Hajj china piligrms medina saudi
Hajj pilgrims arriving from China land in Medina. Image Credit: SPA file

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has called upon the public to help identify and report fake companies promoting unlicensed tours for the upcoming annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage.

The authorities urged citizens to report any offenders to authorities to combat fraudulent businesses effectively.

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In an X Post, the Saudi General Directorate for Public Security emphasised the public’s role in ensuring the security and safety of the pilgrims, known as guests of Al Rahman. It provided contact numbers (911 in Makkah, Riyadh, and the Eastern region, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom) for reporting fake Hajj companies.

As the Hajj season approaches, Saudi authorities have arrested several individuals involved in advertising fake tours for the pilgrimage.

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They have consistently warned Muslims planning to perform Hajj about the dangers of fake campaigns and websites, emphasizing the importance of relying on official channels to access pilgrimage and protect pilgrims’ rights during their journey.

The Ministry of Hajj reiterated that all pilgrims must obtain a Hajj permit through official channels, stressing that performing Hajj without one is considered sinful.

Starting June 2, Saudi Arabia will impose penalties on Muslims caught attempting to perform Hajj illegally in and around Mecca.

Violators of Hajj regulations, whether citizens, foreign residents, or visitors, will face a fine of SR10,000. Expatriate violators will also be deported and banned from re-entering the kingdom, with the fine doubling upon repetition.

Additionally, individuals caught transporting violators of Hajj-related instructions and illegal pilgrims may face up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of SR50,000. Expatriate transporters will be deported from the kingdom after serving their sentence.

Hajj is one of Islam’s five obligatory duties, and Muslims who are physically and financially able must perform it at least once in their lifetime.