Mumbai: Haj and Umrah tour operators have been fleecing unsuspecting pilgrims to the holy cities of Mecca and Madina. For a long time now, tour operators are swindling unsuspecting citizens in the name of providing services for Hajj and Umrah.
Though many tour operators do not have such selfish motives and some are actually in the field for selfless services, these are the ones the few swindlers hide behind to dupe customers.
Those most susceptible to be duped are the gullible Muslims, mostly from poorer background. Last year a number of such cases were brought to light. But it seems to be a tough battle against these scamsters as law enforcement is rather very poor in our part of the world, and such people get away by bribing officials.
Last year, some action was taken against a few such people, but it didn’t deter others.
Recently, ‘Ridas India’ named tour operating service was launched in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. This tour operator is offering Umrah at a mere cost of INR 22,500. The expense of plane tickets, stay and other travelling expenses alone amount to some 50,000 to 60,000 per person and this is what being charged by other tour and travel companies.
The difference in the cost makes Ridas appear fishy. The company is further offering to select the names of customers being sent on tour by draw of lots and customers who do not make it to the final list of passengers will be fully refunded. Those who did not make it to the list of selected passengers, but still want to travel, would have to further submit INR 35,000 to make it to the Umrah tour next year.
But there are many who claim that the company will shut shot and disappear before the refund actually takes place. The company further claims to invest the money submitted by the passengers on hold in some other undisclosed venture. But it is worth mention that there are hardly any investment options that take INR 22,500 to 57,5000 within just one year.
Besides, the tour company makes no mention of the investment being Halal or Haram, which is a prime concern for investors in this situation. Ridas, without disclosing actual details, claims to have consulted Ulemas while making use of the money and stresses the sole purpose of the Umrah trip offer is publicity and selflessness. But no names of Ulema were mentioned, nor any specific details or explanations offered by the company regarding the investment schemes.
Offers like this should be seen as a red flag by any hopeful for Umrah or Hajj in the near future in the locality, as well as in other places. It is the responsibility of the customers to be aware of the details that need to be checked before applying for Umrah or Hajj tours, not to mention the knowledge about what is allowed and not allowed according to Islam during Hajj or Umrah.
The purpose of Hajj and Umrah for any traveller is solely to please Allah. Therefore it is unwise to give in to such attractive schemes offered by fake people. One should especially be wary of any lucrative offers bundled with Umrah or Hajj tours. (Translated from Urdu Times)