Oman's Awqaf and Religious Affairs Ministry announces e-registration for Haj pilgrimage

Business Wednesday 17/February/2016 22:10 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman's Awqaf and Religious Affairs Ministry announces e-registration for Haj pilgrimage

Muscat: Pilgrims should only register through the e-system of the ministry in order to perform Haj pilgrimage this year, 1437 AH, the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs announced yesterday on Twitter.
The ministry also warned that any other method of registration will not be accepted anymore and therefore will not be approved.
Explaining the way registration in the Haj system works, the ministry said pilgrims will need to enter their civil number into the online database.
The ministry also tweeted that pilgrims will have the chance to choose the Haj campaign that suits them better as the system will show the details of the campaign and the services provided by the campaign organiser. The campaign organiser will also get a chance to compete to provide better services and rates.
Several news reports were published some years back about the high cost of the Haj campaign and also poor services provided by organisers.
Sayyid Hamad bin Harib Al Busaidi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, inaugurated this morning the media campaign for Haj season 1437 AH, and an awareness raising campaign for the Haj e-Registration System for persons interested in getting a seat in the Sultanate’s Haj quota.
Dr. Mohammed bin Said Al Ma’amari, the scientific adviser at the ministry, said during a press conference that the inauguration of this media campaign comes within the context of the ministry’s attention to Haj and to facilitate it for citizens.
He said the ministry will organise a large number of awareness campaigns, both with regards to Islamic rulings, and a registration system or travel mechanism, in addition to medical and regulatory aspects of the Haj season this year, pointing out that the system incorporates all licensed campaigns by the ministry.
He added that the system fulfils a number of objectives, including: the new vision of the ministry, which coincides with the aspirations of the citizens to open competition for Haj quota allocated to the Sultanate, gives priority to those who have never been to Haj, gives an opportunity to pilgrims to choose an appropriate campaign or the company in terms of services and prices and facilitate performance of Haj rituals.
Dr. Al Ma’amari said the system facilitates registration of citizens, who wish to perform Haj through the electronic system.
It also provides an opportunity to the owners of campaigns and companies in competition to provide the best offers and services.
He further said the system is intended to facilitate the process of selecting the campaign electronically with the knowledge of the details of the provided services, financial cost, the flight route and the travel method.
It also aims to spare the pilgrims from registration with fake and non-licensed campaigns by having registration only through the portal of the ministry.
The system includes three ways to register from next mid-March, namely through the introduction of a civil number, the use of a personal smart card through the card reader or through the use of a smart phone card enhanced by the electronic certification system.
Last year, a number of Haj pilgrims were sent back from Saudi Arabia for not being registered at the ministry.
Fake and unauthorised campaigns fooled the public and provided them with fake permits, which were legally questioned and further legal actions were taken against them.
The ministry issued 11,200 Haj permits last year. Such registration records the mode of transport of pilgrims to Mecca and their residential address in Medina or Mecca.
It was also decided earlier that pilgrims have to register and collect their permits directly from the ministry, which insisted that they should register and collect their permits themselves allowing them to decide to choose one of the approved Haj campaigns started by the ministry.
Welcoming the move, the public responded positively to the news through social media. -With inputs from ONA