Before applying for hajj

The Hajj!

Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam is made compulsory for those who can afford the expenses and are in good health conditions to travel to Saudi Arabia. It is one of its kind trip where you are one of the 2.5 million pilgrims that have travelled to come to perform Hajj from all over the world. Quota is given by Saudi government to all countries based on population and applicants. Pakistan, being on the top of these has a quota of around 0.17 million pilgrims, of which around 60% pilgrims perform hajj on government hajj scheme while other 40% is distributed among the private hajj operators. Hajj teaches you alot of lessons and we will discuss everything from applying for hajj to coming back from Saudi Arabia in these series of lectures. All the experiences shared will be from 2019 Hajj applied in Government Hajj Scheme. We will also add experiences from private hajj scheme as well wherever required. 

Hajj Policy 2020

Hajj policy 2020 has recently been published. Here are a few salient features for the policy:

  • Total quota for Pakistan is 179,210 pilgrims
  • No Free Hajj will be entertained
  • Two schemes introduced (Government Scheme and Private scheme)
  • Under government scheme, the ministry of hajj will take care of all arrangements. Around 107,526 Hajjis will be sent through government hajj scheme.
  • Under private hajj scheme, the private hajj organizers are given quotas by the ministry. A total of 71,684 Hajjis will be sent through private scheme
  • Government Hajj Scheme applicants will be applying via banks in the given time.
  • Selection of hujjaj for government scheme will be done through computerised balloting.
  • Under government Hajj scheme, the accommodation will be provided on sharing basis.
  • Shuttle transport will be provided for all those that will be accommodated more than 2km away from Haram
  • Busses will not be available from 5th Zulhaj to 14th Zulhaj due to Saudi Government rules
  • Duration of stay for government scheme is 35-45 days depending on flight schedules.
  • Additional amount for Qurbani is Rs. 22,825
  • Following quotas are given out of Government Quota:
    • 1.5% quota is reserved for hardship cases (broken family, newly born infant, attendants/helpers for citizens crossing 70 years
    • 500 seats given to low paid employees/labours of Public sector/corporate organizations, companies registered with EOBI/Workers welfare fund
    • 10,000 seats reserved for senior citizens (born before 1st January 1950). These seats will be allocated on basis of seniority
    • Those persons that have been unsuccessful in last three consecutive years (2017, 2018, 2019) shall be declared successful provided they have not performed Hajj in private scheme.
    • A quota of 1000 seats will be reserved for overseas Nationals.
    • Any un-utilized quota will be utilized using balloting
  • Hajj Dues and other information is shared below.

Before Applying for Hajj

Congratulations! You have planned to apply for Hajj this year! It will be a long journey and will require your time, money and commitment. So keep yourself on toes once the process starts! For Government Scheme, the application process starts right after Rabi us Saani i.e. at least 8 months before Hajj. So Keep an eye for the government hajj scheme announcements. Regularly check Ministry’s website (http://home.hajjinfo.org/) for all official announcements regarding Hajj. 

Usually 2 weeks time is given for applications submission. Before the application is announced, here are a few steps you need to complete:

  1. Finances: Make sure you have the amount to submit. Total dues, as mentioned earlier are as follows:
Region Dues without Qurbani Dues with Qurbani
South Region (Karachi, Sukkur, Quetta) Rs.455,695 Rs.478,520
North Region (Islamabad, Punjab and KPK) Rs. 463,445 Rs. 486,270

Amount can be paid in cash, cheque, bank draft in designated branches of  Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) Limited, Allied Bank Limited, Bank of Punjab, Meezan Bank, Bank Al-Falah, Bank Al-Habib, Zarai Taraqiati Bank, Faysal Bank, Habibmetro Bank Limited, Askari Bank, and Dubai Islamic Bank. For private scheme, the packages vary based on number of days etc. 

Hajj is compulsory on those who can afford financially. If you plan to take loan from someone for Hajj, make sure you return the loan in your lifetime and take proper guidance from some the experts.

Some important points to remember:

  • In case you opt for package with Qurbani, the Qurbani will be done by Government Officials in Mina. You will be provided with a time. In our case in 2019, the Qurbani time was  Sunset on 10th Zilhaj. So we opened our ehraams on 10th Zilhaj after Maghrib Prayers and then some proceeded for tawaf-e-ziyarah on same day while others, including me, went for the tawaf on 11th after rami.
  • A lot of people opt for without Qurbani package. In that case you have to keep around 500 riyals with you extra for Qurbani.
  • There are alot of organizations that you can find once you are there. Al-Rajhi bank (located infront of Haram) also collects the amount for Qurbani and is considered most authentic.
  • Do research before submitting your dues and stay away from scammers.
  • Only benefit of doing Qurbani this way is that most of them do qurbani as soon as you call them and you can proceed for tawaf-e-ziyarah quickly and you dont have to wait for the announced time.
  • People applying for Private scheme should please confirm from the operator about the package details and whether Qurbani is included or not.

2. Passport

If you don’t have a passport yet, here is a quick process on how to make one. 

Make sure your passport has a renewal date of at least 6 months after hajj. For example if hajj is in August 2020, the passport should be renewed until February 2021. Even if your passport is expiring in January 2021, I suggest you to apply for a new passport and use that in application form as this is a requirement from Saudi Arabia and Visa may be rejected on these grounds. If you are a married woman travelling with your husband, make sure your passport contains name of your husband. So even if your passport is renewed until after 6 months, if it doesn’t contain your husband’s name, please update your records with NADRA if not done already and then proceed for new passport. 
Keep a few truesize copies of passport’s first page (the one with your picture on it) with you when going to the bank to submit amount and form.

3. Pictures

Prepare Pictures for Hajj. The pictures should be passport size or as specified by form or website. Make at least 10 pictures as you may need them later on as well. All pictures must have a light blue background.

4. Identity Card

Make sure you have your original CNIC/NICOP and its copies. If you don’t have original CNIC or lost it, please apply for it and get it made from NADRA. Take multiple copies of CNIC as well. 

5. Decide on which type of Hajj you will perform? 

Mostly Pakistanis perform Hajj e Tamattu’ which means they perform both Umrah and Hajj in same trip but after performing Umrah, they come out of the Ehraam and then on 8th Zilhaj, they wear Ehraam for hajj. This type of Hajj is convinient as well as instructed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during his Hajj. 

Other types include Hajj e Ifraad, in which you don’t come out of ehraam after umrah and stay in same ehraam until Hajj. Hajj e Ifraad is the kind of hajj that was performed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself as he brought the sacrifice animal with him. He ordered others to perform Hajj e Tamattu’. 

Last type is Hajj e Qiraan, which doesnt include Umrah. This type of hajj is normally performed by those living inside Meeqaat area so it doesnt apply for us. 

If you are doing Hajj e Badal, i.e. doing hajj for someone else, make sure you put that on the form as well. 

I suggest you to consult your local mosque’s mufti about these types and choose the one that you are going to perform. 

If you have completed all these processes, congratulations! You are now ready to apply for the Hajj.

We will discuss the form in our next blog.

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