What is the state of the Ummah if our own leaders are unjust in their dealings with us, one may ask?Surely we should be invited as the guests of ALLAH SWT through a warm welcome and full of gratitude by our leaders in the peninsula. For this we only ask as Muslims, a fair price to be able to travel and perform our obligations,is this too much to ask?
Lets get to the nitty gritty and maybe you can judge for yourselves.
A normal Umrah Visa according to todays market would cost a pilgrim between £85 - £100 as long as they are not travelling during Ramadhan, where the fees can go up by a further £50. We at Ibadah Tours offer pilgrims Visas for a mere £70, why? We don't do it to undercut other agents who are working hard, nor do we do it for any financial gains. Our brand is based on the ideology of saving costs for anyone travelling to the Holy Lands. We feel privileged when we can help others perform their duties and not worry about inflated prices, wether or not they can save up enough funds or any logistical issues. Our main aim is for our clients to concentrate on exactly what they are travelling for, their Ibadah. We speak on behalf of other respectable agents who are also trying their best to minimise their costs in order to get pilgrims into the most rewarding and virtuous of places, we know how hard this can be. However the challenge of accomplishing this task is what we thrive on, the reward for us is with our Creator and what a merciful Creator HE is.
So the jist of it all is, all us protected Agents in the UK try our utmost best to continuously promote the benefits of performing Umrah to our many brothers and sisters out here in the UK as well as the rest of the world, through reminders, social media interaction, late nights in and out of the office, ensuring at all times we meet the requirements of our clients and thus provide them with the best services available to them.Then like an erupting mountain we hear the sad news that the Saudi Government have issued a rule that would in turn keep a large percentage of regular travellers to the region away. The rule which states that anyone wishing to re-enter the country for Umrah within a 2-3 year period from 1438 on the Hijri Calendar will have to pay a an extra 2000 Riyals (approx £405.00) in order to obtain a Visa. This ruling as far as we know does not effect Hajj Pilgrims.
It hurts us knowing that many pilgrims gain a beneficial and positive attachment to the Holiest of Lands, therefore sacrifice other destinations yearly to continuously visit the two Holy Mosques, SubhanAllah, we only pray and hope the whole Ummah had this love for the Holy Cities.
So why are our very own leaders who are well versed on how rewarding it is to Welcome the guests of ALLAH SWT turning their backs on us by charging these excessive amounts? Surely it is better for one to help another complete the Holy Rituals in the best of ways and mannerisms?
قُلۡ اِنَّمَاۤ اَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثۡلُكُمۡ يُوۡحٰٓى اِلَىَّ اَنَّمَاۤ اِلٰهُكُمۡ اِلٰـهٌ وَّاحِدٌ ۚ فَمَنۡ كَانَ يَرۡجُوۡالِقَآءَ رَبِّهٖ فَلۡيَـعۡمَلۡ عَمَلًا صَالِحًـاوَّلَايُشۡرِكۡ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهٖۤ اَحَدًا
"So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” [Quran 18:110]
A little more aggravating information for you, these charges are not only for UK pilgrims, but Worldwide. So now just imagine a poor Pakistani,Bengali,Somali,Indian,Palestinian family who have struggled for years to be able to afford this Journey and now they cannot travel. This is the heartache that many brothers and sisters will suffer through the decisions of a rich few individuals.
We ask you brothers and sisters to make sincere Duah that they turn back on this ruling just as they did last year. Us agents and our clients have suffered before when they created this rule and our clients were still happy to pay as all the other aspects of the booking were complete, to then come back and hear a few days later that the ruling had changed back is not a great way to build relations with our respected clients, therefore some of us Agents returned the fee to the clients, losing out ourselves in turn.We ask you to sign any petitions you may see with regards to this topic, in order for the officials to overturn this decision. Please forward this link to your friends and family so they are also informed and aware of this breaking news. The change may not happen but at least you will have done your bit to raise the awareness on this matter.
On a lighter note we would like to inform all clients as a reminder not to be too disheartened as in a way through your savings In Sha Allah many of you will now consider travel to Masjid Al Aqsa, for where the reward of performing Salah is immense, the first Qibla, the Land of the Ambiya A.S, the most Historical of places. The grounds where our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW led Salah for all the other Messengers A.S. These are the planes where we will be resurrected on the day of Judgement.
It was narrated that Maimunah the freed (female) slave of the Prophet ﷺ said:
I said: “O Messenger of Allah, tell us about Baitil- Maqdis.” He said: “It is the land of the Resurrection and the Gathering. Go and pray there, for one prayer there is like one thousand prayers elsewhere.” I said: “What if I cannot travel and go there?” He said: “Then send a gift of oil to light its lamps, for whoever does that is like one who goes there.”
Please consider visiting Masjid Al Aqsa, we at Ibadah Tours visit every couple of months and each time we go there is something new that captures our hearts, truly the Land of Palestine is blessed. Please feel free to browse and have a look at our latest Umrah and Al Aqsa offers by simply clicking on Packages at the top of the navigation menu. We ask ALLAH SWT to continuously invite us as pilgrims to the Holiest of Lands and accept our Ibadah.May all you readers, your family and friends be blessed with happiness and success in this life and the next. Ameen Regards Ibadah Tours Ltd