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Blackmarket Hujjaj: Live Google Hangout

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Increasingly as of late, we’ve heard horror stories from Muslims around the US and Canada, who have poured their hard-earned savings into Hajj packages only to be duped at the end.

The pattern is similar: there is a ‘delay’ of some sort by the Saudi government, then phone calls are ignored, a mysterious fee for expediting the visa appears out of nowhere along with an apology, and the travel agents disappear.

Unfortunately, that was the scam several years ago, and now these same con artists have gotten wiser. Forged visas and papers, lower up-front costs, and other tricks lure unsuspecting Muslims and even travel agents who resell Hajj visas into unforgiving traps.

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With that in mind, Maqsood Farid of Royal Travels, with over 20 years of experience in the industry, will present his views of the Hajj process and will give you an insider’s view into how this fraud occurs, how high it goes in the food chain, and what you can do to safeguard your Hajj.

To register, please sign up for our newsletter below and you will receive a link and more details about the event.

Date: On Saturday, April 12th
Time: between 4:00 and 5:00pm (EST)
Location: Online. Once you register below you will receive the link and more details on April 12th 2014 insha’Allah.

 

 

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. ibnmomin

    March 21, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Please put the recording up for those who might not be able to attend and also others that could benefit in coming years inshAllah

  2. Zaheer

    March 24, 2014 at 5:14 AM

    Quite a pertinent topic – and it is not unique to the North American Hajj/Umrah industry by any means. A similar tale can be told of the Hajj industry in South Africa. And I’m sure that other countries also experience similar issues.

    Shukran to the organizers, and especially for having it on a Saturday afternoon (in the EDT timezone). It means that those of us in the EMEA region will only have to stay up till 10/11pm latest to catch this live:-)

  3. Abu Turab

    March 29, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    Looking forward to the event.

    I and a few other people have been working on a project http://www.hajjbound.com. The idea is the have a comprehensive and precise set of metrics to represent every hajj package. We have had our issues trying to procure such information from operator websites, because even the leading and trustworthy ones might have incomplete or misleading information.

    We will appreciate comments and feedback by those interested in greater transparency within the Hajj and Umrah industry.

    • Suad

      April 1, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      Brother, masha Allah I have benefited from your site. Can we consider all the companies on there legitimate (as in really they exist for real)? I have been trying to find a package, and really a lot of the information on 95% of these companies has spelling mistakes, dates are wrong on some, I just don’t know where to start?

      • Abu Turab

        April 1, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        The companies on the site have an online presence, and HajjBound points to their websites and phone numbers. Generally these are well known companies. The purpose behind the site is to have packages from all in one place, and then one can shortlist those one is interested in, and get in touch with the Hajj company and double check all the details before procuring. Please do let me know of the mistakes esp. the wrong dates you refer to? It will help us correct those.

      • Abu Turab

        April 5, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        I have not received any link or details. Can you please send them to me?

  4. O H

    March 29, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    The K.S.A government should also take blame for making Hajj more expensive and complicated than it should be. This has lead to all sorts of problems and this is also linked to the problem mentioned in this article.

    • solitaybird

      April 1, 2014 at 3:20 AM

      It really can’t be helped, they need to complicate it to ensure a safer Hajj. The Muslim ummah is growing at an incredible rate, masha Allah, but it’s faster than expansions can keep up with, so the number must be limited to avoid people crushed to death.

  5. Molvi Gudda

    April 9, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    One of my very close friend started travel agency business (he quit after sometime), he was told by “gurus” that if you really want to make money start “Hajj and Umra’ packages”

    This article is nothing but an advertisement for this company’s Hajj package. Can someone justify U$7,500- U$12,000 per person, the cost of a Hajj from the USA? How much the ticket for person to KSA (and it will be even cheaper if you buy in group), cost of food, living for about two weeks??? To me all these people involved in (Imam, agent in USA, agent in KSA, etc, etc) making thousands of dollars every year from the people who save their livelihood to fulfill their obligation. Many people are not going only because of this unreal “profit” these “fools” are making from “Hajj”.

    • Abu Turab

      April 9, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Well in that case, other people should step up and start offering packages for less. It is a free market right. As long as there aren’t barriers to entry, an unrealistic profit margin would have meant that other providers would have stepped in and captured the market. How much do you think a package should cost and can you give a breakdown of your estimated expenses?

    • SonnyNoo

      April 10, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Molvi: You raise a few interesting questions, and I HOPE they’ll be addressed in the Google Hangout itself.

      I would like to know the following:

      1) How much money is actually made in this?
      2) Why are people making a profit off of something so religious?
      3) How are $10k and $20k packages justified for HAJJ?
      4) Why does the price KEEP going up? This seems like all hajj companies around the world are ripping everyone off, or is this, as usual, something Saudi is doing to us?

    • Is it really that unreasonable?

      September 26, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      As Salamu Alaikum,

      While costs are high, I’m not sure they are terribly ‘unreasonable’ when taking into account two week trips internationally, anywhere else….

      What is included:
      1. Round trip International airfare for a select few days, for millions to the same destination.
      2. The higher end deals (10,000 plus) typically include 5 star hotels. Typically, these hotels are not only posh, but they are closest to the haram (if not pretty much right on it). In Arafat, Muzdalifa, you also get special accommodation (special tents, etc).
      3. All meals and transportation are included.
      4. An experienced guide (imam) with you at all stages.
      5. Things like cell phones are included with some tours.
      6. All arrangements are taken care of. Ie, the hajji not the one who is booking the hotels, finding food and transportation, etc.

      In summary: one is not only paying for luxury, but access.

      Perhaps there is unreasonable profit being made out of this, but, before throwing accusations, someone really needs to do the math…remembering to take into account the access part of the equation, not just flat costs of a room, food, bus fare, etc.

      Costs maybe much higher, but lets face it, we Americans are spoiled. We’re not really used to the hardships of life. Even with all thus luxury, people find plenty to complain about (crowds, bathroom conditions in some places, weather, behavior of others, delays, etc). Imagine if we had to include long walks back and forth from our place of stay, poor (or no) food, poor (or no transportation) to the list…

      The best way to think about it maybe to think of our spending on hajj as a gift to Allah…ie, we are spending for His sake to perform a rite that He asked of us.

      Earlier generations may have spent less (per day, anyway, typically, they stayed longer), but they had their own challenges that we don’t have to face (ie, many did not know if they would return alive – they were afraid of being caught on the way by bandits, etc).

      And remember, the reward of an accepted Hajj is nothing less than paradise.

      This is not meant to excuse any shady behavior on the part of hajj providers. But again, we need to back up our accusations with solid evidence.

  6. azmina

    April 12, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I signed up yesterday and haven’t received a link, when I am I likely to get this as the event is in a few hours

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