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    Hajj process

    HAJJ AND ITS PROCESS FOR AGENTS

    Hajj and Umra is the portfolio for the Ministry of Haj. The Minister of Haj, however, does not have similar status as the Minister of Interior (Prince Naif and third deputy to King Abdullah) or the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    The above three ministries come together and, in conjunction with the Governor of Makkah and ministry of health, oversee the affairs pertinent to Umra and Haj.

    The Ministry of Interior:
    Has the remit for immigration, police including the Mutawa (civil/morality police), civil defence (fire department).

    The Foreign Affairs:
    Has the remit for all consular service overseas handling the pilgrims visas.

    Ministry of Health:
    Responsible for all health issues including serious illness, epidemic and hospitalisation. Manages field hospitals during haj for pilgrims.

    Governor of Makkah:
    Responsible, for Civic responsibilities such as health and safety, licensing of buildings, local logistics,
    And Policing.

    Haj Ministry:
    Primarily responsible for all religious affairs linked to pilgrimage and maintenance of Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat sites and licensing of all transportation for pilgrims, licensing of internal and external agents for umra and haj visits.

    The Process:

    There are different processes for organising Haj licenses whereas the licensing for umra is uniform for pilgrims from all countries in the world including those from Saudi Arabia itself.

    The local Saudis and the expatriates domiciled there are allowed to perform one haj only every five years. They are not barred from performing umra whenever they like.

    The citizens of the GCC countries have far more relaxed rules on entering Saudi Arabia especially for umra but the rule on haj apply to them generally.

    For all Islamic Countries, there is a QUOTA determining how many Hujjajs can perform haj every year. The quota is on a formula based on the total muslim population. Indonesia and Turkey has the highest quota followed by Egypt and Pakistan.

    Each Islamic country has their own rules on granting haj visas. Generally a QURRA system is employed. Each country has appointed agents who handle the process as well as a government appointed quango who also handle the process. For example, in India, the bulk of the haj is handled by the Haj Committee of India.

    For countries that have insignificant muslim population the rules are applied differently and agents are not involved. A pilgrim approaches the local Saudi Embassy for the visa or contacts the nearest Saudi Embassy in another country for their visa. The West Indies is one example where pilgrims apply for their visa from Guyana or even Canada.

    For the western world such as UK , Europe, North America, Australia etc they have different rule for Haj.

    THE ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD SERVICES FOR EUROPA AUSTRALIA AND TURKIYYA.
    Also known as Moassasa for Europa, America, Australia and Turkey.

    This is the Quango that manage hujjajs from UK and other countries stated above. There is also another quango called “United Agents”.

    United Agents:
    This is the organisation that directly manages all the pilgrims affairs which include the dedicated airport terminals, the organising of the camps in Mina and Arafah, the water supply in Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafah, the contracting of vehicles for all logistics and the finance involved including payments to the Mutawwif for their services.

    WHAT IS INVOLVED:

    There is a quota for all of us. Not all countries in Europe or Canada fill their quota so there is some flexibility in the numbers permitted to perform haj from those countries.

    UK:

    The quota for UK is 21950 every year. In addition, some high profile industrialist and the Royal family have permission to “INVITE” hujjajs from wherever they wish to perform haj as their personal guests.

    That is an open ended permission which bypass the quota system. Generally, this permission is intended as a tool to strengthen the bond between Islam and new reverts or those reverts who are unable to raise sufficient fund to perform their haj.

    Needless to say that such flexibility is open to abuse and becomes a mean to generate money for those thus advantaged.

    Every year, on the year, the rules governing the flow of pilgrims is tightened and restriction put in place both for Umra and Haj trips.

    HAJ LICENSE:

    I will relate to UK only.

    All current licensed holders for Haj has had their license granted several years ago. No new license has been granted since then.

    The Ministry of Haj closely monitor the agents directly themselves and in-directly through the Moassasa’s offices.

    The Europa is further divided into individual countries and license is granted to qualifying Saudis to organise and administer it known as “MUTAWWIF”.

