1997 News Story

Preparations for 1998 pilgrimage already under way

Minister of Pilgrimage Dr. Mahmoud Muhammad Safar today conferred with visiting Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs Bu-Abdullah Ghulamullah, and later with a delegation from Turkey led by Chairman for Religious Affairs Muhammad Noori Yelmaz, to review the facilities extended by the government of Saudi Arabia to pilgrims coming for the Hajj [which falls in April in 1998].  In this connection, Dr. Safar referred to the instructions and regulations designed to make the pilgrimage easy and successful.

These instructions, issued by the Ministry of Pilgrimage last month, are given below.

  1. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi Ministry of Pilgrimage should be notified well in advance of the names of the members of official Hajj missions.
  2. Each Hajj mission should have two specific headquarters, one in Makkah and one in Madinah, the full addresses of which should be made known to the Ministry of Pilgrimage, to the organization of escorts (tawafa), and to the organization of guides, including the district, the street, the telephone number, and the names of both the official in charge and his deputy.
  3. All Hajj missions must comply with the quota of pilgrims agreed upon in the minutes of the meetings held with the Minister of Pilgrimage within the framework of the resolutions adopted by the 17th conference of foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) concerning arrangements for the number of pilgrims from each Islamic country.
  4. All pilgrims are urged to take advantage of the facility of travelers checks in Saudi riyals sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).
  5. Missions are asked to comply with the instructions concerning the organizing of Hajj affairs, especially during the distribution of accommodation for the pilgrims, to ensure that the men are housed separately from those women who are not accompanied by a muharram (chaperon).
  6. It is preferable that organizers of Hajj missions remain behind until the departure of the last group of their pilgrims, and that they provide the Ministry with the names of all their representatives.
  7. The Hajj missions must lodge any complaint with the concerned bodies at the Ministry as soon as any offense takes place, in order for it to be investigated and a solution reached.
  8. There should be coordination with the Unified Agents Office, and with the escort and guide organizations, concerning departure arrangements in accordance with a definite timetable.
  9. The concerned bodies to be contacted by the official missions are as follows:
    a) in Jeddah, the Minister's office, the General Directorate for Pilgrims, and the Unified Agents Office;
    b) in Makkah, the agency of the Ministry of Pilgrimage, the Hajj directorate, and the organizations concerned with pilgrim affairs;
    c) in Madinah, the Hajj directorate, and the organizations concerned with pilgrim affairs.
  10. Finally:
    • Missions must coordinate with the Unified Agents Office in Jeddah for the collection of service charges and transportation fees.
    • Missions must coordinate with the organization of escorts (tawafa) concerning the reception of pilgrims, their accommodation in Makkah and the other holy sites, and their transportation to Jeddah and/or Madinah at the end of the Hajj rituals in accordance with Hajj regulations.
    • Missions must coordinate with the organization of guides concerning the reception of pilgrims in Madinah before or after the rituals and organizing accommodation and departure.
    • If necessary, representatives of the Hajj missions can go to the pilgrims assembly center at the Ministry for coordination with the Hajj directorates.
    • The Hajj missions have the right to report to the officials of the Ministry of Pilgrimage their opinions and proposals with the aim of implementing those which could serve the common interest.
    The Minister of Pilgrimage urges all Muslim countries to demonstrate cooperation, to launch awareness campaigns to inform pilgrims on religious and health affairs concerning Hajj, and to distance themselves from all acts that might jeopardize the Hajj rituals.