In UAE, Hajj companies have drastically increased their charges in last three years due to reduction in quota (more than 500% increase).
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
In UAE, Hajj companies have drastically increased their charges in last three years due to reduction in quota (more than 500% increase). The charges are now over 10 times those of Umrah for more or less same facilities and duration, although real costs are similar. The excess amount recovered this way is profit which is pocketed by the companies and their sponsors. They say that they need to have same profit as they were getting before the reduction. It is unfortunate that despite being a Muslim country, people in UAE are being forced to pay such amounts for performing a religious obligation. I do not think that even a non-Muslim country will be having such high charges This serves to make Hajj beyond reach of many, who would otherwise have afforded.
My questions are: 1) If we are able to afford, is it right to pay such high charges to Hajj companies, knowing that this is not their real cost or their reasonable profit. By paying this unjustified amount are we not encouraging an un-Islamic act of black marketing/profiteering. Further, there is a high possibility that this money will find its way into luxuries or un-Islamic activities. 2) Are the Hajj companies justified in doing so....... and can they keep on increasing without limit?
Since, bookings have started, I shall be grateful if you could reply at your earliest.
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Hajj Charges expensive
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verses 96-97:
Undoubtedly the first House of Worship ever to be built for mankind is the one which is at Makkah. It was blessed, and made the center of guidance for all the peoples. In it are clear Signs; there is a spot where Ibraheem used to worship; and it is the Santuary, and whoever enters it becomes safe and secure. Allah has, therefore, a right on the people that the one, who can afford to reach the House, should perform Hajj there. And the one who disobeys (this commandment should know that) Allah is Self-Sufficient, and does not stand in need of anyone.
Allah Subhanah has made the pilgrimage of Hajj obligatory on every sane, adult believer who has the financial and physical means to reach the House at least once in his lifetime. This pilgrimage of the Hajj is so sanctified that it is listed as one of the five pillars upon which the deen of Islam is built.
Beloved Sister in Islam, it is indeed true that there has been a substantial increase in Hajj costs in the past few years not only in the UAE but all over the world. Although we obviously do not possess the exact reasons for this substantial increase by the respective Hajj committees, the reasons often quoted for the increase are higher license fees charged by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, massive rent increases for the accommodation in Makkah and Madinah, increase in the rent of new and improved fire-proof tents for the organizers for the accommodation of pilgrims at Muna, reductions of quota by the Hajj ministry of Saudi Arabia, etc. Allah Subhanah Alone is aware of the exact reasons for the substantial increases in Hajj costs, and in the absence of any real legal reproach for the pilgrims, He Alone will determine whether or not the costs are justified on the Day of Judgment.
To the best of our knowledge the charges for Hajj range from US$2,500-US$5,000.00 per person in most developed countries depending on the number of days, the quality of the accommodation and food provided, etc. Beloved Sister, to put things in perspective, if one compares the cost of full travel+full accommodation+full food for 10-15 days to any other major city in the world, it would be safe to assume that the disparity in costs between the two journeys would not be too substantial for the service which is being provided.
Your Question-1: If we are able to afford, is it right to pay such high charges to Hajj companies, knowing that this is not their real cost or their reasonable profit. By paying this unjustified amount are we not encouraging an un-Islamic act of black marketing/profiteering. Further, there is a high possibility that this money will find its way into luxuries or un-Islamic activities.
Beloved Sister, in the past the government of Saudi Arabia allowed the pilgrims who wished to perform Hajj on their own without the support of licensed Hajj organizers to do so, but for the past 5-7 years because of various and at times valid reasons of sanctity of immigration, safety and security, the government has permitted the pilgrims only to travel with licensed and organized groups. Thus today one who wishes to fulfill this obligatory duty of performing the pilgrimage of Hajj has no other option.
In our humble opinion, if one is able to afford the related expenses of the journey, and in the absence of any other option, one must fulfill their obligatory duty unto their Lord and perform the pilgrimage to the Sacred House at least once in their lifetime and leave the judgment of whether the costs are justified or not, or whether these costs represent black marketeering, or whether the funds will finds its way into luxuries or un-Islamic activities, etc., is in the Hands of the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord to be decided on the Day of Judgment.
If one is unable to afford the journey, then obviously the Hajj pilgrimage is not obligatory upon them according to Shariah Law and in the Sight of Allah Subhanah.
Your Question-2: Are the Hajj companies justified in doing so....... and can they keep on increasing without limit?
Beloved Sister in Islam, we obviously neither have the information nor the authority to determine whether or not the Hajj companies are justified or unjustified regarding the costs they charge to the pilgrims for the Hajj pilgrimage. The truth is that there are several public and private companies who are licensed by their respective governments to take the pilgrims to Hajj, and each have determined their own costs according to the level of accommodation, food, and services they wish to provide to the pilgrims.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,