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Monday, March 8, 2021

More than 19,000 people in Qatar apply for 1,200 Hajj spots

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Despite an increase in applications from Qatar residents who wish to perform Hajj this year, Saudi Arabia has frozen the number of pilgrimage visas available to Muslims in the country.

Some 19,000 Qatar residents have applied for a Hajj visa this year, but quotas set by Saudi Arabia mean only 1,200 of them will be able to make the trip, according to Al Raya. Of that amount, the majority of the visas – 900 – are reserved for Qatari citizens.

The 1,200 spots are the same number that Qatar was allocated in 2014, but is only a fraction of the 9,000 visas that were available to residents here a few years ago, a local tour operator told Doha News.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has cut down the visa quotas granted to different nations to better accommodate pilgrims since announcing a massive expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Medina a few years ago.

Saudi officials previously said that the QR39 billion (US$11 billion) expansion of the mosque is expected to take at least until 2016.

Impact

The freeze means more local residents are having their visa requests rejected, as Al Raya said applications were up by some 4,000 people over last year.

The move also has spelled financial losses for some of the local companies that transport pilgrims, as well as some mergers.

One such operator – Fahd Al Kawari, who heads Al Fahd Hajj Group Operator – said he merged with Al Hatem Hajj Group Operator last year and knows of at least two Hajj operators who didn’t operate last year due to an insufficient number of customers.

The decrease in Hajj visas has also lead to a hike in prices in the cost of the pilgrimage. Last year, the prices ranged from QR12,000 ($3,296) to QR37,000 ($10,165) for the trip, according to Al Raya.

The newspaper added that only nine Hajj groups out of a total of 30 operators were operational last year.

Speaking to Doha News, Al Kawari said there have been calls from his industry and local residents to increase the quota.

The urging has worked in the past, he said, as Saudi Arabia doubled the number of visas available to expats in Qatar from 500 to 1,000 in 2012, only two days before the pilgrimage. That brought the total number of Qatar-based pilgrims to 2,000.

Other options

The three-week online registration process to apply for the pilgrimage closed on Tuesday. A random draw will be held within the next few days to pick the approved applicants, who will be sent an SMS notification by the Department of Hajj and Umrah Affairs.

Pilgrims at Mt. Arafah during Hajj
Pilgrims at Mt. Arafah during Hajj

Applicants can follow up on their visa applications online. The Department of Hajj and Umrah Affairs also has a hotline number – 132 – to answer any inquires about the Hajj.

Qatar residents who are not approved can still apply to attend Hajj through their home countries, but they have to must go through  Saudi embassies there.

Al Kawari said that in this case, applicants would also have to travel to Hajj from their  home country and join a local Hajj company there, adding that they can’t travel or obtain the visa from Qatar.

Hajj restrictions for expats include:

  • A female applicant below 45 years should be accompanied by a mohram, a male relative; and
  •  Expats should be at least 18 years old and should have completed three years’ stay in Qatar and should not have performed Hajj in the past five years.

Thoughts?

33 COMMENTS

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Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

“Qatar residents who are not approved can still apply to attend Hajj through their home countries, but they have to must go through Saudi embassies there.”

.. have to must go…?? Don’t you have a proofreader at DN?

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

It is ok. Even the Guardian makes mistakes so no need to point out every typo you see.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

It’s unprofessional.

yousef
yousef
5 years ago

…and who said pot was not good for you ?

DN staff
DN staff
5 years ago

You can apply for it. But they dont pay. They only make “little money” and all that is Shabina’s.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago

Your work for CNAQ student made you a sharp editor. No back to doing more reports for 500 QAR. Maybe it will help you afford to have dinner.

NOT
NOT
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Doing reports for students? OMG and all those lectures he gave about ethics. Btw can I have his number I am taking summer classes.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Deleting for attack, and subsequent thread.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago

Sometimes mistakes happen! Fixed that one a couple minutes after the post went up.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Why don’t they set up another destination for Hajj like in Indonesia and this will help all the people that want to perform Hajj do it. I’m sure God is not country or location specific and if you go through all the rituals he will be happy.

AverageJoe
AverageJoe
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The “witty” comments are getting kind of old. Honestly.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  AverageJoe

Actually it is a serious comment. Why not have a second place for a Hajj in a different country, so more people can do it if they want.

AverageJoe
AverageJoe
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I’m really fond of your perseverance.

Mohammed
Mohammed
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Assuming it is a serious question, by definition Hajj mean travelling to specific destination.
Hajj is relsted to sepesific incident that took place at that location and surroundings.

Guest
Guest
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

God isn’t country or location specific, but He made Hajj to be country and location specific.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

you seem to enjoy mocking and trying to wind up muslims here. and then trying to take cover behind sarcasm.

zeit
zeit
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Another one of your stupid comments. But I’m sure Shabina wont be banning you. Its part of their strategy to get more traffic.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  zeit

Deleting for personal attack.

Amber
Amber
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You have to make hajj at the kaaba. You cannot just build another one. This is sacred place. There’s no replicating it. There are religious events that took place in Mecca that didn’t happen any where else.

DN
DN
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

MIMH, hajj isn’t a set ritual. The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims. Kindly refrain from commenting on things that are probably beyond your understanding.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  DN

Why does God want you to go to a specific place. Makes no sense unless the witness the place where Mohamed conquered the Meccas during his invasion. Or possibly God wants the Saudis to make lots of tourist dollars

DN
DN
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The same reason why the Vatican is in Italy when for a fact it is known none of the early events quoted in its holy books occurred anywhere near there. For all I know the Vatican should be in Palestine.

Mohammed
Mohammed
5 years ago

No there no other chsnce this year as registerstion closed on other countries too !!

Tim
Tim
5 years ago

So there is discrimination on the basis of passport even for Hajj. So much for all being equal before God. I suppose Qataris have a VIP lane to God as well.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

The expats can as well utilise the chance from their home countries.

Education
Education
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

There is a quota for each country. It’s from KSA.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

and god’s language is Arabic. They truly are the chosen people.

Yousef
Yousef
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Chosen people? No, this isn’t Judaism.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yousef

So you’re saying better to he a Jew because they are God’s chosen people. Got it

Bo.Jassim.qtr
Bo.Jassim.qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

My GOD and all universe GOD has sent a lot of messengers for every nation and the last messenger was Mohammed.. there is no such thing called God’s language in Islam ., but the last book and the most truthful one came in Arabic. (Came for Arabs)

and about the chosen people, Jews once has been the preferable people to GOD before islam came .,

so even the preferable people can be changed if they didn’t obey GOD and his messengers.,

If you have questions about Islam , I will be happy to answer you D:

zeit
zeit
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I always expected illogical comments like these. Hajj pilgrimages attracts large numbers every year. At present there is a limit to the number of people that can attend Hajj. To resolve the issue, Saudi decides to create quotas for every country based on the number of Muslims residing in that country. That is how they distribute the visas.

Amber
Amber
5 years ago

This is why a lot of people are applying from their home countries now. Not only is it expensive to go to hajj now, but it is incredibly difficult to go now.

disqus_CpJJvzDxuG
disqus_CpJJvzDxuG
5 years ago

They’re doing the right thing in lowering the quota. I was there in April and saw all the cranes and other construction hazards surrounding the Kaaba. It’s probably unsafe to allow too many people in the area.

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