Selangor Journal
The first group of Malaysian haj pilgrims departing for Saudi Arabia at the Movenpick Convention Centre, Sepang, on June 4, 2022. — Picture by BERNAMA

Public urged to be extra vigilant of haj by proxy package offers

MECCA, June 19 — Members of the public have been urged to be extra cautious with questionable haj by proxy (badal haji) packages being offered by certain parties, particularly those that do not clearly state who will perform the religious rituals.

Questionable packages are highly suspicious as the Saudi Arabian government has set the cost of pilgrimage permits at a certain rate, including for locals.

Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) operations director (Guidance) Tengku Aziz Raja Abdullah said that various advertisements promoting haj by proxy packages at questionable rates should be given serious attention as it seemed to be a deliberate act to make an easy profit.

He said that the TH which plays an important role in the Holy Land did not offer the haj by proxy services this year due to various rules set by the Saudi Arabian government.

“If you look at the scenario in Malaysia, some promoting haj by proxy packages as low as RM500, RM1,500 and some even offer RM2,500 to RM3,000.

“Even TH does not offer haj by proxy services this year due to the Saudi Arabian government’s rules that do not allow us to perform haj by proxy or collect money for such services,” he told reporters.

Tengku Aziz said that some packages used the names of Malaysian students living in Madinah and Makkah, while there were only 15 students lived there. The students themselves had stated their unwillingness to take the haj by proxy due to the high cost.

He added that the Saudi Arabian government set the permit cost at about SR10,000 with strict enforcement and based on that, it was impossible to perform Badal haj at a low price.

“When I arrived at the Holy Land, I asked my friends about the haj by proxy and most of them were not willing to take it up at RM3,000 because to go on haj pilgrimage, the Saudi Arabian authorities will check the permit or letter of permission. The package costs about SR10,000 or more.

“Some claim that wages charged will be given to students in the Holy Land, whereas if the students want to perform haj, they need to have a permit to do that, so how many of our students have managed to get a permit to perform the haj by proxy?” he said.

He also added that haj by proxy means the act of performing haj rituals on behalf of someone who is unable to perform haj themselves and it is even permissible to perform haj by proxy for those who have no hope of recovering from illness.

“Haj by proxy is allowed in Islam. It is permissible for individuals or the next of kin to provide a gift for those who will perform the rituals on their behalf for expenses to perform the pilgrimage.

“I hope those who offer haj by proxy do not cheat. Do not use religion for our gain, have fear of Allah,” he said.

Those interested in the haj by proxy are also advised to identify the performer’s identity and not just pay without checking because there are certain conditions set and it cannot simply be performed by just anyone.

He also advised the public not to be fooled by the promises of receiving certificates, Zamzam water and prayer rugs as proof of haj by proxy participation as these items can be purchased anywhere. Besides, there is no clear confirmation that haj by proxy can be performed during haj season this year.

— Bernama

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