    THE MUTAWWIF: Used to be the good old Muallim but totally commercialised. I remember my hajj in 1961. We were received at the airport by the muallim who had personally visited us in our country (Myanmar) to solicit booking with him. He arranged our transfer from Jedda to Makka and kept us in his house for couple of days as his guest whilst letting us seek accommodation.



    The agent, from UK, must have the following to be registered for this year’s haj:

    Registration with Companies House.
    If his quota is less than 300 he must be ATOL registered.
    If his quota is above 300 he must have an IATA license.
    He must produce a CV showing how and why he is qualified to be a haj agent.
    He must produce a certificate from Inland Revenue showing he has paid his corporation tax.
    He must produce a letter from his licensed accountant certifying him as a tax payer and a registered company.
    He must produce a letter from his Bank showing he has a bank account.
    He must produce a bank statement proving his previous history of financial transactions.
    He must produce a letter authorising him as the main person responsible to organise a tour this year.

    He visits the Moassasa office opened from Mid Shaban till 15 Ramadan to complete his formalities. He presents all the above documents in original form and legalised translation of all of the papers.

    The legalisation process must involve:
    a) Verification by a solicitor/barrister registered with the law society.
    b) Legalisation by the UK Foreign Office.
    c) Verification by the British Chamber of Commerce
    d) Verification by the Arab Chamber of Commerce.
    e) Verification by the Saudi Consulate.

    The Moassasa, once satisfied by the documents issues a “Card Munazzam” to the agent.

    The agent than embarks on a round of bureaucracy in Saudi Arabia.

    He opens a temporary bank account and pays the cost for administration.
    He deposits a sum of money reflecting the number of pilgrims he is permitted to bring. SR50 each which is refundable AFTER pilgrims had returned back home and once the Moassasa is satisfied that the agent did not accrue any objections.
    He deposits a sum of money with the “Sundook” at the Moassasa office. SR22 per hujjaj he is allowed to bring and which is refundable AFTER pilgrims has returned back home. This ensures that any contingency assistance provided by the Moassasa is funded from this deposit.
    He pays an insurance fee per hujjaj in case any damage is done at the Mina or Arafat site by his pilgrim. This is non-refundable even if no damage is done.
    He pays a deposit to “Naqabah” office in Jeddah. Naqabah is the agent responsible for all transportation/logistics on behalf of United Agents. This deposit covers the transportation of pilgrims organised by the Mutawwif.


    He obtains receipts from everyone involved.

    The agent may start looking for appropriate accommodations in Makkah, Madinah and elsewhere
    ( eg.Aziziya) if he had not already done so earlier on in the year.

    Each building or hotel he engages must have the clearance certificate approved by fire department, the municipalities which licenses buildings or Ministry of Tourism which licenses the hotels.

    Each such units have their own booking arrangement. A building owner may require certain deposit in instalments as would a hotel upto 2 star. The booking would often be for the full duration of haj.
    Such units also allow the agent to prepare meals on site and feed his group. However, this is totally forbidden in Madina.

    A hotel from 2 star upward may negotiate the booking for specified periods or full duration of haj allowing the agent to subsequently “rent” it out to others to cover his cost. They may or may not allow on site preparation of meals

    A UK agent normally books the hotel within 15 Zul Qadda to 25 Zul Haj according to the package duration and itinerary in his plan.

    A 4 star hotel and upwards would specify the booking even more narrowly. The booking may be in blocks of days consisting 4 days, six days, 8 days and charge accordingly. The agents will not be allowed to prepare or feed his pilgrims except to “buy” that in from the hotel’s own restaurant. Hence, a UK agent may not offer any meal at all due to the cost involved or may offer only bed and breakfast or breakfast and one other meal known as half board. He has no choice in selecting the menu and pilgrims will consume whatever is on offer. Having said that all 5 star hotels have a wide variety of food to cater for all “universal” taste buds. This is where the popular “DAAL” is missed so much because it is never available and you have to head for the local Islamabad or Faisalabad restaurant if you are literally dying for it.

    Hence, groups like Al Hidaya and Travel Express etc has certain number of days in Makkah and shift you away thereafter.

    The agent returns back to Moassasa office when it re-opens after Ramadan armed with all finalised paperwork and accompanied by the owners or representatives of the accommodation he has booked.

    He makes a binding agreement for the dates of your itinerary and accommodation.

    The Moassasa then takes a 10% of the total hotel/building charge (refundable) from the owners of the accommodation of the total that he has taken from the UK agent. This is to cover any complaint or lack of promised service such as broken loos, no hot water, malfunctioning lifts etc . This, to me is tokenistic, as no action is ever taken against such building/hotel when such failure occurs.

    The agent is then directed to select a “Maktab” or “Mutawwif”. The Mutawwif will offer two types of Campsite to the agent.

    Camp A: A fee is to be paid depending on the level of service from this Mutawwif.
    a) VIP: You get a sofa bed or thick mattresses, pillow and a blanket to sleep on. This guarantees a space for every pilgrim.
    It also includes simple breakfast and two meals. The meals will be basic and you will have to queue for that. If you be late or last you may well go hungry as the meal is in short supply.
    It guarantees early transfer from Mina to Arafat only.
    Your camps are located furthest from the common toilet cushioning you against the noise and smell.
    b) Non-VIP: You get a simple mattress or sleeping bag and one meal in Arafat.

    Camp B: These are newly created site from the removal of mountains and are practically in
    Muzdalifa instead of Mina.
    Your group has NO Guarantee to be in one camp and may well be split. There is also
    extreme tight situation and some may not get any space inside the tent at all and may well
    have to sleep in the corridors or kitchens.
    Some other group, having arrived before you, would be squatting in your allocation and
    there is little, other than a fisticuff (remember you are in Ihram) in persuading them to
    leave. Yes, contrary to what you may expect, no authority would intervene, if you can find
    one that is, to get you a space in such camps. This would mean the likelihood of your group
    leader getting your wrath un-deservedly as, in the end, the service you get is what you paid
    or the result of an economy package.
    You will be the last to be moved to Arafah and the last to be moved to Muzdalifa.
    You will also not get a transport back to Makkah/Aziziya when haj is over on 12/13 Z Hajja.

    Once the Moassasa is satisfied he sends the papers to the Ministry of Haj in Rusaifa or Shisa. The MoH then prints the haj barcodes identifying the agent and his Moassasa.

    The agent receives his bar-codes a few days thereafter and returns back to UK. He then makes an appointment with the Consul at the Saudi Embassy where he takes all his papers, with photo copies, and receive any “wisdom” that the consul may feel obliged to impart to him.

    The agent is either allocated a new set of UserID and Password or allowed to use his previous one which is activated 24/48 hours after his “privileged encounter” with the consul.

    The agent may already have your passports with him or ask you to give them to him along with a completed haj visa application form and four photographs.

    The consulate no longer requires (they dropped that 3 years ago) that your confirmed airline tickets or your medical certificates be produced. So, PLEASE don’t send your medical certs to your agent even if he demands that from you. You will need to have them with you at the time of checking in for your flight for haj.

    The Visa Process:

    The agent prepares a list of his pilgrims with relevant data.

    He also selects two blank facing pages in your passport and adheres the haj bar-code on one corner and puts the visa form in there. The visa form only needs ONE photo.

    The agent uses one of your photo for recording it for the embassy by scanning, reducing its size to under 4kb and saving it in a folder he creates on his system

    The agent than accesses the www.visa.mofa.gov.sa using the allocated password and completes the data upload from your passport.

    He then attaches the scanned picture to this data page and sends it. The system than generates an “E Number” which is noted on the visa form and a page is printed off.

    The printout is attached to the visa form and submitted to the embassy. The embassy issues the haj visa after duly ascertaining that all requirements are met.

    The agent than sends out the passport back to you or keeps it for the seminar day, if he holds one, or gives it to you at the airport when you are flying out.

    ARRIVAL.

    Your agent cannot take you to Madina or Makkah outside of his undertaken dates. If you are flying solo, outside of the group, you cannot arrive BEFORE the expected date nor stay at an address not agreed by the Moassasa. If you do, your agent will be severely penalised.

