Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 5, Hajj and ‘Umrah, Fiqh 5.086. –
There is disagreement among scholars concerning the legal status of Sa’i between Safa and Marwah. These scholars may be divided into three groups:
1. ‘Aishah, and from among the Companions Ibn ‘Umar, and Jabir hold that Sa’i of Safa and Marwah is an essential part of Hajj rites. Malik, AshShafi’i, and Ahmad (according to one narration from him) also hold a similar opinion. Thus if a pilgrim fails to perform Sa’i his Hajj will be void and his offering of a sacrifice will not be enough to make up for it. These scholars based their opinion on the following:
2. Ibn ‘Abbas, Anas, Ibn Al-Zubair, Ibn Sirin, and Ahmad – according to one narration from him – hold that Sa’i is sunnah, which if not performed, no penalty is incurred by the person neglecting it.
It is reported that the Mushaf of Ubaiy and Ibn Mas’ud read “…if those who visit the House in the season or at other times, should not compass them, it is no sin in them.” This is not the Qur’anic text, but it does convey an important piece of information and an interpretation of the Qur’anic text.
3. Abu Hanifah, Thawri and Hasan hold that Sa’i between Safa and Marwah is an essential rite (wajib), but it is not obligatory for Hajj and ‘Umrah. Therefore, if a pilgrim failed to perform it, he must pay a penalty (slaughter a sheep in sacrifice).
The author of Al-Mughni prefers this opinion, and says:
1. This is preferable, because the argument of those holding it to be wajib supports the absoluteness of the obligation rather than the principle that anything needed to fulfil an obligation (wajib) is also obligatory (wajib).
2. ‘Aishah’s statement in this respect is different from what other Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) have narrated.
3. The hadith of the daughter of Abi Tajrah has among its narrators one called Abdullah bin Al-Mu’mal, who is controversial. According to him it is obligatory, whereas it is only wajib.
4. The verse quoted above was revealed concerning those people who feared they would be committing a sin if they walked between Safa and Marwah as they used to do in the days of Jahiliyya while two idols were set on top of Safa and Marwah.