Ash-Shafi’i, Ath-Thawri, Al-Awza’i and Mohammad bin al-Hasan are of the opinion that Hajj may be performed at any time during one’s life, and there is nothing wrong if someone, for whom it is obligatory, delays it until a later date in his (or her) life, for, although Hajj was prescribed in the 6th year of Hijrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) delayed it until the 10th year of Hijrah when he performed it along with his wives and many of his companions. Had performing it earlier been essential the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have never delayed it.
Ash-Shafi’i says: “We, therefore, are convinced that Hajj is obligatory upon a Muslim, male or female, from the age of puberty until before his death.”
Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ahmad, some of Ash-Shafi’i’s followers and Abu Yusuf are of the opinion that Hajj must be performed as soon as one is (physically and financially) in a position to do so. This opinion is based on a hadith that is related by Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who intends to perform Hajj let him do so expeditiously, for he may well fall sick, may lose his mount (ability to bear expenses of the journey) or he may be prevented by some other exigency.” (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Baihaqi, At-Tahawi and Ibn Majah) In another report by Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi, we read that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Hasten to perform Hajj – the basic obligation – for you don’t know what might happen to you,” meaning “one may fall sick or be prevented by some other exigency.” The earlier scholars interpreted these ahadith saying it was commendable for a person to perform Hajj as soon as possible provided he had the ability to do so.