    The arrival process at Madina airport is swift and before you can literally complete your missed salah the formality is over and you are outside the terminal !!!

    Not so in Jedda, I am afraid. The arrival process within the immigration, united agents, custom and haj draft can take a minimum of two hours if not more.

    It is best that you travel in group and stay in group at this point. Haj terminal is massive and you can easily be confused and get separated from your group.

    You will be escorted to a meeting place where your luggage would be waiting. Your group leader will collect your passports and leave you to sort out your coach for travel to Makkah or Madinah. Depending on the number in your group you may or may not get a bus early.

    Your passport will be taken by the united agent’s officials whilst you board the bus. There will be a wait for the UA officials to complete your bus paperwork. Your luggage will be handled by porters at the airport. If travelling solo you need to ensure where on the roof your bags are placed.

    Once ready, the UA Officials would do a body count and let the bus go. It will then take an hour and half to make to the pilgrim reception centre outside Makkah. Here your passports will be scrutinised again and can take upto an hour to complete before you continue with your journey. An escort will be assigned and he will guide your driver to your “Mutawwif’s” office in Makkah.

    Here, at the mutawwif’s office, your passport will be handed and kept. The mutawwif will issue you temporary ID cards in exchange for the passports and an arm band that you MUST wear at all times. Be careful not to lose it as it will be your pass into the Mina camps.

    You will be taken to your designated accommodation and your agent will than advise you on your rooms, location, hotel card and when or how to begin your umra.

    If you travel to Madina first, by bus, that will take upto 14 hours to complete with same process as for Makkah except that you will go direct to your accommodation from the pilgrim reception centre as there is no “Maktab” in Madina. There is just one common Europa office there for land arrives and one for by air arrives.





    TRANSFER TO MINA-ARAFAT-MUZDALIFA-MINA-MAKKA

    On the 7th zul haj your agent will ask you to be ready for Mina by Asar time. Bear in mind that this is just tentative timing.

    The MoH does not allocate sufficient number of buses to the agents for the sake of traffic congestion and pollution. But that still remain the case.

    For a group of 150 pilgrims just one bus is given. That too, your agent has to go to the depot in Arafat to collect. Again, depending on the type of service he has agreed with the mutawwif, the bus will be given at appropriate time reflecting the service.

    Hence, no service mean you are the last. The bus will have to make the number of shuttles beween where you are located to your mina camps. If you are fortunate to be on the first bus you are first amongst your group into your tents. The last one can arrive as late as Asar time on 8th Zul Haj.

    If you have VIP service you will also get the first buses into Arafah. You will travel together as a group. If you are in no service you will get the buses after everyone else has gone. You can arrive in Arafah after Zohur so be prepared and not blame your agent.

    Likewise, after sunset, you will be transferred accordingly to Muzdalifa. Expect to get there past midnight.

    In the morning, there is everyone for him/herself as no orderly arrangement is possible for transfer from Muzdalifa to Mina. If you are fit, you are better off legging it. But leave Muzdalifa by 0830 you will as the crows start flying in thereafter there being no one to disturb their foraging of the goodies or mess left by fellow hujjajs !!!

    The stay in Mina, thereafter, and the trip to Makkah for Tawaf/Sai Ziarah will be entirely upto your agent and the type of package you got from him.

    On 12 Zul hajj buses will start rolling in around 2 pm imploring you to board them for transfer to Makkah again. Here too, you will be guided by your group leaders on the schedule. Again, on 13 Zul hajj buses will roll again by noon and come Asar time Mina is deserted like it never saw anyone before except the huge mess left behind by us “TAHARA” seeking Muslims.

    If you are to travel to Madina after haj, your agent will organise the transfer for 14 zul haj at the earliest. You cannot go to Madina before this date.

    If you are returning back home after haj, you can do so on 13 zul haj and thereafter as per arrangement made by your agent.

    #2
    Re: Hajj process

    Mashallah another stirling job Br. Ismail.

    Can you also add in how the system for the tents in mina closer to the jamarat works and how a operator gets them?

    My second questions is with regards to the 21950 allocation for the UK, how is this split between groups? Who decides how many people each group can take? What happens if in 2009 a group took 100 people but in 2010 they want to take 200 people?

    Finally, what's the deal with having to leave Madinah by the 5th Dhul Hijah. What's the reason for this?

    :jkk:
    Last edited by islam_4eva; 25-08-10, 02:32 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Hajj process

      Jazakallah Khair Brother. I am sorry it is so long winded but that is as succinct as I could get to squeeze in all the relevant info and still end up missing the bits you are asking.

      The tents near the Jamaraat Bridge are of two types: The absolutely exclusive and the private. The totally exclusive is under the management of Europa. In there are allocated spaces for Al Hidaya, Afta, Nabil, Sharif Enterprise and Educational Haj. This is a highly privilaged site although the facility there is no different from any other camps. The agents negotiate their site renewal annualy and there is no guarantee that they will get renewed. One reason why Al Hidaya were so reluctant to guarantee the camps. Those who have the site are regarded as "permanent" and because the space remain the same size no new allocation can be made to new applicants. It is a highly expensive site and can cost upto SR3000 just for the space alone with other facilities costing more such as bringing your own food, installing food tents and installing private WCs.

      The other private camps are those that are either facing the Jamaraat approach or a few tents inside thereafter. Here, Europa has two campsites #71 and #72. This is allocated to agents who is able to pay high premiums. There are no special facilities in there. You get the space depending on how polished you are and how willing you are to afford whatever is thrown at you officially or under the table. Simple as that. The beauty of these sites are being close to Jamaraat and nothing more.
      In my days of operation I engaged the exclusive site because of the annual fatalities on the bridge. I would be close enough to know when it was safe to allow my pilgrims to do the Rami and back. With the hazard of stampede now removed in total there is no particular reason why we should be in these camps instead of being at Europa, other than to save the mile and quarter trek each way for two days !!!!!!!!!

      The allocation of quota originates back to those days when there was no bar code system or quota per say. The MoH concluded that the agents group size determined his quota. So whoever took 450 or more got 450. Whoever took 50 got 50 and so on. And the year before this system was implemented, those agents who had organised the haj were granted the allocation and those who used to take groups but did not do so that year lost out completely.

      Over the years, since its introduction, group size narrowed with extreme rare case of increment. The reduction in group size was the result of penalty for failing to utilise the full group quota. If an agent is in position to know what his capacity is for this year ( for example if his allocation is 300) and can fill up to 200, he has to go to the Moassasa and to MoH and give the reason for that. If his presentation is acceptable he would be allowed, for that year only, to "freeze" his quota by 100 but will be warned that the reduced size will crystallise for the following year's quota. Hence, the answer to your question that someone takes 100 in 2009 and want to take 200, can do so only if he has 200 in quota in the first place and allowed to freeze.
      This is why the barcodes are premium. Agents who are licensed often "offload" if they are unable to conduct a tour to their full capacity and these are bought by those agent who had lost their license (like me) or those who aspire to organise haj but dont have the quota.
      Lastly, the "leave Madina by 5 Z Hajj" has always been the law except no one paid any attention to it and forcing the MoH to crack down with the threat to blacklist. It is designed to avoid a stampede into Makkah on the second last and the last day before Mina especially as the whole of GCC and Saudi Arabians also head for Makkah creating headache for those managing the highways.
      Last edited by Ismail Simjee; 25-08-10, 03:33 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Hajj process

        jazakhallahu khair brother ismail for that detailed account.

        I have a few questions re. the process of going to mina to start the hajj. if your accomodation is based in aziziyah am i right in assuming you will be able to get to mina quicker? If that is the case how long does it take from aziziyah to mina by coach when the hajj is about to start?

        Also you mentioned if you're fit enough to go by foot from muzdalifah back to mina. Is it easy to find your tent once again or can one easily get lost considering the large crowds? I would like to walk as much as possible because i have been told about the hours it can take on the coaches to move a few miles. But also i don't want to be separated from the rest of the group.

