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Singapore pilgrims can perform Haj this year, with quota of 407 places granted

Singapore pilgrims can perform Haj this year, with quota of 407 places granted

FILE PHOTO: Muslims pray around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque complex in the Saudi city of Mecca, during the fasting month of Ramadan, on Apr 9, 2022. (AFP/Abdel Ghani Bashir)

SINGAPORE: Muslims in Singapore can perform the Haj this year, with the country given a quota of 407 out of the 850,000 places for international pilgrims. 

Saudi Arabia announced earlier in April that it will allow one million Muslims from within and outside the country to participate in this year's Haj, a sharp increase after two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

Each country is granted about 45 per cent of their previous official pre-pandemic quota, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) on Tuesday (Apr 26).

For Singapore, the quota is 407, which is down from the previous figure of 900.

The pilgrimage will be limited to vaccinated Muslims aged below 65, as previously announced by Saudi Arabia.

They are also required to submit a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of their departure to the kingdom. 

PLACES WILL BE RE-ALLOCATED 

Given the deferment of Haj for Singaporean pilgrims in the past two year, MUIS said it will re-allocate the limited quota to those who were supposed to perform the pilgrimage in 2020 and who now meet the conditions and requirements for Haj 2022. 

"All other pilgrims who are in the Advance Haj Registration System will be automatically moved in the queue to perform Haj in subsequent years," said MUIS.

"All pilgrims’ eligibility to perform every year is subject to conditions and requirements mandated by the relevant Saudi authorities." 

MUIS said it has contacted pilgrims who were affected by the deferment of Haj in 2020 and 2021, as part of efforts to get prospective pilgrims to prepare early.

"Those who have yet to reply to MUIS are requested to do so by Apr 29, failing which they will be automatically moved in the queue for subsequent years," it added.

MUIS said it will announce the list of approved Haj travel agents and package prices on May 4.

It is also confirming the final list of pilgrims who are able to meet the conditions and requirements for this year's Haj.

Formal letters of offer will be issued on May 5, MUIS said, adding that eligible pilgrims will be notified via SMS informing them to check their email for details on the collection of their offer letter.

PREPARING FOR HAJ

Upon accepting their offer from MUIS, pilgrims are required to purchase their Haj packages from an approved travel agent within three calendar days. 

Pilgrims are "strongly encouraged" to purchase travel insurance that covers their medical expenses in Saudi Arabia, trip cancellation and trip curtailment should they be unable to travel if they fail their PCR test.

Pilgrims who are allocated a place for Haj are also advised to prepare the following travel documents before purchasing their packages: 

  • A valid passport with six months validity before the departure date
  • A colour passport photo measure 4cm by 6cm
  • Their COVID-19 vaccination certificate, generated via notarise
  • A Meningococcal meningitis vaccination certificate
  • A seasonal influenza vaccination certificate (recommended)

"MUIS hopes that the resumption of Haj for international pilgrims, including Singaporean pilgrims will be the most spiritual period of their lives, filled with blessings and forgiveness from Allah SWT," said the religious authority.

Source: CNA/lk(gs)

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