Travel cos face losses, applicants confused over Saudi's Hajj registration system

Dubai, United Arab Emirates Updated: Jun 27, 2022, 07:58 PM(IST)

Hajj pilgrimage. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is meant to be undertaken by all Muslims who are able and have the means at least once in their lives. Saudi government announced recently that pilgrims from Europe, the United States and Australia could no longer book through travel agencies. The authorities said that they would instead have to apply through a lottery system. The move was announced weeks before the start of the pilgrimage to Mecca from 7 to 12 July.

Saudi authorities are all set to welcome Muslims from abroad for the annual hajj after two years. In the past two years, pilgrims who were not already in the kingdom were barred because of the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

But recently, the Saudi government announced that pilgrims from Europe, the United States and Australia could no longer book through travel agencies. The authorities said that they would instead have to apply through a lottery system. The move was announced weeks before the start of the pilgrimage to Mecca from 7 to 12 July. 

The Saudi government's move has apparently led to confusion among some of the British Muslims who booked pilgrimages to Mecca. Media reports have mentioned that the announcement by Saudi Arabia is a move to crack down on fraudulent travel agency firms. 

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As per reports by UK-based media outlets, people are unable to board a flight due to the problems with a new Saudi registration system continue. 

Not just the pilgrims, the travel companies are also impacted. As reported by The Guardian, the sudden change could cause even genuine travel firms to go out of business. As per the reports, travellers potentially lose thousands of pounds. 

It is understood tha the moon of Zil Hajj is likely to be sighted on the evening of June 30. It will mark the start of the holy month. 

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is meant to be undertaken by all Muslims who are able and have the means at least once in their lives. 

It consists of a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in Islam's holiest city, Mecca, and surrounding areas of western Saudi Arabia. 

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Pilgrims face growing heat stroke risks 

Apart from the ticket chaos, pilgrims also face growing heat stroke risks as scientists have warned that the sacred rite is under threat due to deadly rising heat. 

The risk of pilgrims suffering life-threatening heat stroke could rise five-fold with global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial times, found the study in the journal Environmental Research Letters. 

With an increase of 2C - the less ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement - the probability becomes 10 times higher, said Climate Analytics, a Berlin-based think-tank. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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