        I have a couple more questions but i don't want to bombard you with them now.

        Abu Maryam

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Hajj process

          I strongly advise everyone, if not instructed by your group leaders, to take note of the location of your camps. It is not sufficient to rely on your "Maktab" or Mutawwif number which may be 41, 42 etc. You make special note of the number on the big post. This posts are colour coded to identify particular country/continent etc. The number is in English and Arabic and may be, for example 37/102 or similar.
          This is extremely important for everyone as it is the only mean to locate your mutawwif's campsite.

          See the link below.


          Type in Mina, saudi arabia and click satellite.

          If you are able to access the link above and expand the image you will see Mina in white background. Scrollto your left and up until you see the beginning of Haj Street. A little further top right is Jabal Noor. If you scroll to your right and towards the bottom you will see Aziziya street ending into Muzdalifa.

          This illustrates the length of Aziziya,

          You will aslo note the Haram towards bottom left. If you move on an angle from the haram towards Aziziya, as if the forward stroke /, you will meet with Jamaraat bridge.

          Towards right and north of Jamaraat are the Europa campsites which ends into Muzdalifa.

          This indicate the beginning of Mina with Jamaraat bridge and ending into Muzdalifa towards your right.

          So Mina starts midway of Aziziya and runs parallel whilst Aziziya runs parallel to Makkah.

          You can now see the difficulty I have to answer your question. But I will try.

          Your chance of getting to Jamaraat and into Europa is far better if you are staying at the bottom part of Jamaraat that merge into Aziziya. This area is called Sisa and you can make it to your camps in about half hour of normal pace of your walk if there is not a big or slow moving crowd. If there is slow moving crowd than your time may double.
          You can also reach Haram in around half hour from this spot.

          If, however, you are at the south (jabal noor end) than you will be walking a lot and may well take you around two hours to make to your camp and around an hour at least to make it to haram. If your stay is in north (Muzdalifa end), you can make it to your camp, using King Abdul Aziz Road and tunnels, in half an hour but would take a lot to walk to the haram.

          Walking to your camps from Muzdalifa can be done in two ways. The first one is to stay with your group in Muzdalifa and spend the night there. Just before Fajar begins, walk to the edge of Muzdalifa and Mina border. You cannot go wrong as that is just in one direction, towards the south and you can clearly see the buildings in Mina from Muzdalifa. You wait here until sun-rise before you move as the Mansik of Haj requires your stay in Muzdalifa until sun-rise. You start walking towards Mina and not take any turning into the right until you have passed by the big field service hospital to your right. You are about to enter the Europa site which begins the camps for Turkiyya. You continue forward and take the right turn at a junction one continuing towards jamaraat and the other to the camps.

          You may come across large mapsite/boards. You can compare your noted camp number with the map and continue from there. The trek may be about a mile and a half from the starting point of Muzdalifa to your camps or more.

          The second method is not to enter your group's site in Muzdalifa when alighting from the bus that brought you from Arafat. You simply continue walking towards the edge of Muzdalifa and find a spot to spend the night there. After sun-rise you follow what is stated above.

          InshaAllah, you will be OK as thousands will be legging it like you and hundreds of them would be heading to Europa.

          Now, what are your other questions?

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Hajj process

            I know this doesn't really concern pilgrims but it's just for information for myself really.....What's the journey of a UK passport once a pilgrim gets to Saudi ie. where are they stored etc?

            When I went for Hajj they were taken off us at the Hajj terminal and we didn't see them again until we were ready to fly back to the UK but I'm pretty sure they were in bags with the coach drivers on certain journeys we made.

            Do the Saudi authorities lose many passports during Hajj?!!
            Last edited by islam_4eva; 26-08-10, 10:39 AM.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Hajj process

              Originally posted by islam_4eva View Post
              I know this doesn't really concern pilgrims but it's just for information for myself really.....What's the journey of a UK passport once a pilgrim gets to Saudi ie. where are they stored etc?

