl Haj etc.
Some of the Pious predecessors said: “To abstain from an iota of wrong is better than five hundred (Nafl) Haj”
Fudhail ibn ‘Iyadh (rahimahullah.) –the great sage of his age- said: “There is no Haj or Jihad that is more important than protecting one’s tongue” i.e, against sin.
Any act of Good during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.
Hafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) has rightly pointed out:
“If the hadith has promised that any act of good done in these 10 days supersedes even the reward of Jihad, which is considered better than optional Haj too, that means all good done in these days will also supersede the reward of optional Haj.” (Pg.390)
1. The promises of “gaining the same reward as Haj” that are mentioned above, are restricted to the reward only. It does not mean that one upon whom Haj is obligatory can merely suffice on these deeds. (Sharh-Nawawi ‘ala muslim, hadith:1256 & Fathul Mulhim, vol.6, pg.123)
2. Imam Tirmidhi (r.a.) has quoted Imaam Is-haq Ibn Rahuyah as saying that this reward should be understood in the light of the hadith that explains surah ikhlaas to be equal to one third of the Quraan. (Sunan Tirmidhi, after hadith:939) i.e, one who recites it will receive the reward of reciting one third, but that does not mean he physically did so. The reward for physically doing an act will increase in accordance to the sincerity, and sacrifice that accompanies it.
Furthermore, by memorizing/reciting surah ikhlas thrice, one does not become a hafidh of the entire Quran..!
3. The purpose here is not to discourage one from the actual Haj. (That is why it is being circulated now, when all Hajis have departed) Like they say: “There’s nothing like the real thing..”
Mufti Mahmudul Hasan Gangohi (rahimahullah) has highlighted this in his Malfuzat.
Allah Ta‘ala knows best, and may He grant us all the tawfeeq (ability) to practice on the above, as well as afford us the opportunity to perform the real Haj repeatedly. Ameen.
Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Ml Haroon Abasoomer