HAJJ: Lower-cost operators identified, says pmb campaigner

2008-06-26 00:00

A concerted drive to establish low-cost and basic travel packages for Muslims to travel to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage has met with some success since a meeting was held in the city in March, says a local campaigner on the issue, Abdullah Saeed.

According to Saeed, thanks to all parties who have worked on the issue, the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) has released the names of 31 Hajj operators, of which some are low-cost/non-profit agencies. He said prospective pilgrims should visit the website of Sahuc and choose a suitable Hajj operator.

Saeed advised pilgrims to look around for the best deals. “Inquire about prices, hotels, distance, type of accommodation, meals, Qurbani, moving to Azizia, number of people sharing a room, and the five days of Hajj.”

He warned them to read the fine print in the advertising, which often states that the prices quoted exclude airfare, airport and Hajj taxes.

“Pilgrims should not exchange money with Hajj operators until they are certain that they have been accredited and that they are satisfied with the Hajj operator and package.

“Most important, a detailed contract specifying the above must be signed with the Hajj operator and a copy kept in a safe place. This is so that in case of a dispute, the Hajj regulator can intervene.

“Please, prospective Hujjaaj (pilgrims) do not be deceived by any operator, your first Hajj is a Fardh (compulsory) one so perform it with ease and hassle-free,” added Saeed.

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