              When I went for Hajj they were taken off us at the Hajj terminal and we didn't see them again until we were ready to fly back to the UK but I'm pretty sure they were in bags with the coach drivers on certain journeys we made.

              Do the Saudi authorities lose many passports during Hajj?!!
              Very good observation Brother. I always manage to miss something and pleased to see the missed point/s picked up by you and others.

              To start with lost passports.

              The journey to lost passport starts with the Saudi Consulate here in UK. On average they lose around 1% of the total lodged for umra visas alone.

              On my last haj tour that I organised they lost one passport from a total of 230 submitted so do your own arithmatic !!!

              On different haj tours, I organised, they lost one passport which was eventually found being used as a pack to support a wonky table of one of the office staff !!!!!!!

              On another occasion, the passport was there all the time but could not be located "electronically" (they could not be bothered to do a manual search) because they had translated the name in Arabic and used the surname as first name and vise versa. So, in the end with the intervention of the office supervisor and a SR50 note under the table to the staff, it was manually searched and found.

              On another occasion, the passport was made ready for the whole group and bagged beforehand. On the day of transfer to Madina, from Makka, during the final body count of the passengers in the bus, the staff separated the passport because it was Indian origin and the whole group were British !!! He forgot to lodge it back into the bag and we ended up in Madina 50 in the bus and 49 passports in the reception centre's office. Here is the crunch....the Indian pilgrim was classed as a "stowaway" and an illegal immigrant and they tried to take him into custody. I wont state what it did to his wife and children. The whole of my stay in Madina was devoted to running between the ministry, the Mutawwif office, phone calls to Makkah's mutawwif office and the Indian Embassy. Because the fool did not lodge it back on the system, they could not find the passport in Makkah office either.
              Long story that. And we, group leaders, get the blame and the accusation of being sloppy rogue con merchants!!! Could happen to Al Hidaya too this one.

              Yes, to answer your question...

              It is the Foreign Office's requirement that all travel documents are taken into custody by the Mutawwif unless a group is around 5000 pilgrims (Turkey/Egypt/Indonesia) and in which case the group retain the passports.

              So, the passports are in a bag travelling with you from Jeddah to makkah and retained by the particular mutawwif there. They travel with you on the bus in a bag to Madina and retained by the reception centre in Madina for around 48 hours and transferred to the Mutawwif for land routes. They again travel with you in a bag to Jedda airport and handed to the MoH officials who, after signing off the driver, hand the passport back to you.

              This question raises an important point for pilgrims travelling solo.

              You will have to organise your own transfer to Makkah/Madinah from jedda. Being solo, you may well travel with a mixture of other nationalities (in which case there is nightmare) and the reception centre can easily mis-direct your passport to other Mutawwif of the bulk of that group (eg, Nigeria) and you will be found in Makkah without a "patron angel" or Mutawwif. You are in deep trouble then because you will not have a clue nor your group leader as to whose group your passport is kept and which mutawwif's office. Your group leader probably would go to the Haram, stand in front of the Kaba and make an Oath never ever to allow solo pilgrims in his group again.
              If, howver, you board the bus with one large group then your worry will be your luggage as that can easily be taken off by them!!! but your passport will still go to your dedicated mutawwif.

              Group leaders, spend their time in mutawwif offices organising the passports again producing lists for further travel to Madinah or Jeddah etc and getting the passports logged out and bagged in advance of the travel.

              So if you are flying and the rest of the groups are "driven overland" there is nightmare again to sort the passport out.
              If you fly to Madinah, your passport goes to Mutawwif for airline travel whereas the rest of the group's passports are with the mutawwif for overland travel. Another nightmare for your group leader.

              That is why shrewed or once bitten group leaders NEVER encourage solo travels. You now know why.
              Last edited by Ismail Simjee; 26-08-10, 11:13 AM.

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Hajj process

                :jkk:

                Please explain the Hajj draft and how it works for groups who user government coaches and those who use private coaches?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Hajj process

                  Awww another missed point !!!!!!! This is painful, knowing you Br Islam4Eva that is. :-(

                  Everyone has to provide a haj draft to meet the cost of the campsites, transport, human resources, airport terminal support, payment to mutawwifs and water supply. This is in the remit of the "United Agents".

