Hajj
A pilgrim at Hajj. About 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has warned against fake Hajj websites that claim to offer low-priced services and packages to Muslims residing in the kingdom who wish to perform Islamic pilgrimage rites in the upcoming season.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that applying for attending next month’s Hajj from inside the kingdom for Saudis and expatriates is available via the app Eatmarna.

The Saudi news agency SPA quoted the ministry as saying that it has detected several “fake” websites and “misleading” numbers of persons claiming to provide Hajj services and requesting personal data and official documents.

The ministry has urged Muslims inside the kingdom not to be misled by undocumented advertisements and to report such practices to authorities.

The ministry confirmed that an electronic portal it has designated for domestic pilgrims is the sole outlet for reserving Hajj services provided by licensed firms and establishments.

Domestic pilgrims’ electronic registration continues until the end of Saturday with results to be announced later.

The ministry’s oversight teams are monitoring all violations and unlicenced Hajj campaigns, reported SPA, adding that legal measures will be taken against violators.

Saudi Arabia has said it will allow 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to perform this year’s Hajj, after restricting the annual ritual to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to the pandemic.

Eligible pilgrims this year must be under 65, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a negative PCR test result of a sample collected within 72 hours from departure to the kingdom.

About 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic.