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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.

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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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      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?

      • Avatar

        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.

      • Avatar

        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. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      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. Avatar

    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”.

    • Avatar

      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?

    • Avatar

      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?

    • Avatar

      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. Avatar

    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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Editor’s Choice: Top 10 Articles Of 2019

Top ten posts of 2019
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MuslimMatters is grateful to Allah for our readers and our writers for collaborating to build the Muslim Internet’s most widely read online magazine. It is an honor to publish every article that goes up on the site. Here are the editor’s choices from the top most read articles of 2019.

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InshaAllah, we will publish lesser read pieces that were gems that readers may  have missed. 

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Complicated?:​ ​The A-Z of Women’s Modern Fiqh | Sh Waleed Basyouni

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You know that frustrating feeling of not knowing the answers to certain questions?

Questions like:

…am I praying or am I not?

…can I touch the Quran or can I not…?

…did that man really just say that because I’m a woman, I can’t do this, or wear that, or speak up?

Every ​question,​ every ​concern,​ every ​misconception on​ Women’s Fiqh… What if you had the answers?

Women’s fiqh has a reputation for being complicated. However, the reason why is because nobody has given it the full attention it needs in the context of Muslim women living in the West today.

I propose we end that confusion, stop the misuse of Islamic texts, and reclaim the knowledge. This applies to the men, as well. Men will want to learn about this as well – not just because they have women in their life (a mom, a sister, a wife or a daughter). But because knowing the fiqh specific to half of the world’s population saves everyone from making dangerous mistakes.

The answers to your questions and the knowledge you’re looking for comes in a complete, online guided course:​ Complicated?:​ ​The A-Z of Women’s Modern Fiqh.

It’s titled with a question mark because it really isn’t that complicated. This is the complete online course that covers every stage of a woman’s natural lifecycle. From newborns, puberty, and education, to marriage, old age, and the eventual janazah.

 Plus, it covers modern fiqh questions about topics like careers, public speaking, fashion, social interactions and textual misconceptions.

Here’s what past attendees have to say about this course:

“Throughout the course, I was nodding all the time….. …..like YES, this is a question I’ve had….

…. and thank you for answering it.

It opened my eyes to so many different issues,

Som that I was struggling with, and some I hadn’t even considered.”– From author and speaker, Sr Asmaa Hussain

 

“At first, I thought it would be a course on the usual Fiqh of Women stuff… …like pregnancy, periods, ghusl, salah. Sure that was there and with great clarity… …but it was literally the A-Z: He talked about women’s leadership, women as judges, women in positions of power… Never had I felt more empowered, more confident.…and especially grateful to be present in this class. “ – Ustadha Taimiyyah Zubair

You will also get to listen to these guest speakers:

  • Imam Omar Suleiman ​- AlMaghrib Instructor, ​civil rights activist, writer, and speaker
  • Dunia Shuaib -​ Certified marriage educator, author, and lecturer
  • Maryam Amir ​- Hafidha  and social justice educator
  • Dr. Marwa Assar -​ Psychologist, educator, writer, CEO of H.O.M.E.
  • Hina Mirza​ – Registered psychotherapist

And watch recorded bonuses with:

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  • Asmaa Hussain​ – Author of the best seller- A Temporary Gift
  • Sarah Sultan​ – Mental health counselor
  • Noor Salem​ – Nutritionist, author and speaker
  • Aminah Khan​ – Entrepreneur, Founder of Amanah Fitness
  • Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim​ – Instructor at AlMaghrib Institute

 Every question ever asked about Women’s fiqh is answered in this online course. And if you still have more questions, there are Live Q&A sessions scheduled for you to ask what hasn’t already been discussed.

If you are interested in joining, then make sure you register before ​today Oct 10th 11:59pm, ​when the course closes.

Click on the link below and get access to your student portal today:

www.almaghrib.online

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Obituary of (Mawlana) Yusuf Sulayman Motala (1366/1946 – 1441/2019)

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier.

Dar Al Uloom Bury, Yusuf Sulayman Motala
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A master of hadith and Qur’an. A sufi, spiritual guide and teacher to thousands. A pioneer in the establishment of a religious education system. His death reverberated through hearts and across oceans. We are all mourning the loss of a luminary who guided us through increasingly difficult times.

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier. (May the Almighty envelope him in His mercy)

His journey in this world had begun more than 70 years ago in the small village of Nani Naroli in Gujarat, India, where he was born on November 25, 1946 (1 Muharram 1366) into a family known for their piety.

His early studies were largely completed at Jami’a Husayniyya, one of the early seminaries of Gujarat, after which he travelled to Mazahir Ulum, the second oldest seminary of the Indian Sub-Continent, in Saharanpur, India, to complete his ‘alimiyya studies. What drew him to this seminary was the presence of one of the most influential and well-known contemporary spiritual guides, Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (d. 1402/1982), better known as “Hazrat Shaykh.” He had seen Mawlana Zakariyya only briefly at a train stop, but it was enough for him to understand the magnitude of his presence.

Mawlana Yusuf remained in Saharanpur for two years. Despite being younger than many of the other students of Shaykh Zakariya, the shaykh took a great liking to him. Shaykh Zakariya showered him with great attention and even deferred his retirement from teaching Sahih al-Bukhari so that Mawlana Yusuf could study it under his instruction. While in Saharanpur, Mawlana Yusuf also studied under a number of other great scholars, such as Mawlana Muhammad ‘Aqil (author of Al-Durr al-Mandud, an Urdu commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud and current head lecturer of Hadith at the same seminary), Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri (d. 1438/2017) the previous head lecturer of Hadith there), Mawlana As‘adullah Rampuri (d. 1399/1979) and Mufti Muzaffar Husayn (d. 1424/2003).

Upon completion of his studies, Mawlana Yusuf’s marriage was arranged to marry a young woman from the Limbada family that had migrated to the United Kingdom from Gujarat. In 1968, he relocated to the UK and accepted the position of imam at Masjid Zakariya, in Bolton. Although he longed to be in the company of his shaykh, he had explicit instructions to remain in the UK and focus his efforts on establishing a seminary for memorization of Qur’an and teaching of the ‘alimiyya program. The vision being set in motion was to train a generation of Muslims scholars that would educate and guide the growing Muslim community.

Establishing the first Muslim seminary, in the absence of any precedent, was a daunting task. The lack of support from the Muslim community, the lack of integration into the wider British community, and the lack of funds made it seem an impossible endeavour. And yet, Mawlana Yusuf never wavered in his commitment and diligently worked to make the dream of his teacher a reality. In 1973 he purchased the derelict Aitken Sanatorium in the village of Holcombe, near Bury, Lancashire. What had once been a hospice for people suffering from tuberculosis, would become one of the first fully-fledged higher-education Islamic institutes outside of the Indian-Subcontinent teaching the adapted-Nizami syllabus.

The years of struggle by Maulana Yusuf to fulfil this vision paid off handsomely. Today, after four decades, Darul Uloom Al Arabiyya Al Islamiyya, along with its several sister institutes, also founded by Mawlana Yusuf, such as the Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya seminary in Bradford for girls, have produced well over 2,000 British born (and other international students) male and female ‘alimiyya graduates – many of whom are working as scholars and serving communities across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, the US, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India and New Zealand. Besides these graduates, a countless number of individuals have memorized the Qur’an at these institutes. Moreover, many of the graduates of the Darul Uloom and its sister institutes have set up their own institutes, such as Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda in Blackburn, Islamic Dawah Academy in Leicester, Jami’ah al-Kawthar in Lancaster, UK, and Darul Uloom Palmela in Portugal, to just mention a few of the larger ones. Within his lifetime, Mawlana Yusuf saw first-hand the fruit of his labours – witnessing his grand students (graduates from his students’ institutes) providing religious instruction and services to communities around the world in their local languages. What started as a relationship of love between a student and teacher, manifested into the transmission of knowledge across continents. In some countries, such as the UK and Portugal, one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who had not directly or indirectly benefited from him.