                  This draft or drafts if there are two portions (means the same) is converted in barcoded stickers after you complete your arrival formality and emerge from the customs into the terminal.

                  Each sticker (there are up to 6) is taken off by the officials (starting with United agents in Jedda airport or Madinah) as you progress with your logistics. However, if you use private means or fly between Jedda/Madina, then the stickers are not taken out unless otherwise by mistake.

                  The amount of such payment vary according to your schedule. The highest payment is if you require to travel exclusively on GMCs instead of the buses between Jedda and Makkah or Jeddah and Madinah or Madinah and Makkah. This exclusive means is not supported by any group from UK.

                  The second highest payment is if you travel to Makkah first and than travel to Madinah BEFORE haj and back to Makkah all by land.

                  The third highest sum is if you travel to either Makkah or Madinah first and perform your haj and return back to UK.

                  The least amount is if you simply go to Makkah and perform haj and return back home without a visit to Madina.

                  Should your group organise private transport or you use the airline to travel between the cities ( does not include the Makkah-Mina-Arafat and back) than these stickers remain intact. Each sticker has its face value reflecting the type of use it is designed for.

                  On your return back to UK you approach the Ministry of Haj's officials and ask for Naqaba desk. There you produce your passport and they will complete a form and ask you to sign. Then they will take the sticker/s out and issue you a voucher reflecting the value of the stickers taken out. You go to the bank located somewhere at the terminal and exchange the voucher for some "dosh" and you are :-)

                  However, please remember a very important point. This haj draft is part of your package cost and actually belong to your group leader. hence, any refund is his and not yours. He is the one who paid for your private transportation and redeems a portion of the cost from these stickers. remember also that the private transport cost almost double the moassas's transportation.

                  The only portion of that refund may belong to you if you yourself paid for the airline transfer between Jedda and Madina.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Hajj process

                    Thank you brother ismail for answering my questions.

                    My other questions relate to the facilities available at mina & arafat. Are the toilets in a decent state ie are they cleaned regularly or just left messy? do you have to queue a long time to use them? Are shower facilities available at mina?

                    What sort of facilities are available at muzdalifah considering the stay there is short?

                    Jazakhallahu khair

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Hajj process

                      These are public W/C cubicles. There are around 8 to 12 in a row on both sides. They serve as a squatting type loo and a shower is above. They are usually in order when you first arrive in Mina but soon, thereafter, it is anything. The hoses come off; the shower head is broken, the door hinges fall loose and the door bolt go missing. There are no cleaners, per sey, for dedicated toilet cleaning but there are cleaners around the camps if you can find one. At the end of the row there is one commode designed for western type but it is without a seat.
                      Queues forms generally around salah times and the longest queues are during fajar times. So, you have to manage your digestive system and the need to answer the call of nature accordingly to avoid long queues.

                      Same in Muzdalifa and, because of the short stay, queues tend to be over 50 deep for each cubicle.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Hajj process

                        Br. Ismail,

                        Most groups seem to take care of the qurbani for you but what's the deal with qurbani if a person wanted to go to the slaughter house themselves? Is this even possible?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Hajj process

                          Originally posted by islam_4eva View Post
                          Br. Ismail,

                          Most groups seem to take care of the qurbani for you but what's the deal with qurbani if a person wanted to go to the slaughter house themselves? Is this even possible?
                          Since writing that article, thanks to your request, I have found some further points that hujjajs should understand clearly and qurbani is one of them.

                          I wonder whether to continue here or start another new thread?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Hajj process

                            Last year when I went there was place behind safa and marwa, but there were like 100 people with 20 containers each so it would mean waiting the whole night to get the water. How does one fill up their zam zam containers during Hajj time? Is there a special place one can go?

                            Also are there barbers in Mina to get your head shaved? Does one have take their own blades, is it hygienic?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Hajj process

                              Last Year, I brought my own razor blades and carried it in a small pouch. [thats ust me I guess]

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