Haj 2022: New booking system failures frustrate western Muslims

With just over two weeks to go for annual Haj pilgrimage 2022 to kickstart, several Muslims from Europe, United States and Australia have been left frustrated with the government’s online portal Motawif which was meant to make booking for the pilgrimage easier.

Hundreds of them have taken to the social media platform— Twitter to express their frustration with the massive failures in the application process.

Several Twitter users complained about payments not going through the portal. Although the money left their bank accounts, the booking failed.

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The decision to change Haj travel procedures for western Muslims has caused confusion for worshippers.

On June 7, Saudi Arabia’s Haj ministry announced that western Muslims will now have to use a company delegated by Saudi Arabia called Motawif to enter a draw called “automated lottery” for the chance to book a place on the Haj list.

An official draw was carried out between June 15 to 18, where eligible candidates were randomly selected. 

As per the Haj ministry, those selected will then be notified and will be expected to complete payment through Motawif’s online portal. Once the payment is accepted, e-visas will be issued, starting from June 17.

Pilgrims usually take months to prepare for the religious rituals associated with the pilgrimage, and to attend seminars to ensure that the Haj pilgrimage is properly completed. Under the new system, western pilgrims would only have days.

Here are the some of the complaints against Motawif platform

https://twitter.com/zebbie786/status/1538284405759913991?t=ej02owTuuA7TPAch67SCwA&s=19

The Haj is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world and is considered a religious duty that must be completed during the life of every healthy and affordable Muslim.

For this year’s Haj, one million worshipers will participate after it was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two years. In 2019, about 2.5 million pilgrims participated.

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