Mawlana Yusuf was a man with deep insights into the needs of Western contemporary society, one that was very different from the one he had grown up and trained in. With a view to contributing to mainstream society, Mawlana Yusuf encouraged his graduates to enter into further education both in post-graduate Islamic courses and western academia, and to diversify their fields of learning through courses at mainstream UK universities. As a result, many ‘alimiyya graduates of his institutes are trained in law, mainstream medicine, natural medicine and homeopathy, mental health, child protection, finance, IT, education, chaplaincy, psychology, philosophy, pharmacy, physics, journalism, engineering, architecture, calligraphy, typography, graphic design, optometry, social services, public health, even British Sign Language. His students also include several who have completed PhDs and lecture at universities. His vision was to train British-born (or other) Muslim scholars who would be well versed in contemporary thought and discipline along with their advanced Islamic learning, equipping them to better contribute to society.

Despite his commitment to the establishment of a public good, the shaykh was an immensely private person and avoided seeking accolade or attention. For many decades he refused invitations to attend conferences or talks around the country, choosing to focus on his students and his family, teaching the academic syllabus and infusing the hearts of many aspirants with the love of Allah through regular gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual retreats (i’tikaf) in the way of his shaykh’s Chishti Sufi order.

During my entire stay with him at Darul Uloom (1985–1997), I can say with honesty that I did not come across a single student who spoke ill of him. He commanded such awe and respect that people would find it difficult to speak with him casually. And yet, for those who had the opportunity to converse with him, knew that he was the most compassionate, humble, and loving individual.

He was full of affection for his students and colleagues and had immense concern for the Muslim Ummah, especially in the West. He possessed unparalleled forbearance and self-composure. When he taught or gave a talk, he spoke in a subdued and measured tone, as though he was weighing every word, knowing the import it carried. He would sit, barely moving and without shifting his posture. Even after a surgical procedure for piles, he sat gracefully teaching us Sahih al-Bukhari. Despite the obvious pain, he never made an unpleasant expression or winced from the pain.

Anyone who has listened to his talks or read his books can bear testimony to two things: his immense love for the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his love for Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). It is probably hard to find a talk in which he did not speak of the two. His shaykh was no doubt his link to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in both his hadith and spiritual transmissions.

Over the last decade, he had retired from most of his teaching commitments (except Sahih al-Bukhari) and had reduced meeting with people other than his weekly dhikr gatherings. His time was spent with his family and young children and writing books. His written legacy comprises over 20 titles, mostly in Urdu but also a partial tafsir of the Qur’an in classical Arabic.

After the news of his heart attack on Sunday, August 25, and the subsequent effects to his brain, his well-wishers around the world completed hundreds of recitals of the Qur’an, several readings of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari, thousands of litanies and wirds of the formula of faith (kalima tayyiba), and gave charity in his name. However, Allah Most High willed otherwise and intended for him to depart this lowly abode to begin his journey to the next. He passed away two weeks later and reports state that approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral. Had his funeral been in the UK, the number of attendees would have multiplied several folds. But he had always shied away from large crowds and gatherings and maybe this was Allah Most High’s gift to him after his death. He was 75 (in Hijra years, and 72 in Gregorian) at the time of his death and leaves behind eight children and several grandchildren.

Mawlana Yusuf educated, inspired and nourished the minds and hearts of countless across the UK and beyond. May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaws in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and grant all his family, students, and cherishers around the world beautiful patience.

Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera
Whitethread Institute, London
(A fortunate graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, 1996–97)

*a learned Muslim scholar especially in India often used as a form of address

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