In Saudi Arabia, the Hajj Authorities are becoming more strict concerning the safety of those pilgrims performing the once in a life time journey and rituals.1 Muslims throughout the world are expected to perform the Hajj once in their lifetimes, if they are able to afford it. The Hajj Minister of the Saudi Kingdom keeps a tight grip on the pilgrims able to enter the country depending on the amount of permits issued.1 Saudi security authorities have arrested over 17,000 people until Friday for attempting to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage without a permit, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.2 The director of Public Security and Head of the Hajj Security Committee, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Al-Bassami, said a total of 17, 615 people were arrested, including 9,509 violators of residency work and border security regulations and organizers of 105 fake Hajj campaigns in various regions of the country.3
All this shows the Saudi regime is taking a strict and zero tolerance approach to those who operate Hajj tours outside the Kingdom’s legal boundaries.4 Now most of those arrested will face public prosecution.5
Anyone caught transporting people without a permit for the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia is subject to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to $13,332 (50,000 riyals), the country’s General Directorate of Public Security warned on Tuesday.
The fine will multiply depending on the number of people illegally transported.
Perpetrators’ vehicles are likely to be confiscated, and expatriates offenders will be deported and banned from entering the country.
The directorate urged the public to report any suspected violators to the police.
Residents of Saudi Arabia who do not have entry permits have been banned from entering Mecca by security control points starting from May 15.
Authorities have been instructed to only allow entry to those who work in the holy sites and have entry permits, those who have a resident’s identity card issued by Mecca, and those who have an Umrah permit or a pilgrimage permit. (Illegal Hajj guides face 6 months in prison and $13,332 fine)
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Rasulullah ﷺ said, ” Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter.”
The reason why the security around the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages has become so strict is because of the danger of con artists trying to manipulate the pilgrims to their own advantage. Also there is a risk of some or most pilgrims coming back more than once, when they should be performing this pilgrimage only once or twice after five years. This serves to give other pilgrims a chance to perform the Hajj. Thousands converge every year to perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage of Ibrahim (ALahisalaam) on his way to supposedly sacrifice his son, but was commanded by Allah ta ala to sacrifice a ram instead. The monitoring and security of the pilgrims and the holy sites of Mecca and Medina are very difficult to maintain during these times.
The Saudi authorities have had difficulty due to the risk of militancy and illegal tours to maintain a safe and legal tour around the Hejaz province of Mecca and Medina. This is why they have taken such a stern approach to the illegal operations creeping up over the Hajj pilgrimage.