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Changing the Management of Hajj and Umrah

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 14th December 2019 11:57

The Administration of Hajj & Umrah has remained similar for 2000+ years. People had shame, dignity, modesty and respect so it sort of rumbled along.

In 1926, a bunch of bandits took over the Administration and to bandits nothing matters except money. Sometimes, I think about how to make it "safe" for millions of those who visit the Haramain. The numbers are astronomical compared to what they were 2000 years ago so the system needs to be flexible and cater for huge commercial traffic.

Please feel free to jump in, as usual we will discuss this step by step.

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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 14th December 2019 12:04

STEP 1: PREPARATION

It should be mandatory to pass a course in the Fiqh of Umrah and Hajj, without a certificate that you have shown proficiency in the Fiqh you will NOT get to apply for the VISA.

  1. Umrah: Online training in the language (and Madhab) of your choice and then take the Exam.
  2. Hajj: Pass the pre-requisite online Umrah course and then attend online Level II Hajj course and then pass it
  3. Unlettered People: Each country will have designated Darul-ulooms/Maktabs where you can visit and take the (segregated) course in person and get the passing certificate

All applying for a VISA must show proficiency. The costs of this program will be borne by increasing the Umrah/Hajj visa.

It is not a perfect system but an improvement over what we have today. The online course will be updated with the latest developments (construction etc)

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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 14th December 2019 12:11

STEP 2: VISA

The Saudi embassy is corrupt, bribes are common place and the VISA agents have no choice but to comply with the corrupt system. The Saudi embassy in London is notorious for taking bribes and a large number of British citizens have Norway, Belgium stamped on their Hajj VISA because the Saudi embassy staff take bribe and shuffle British Muslims (the highest number of Hajees in Europe) and designate them to be Norwegian (lowest number of Hajees).

Online Umrah VISAS are a fantastic idea where the human element is taken out of the equation. Online Hajj VISAS should be introduced for countries which are eligible for (online) Umrah VISAS.

The entire system cannot be made online due to the sheer number involved but at this time, the human (corrupt) element should be minimised as much as possible for foreign visitors. Countries like Indonesia, Pakistan who are the largest customers will continue to be corrupt because we need to remove corruption one piece at a time.

Domestic: Almost every checkpoint in Saudi Arabia takes bribes and allows you to do "illegal" Hajj . This is a complex scenario because Saudi National Guard is inherently corrupt, at this time I do not know the solution to the domestic Hajj corruption.

Happy to hear your ideas on how to eradicate corruption and bribes from the Hajj & Umrah VISA system.

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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 14th December 2019 12:21

STEP 3: TRANSIT & FLIGHTS

The new Istanbul Airport is a superb example of how to handle this. Istanbul airport has been upgraded to pickup massive amounts of passengers for Turkish airlines so there is commercial incentive in this.Turkish airlines intends to steal passengers from Emirates, Qatar and other airlines. For European Muslims, it has become a great choice in terms of price, comfort and convenience.

You can only fly to Saudi Arabia from set routes and they are well known. Key airports (like Istanbul, Dubai, Amman, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur Karachi) should be upgraded to offer A* transit facilities for Umrah & Hajj travellers. These facilities will provide information, changing facilities, Prayer, rest areas etc for those with Umrah and Hajj intentions.

This is already beginning to happen, its a matter of time when other airlines out of the fear of loosing passengers match Istanbul.

Pakistan & Indonesia need to realise the financial benefit and uplift Karachi & Jakarta airport and steal passengers from Saudi airlines. These are the two most financially lucrative countries for airlines to target.



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