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Author Topic: Hajj companies in UK?  (Read 1081 times)
Anonymous
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« on: Jan 05, 2012 04:06 AM »


I just wanted to ask if anyone know of good Hajj companies in UK, especially with re. tents & close to the Jamaraat etc which are reasonably priced?
I am restricted in terms of price due to other family members going, ideally around £3000's or so. We're prepared to book early (like now Smiley for early bird discounts...).  Need to have English speaking Sheikhs etc.
If possible if any sisters have had a good experience with a certain operator when performing Hajj, please DO reply, as our group has quite a lot of women Insha'Allah. All personal recommendations of Haji's on the board are most welcome.

Jazakallah Khair

ps: if this is wrong place to post, admin please move it.
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moderatesufi
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 05, 2012 12:28 PM »

Ask people you know who already went hujj and compare the prices for the services you get.

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BrKhalid
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 05, 2012 01:39 PM »

Asalaamu Alaikum bro

Quote
I just wanted to ask if anyone know of good Hajj companies in UK, especially with re. tents & close to the Jamaraat etc which are reasonably priced?
I am restricted in terms of price due to other family members going, ideally around £3000's or so. We're prepared to book early (like now  for early bird discounts...)

It’s nice to hear of someone looking to book their Hajj trip early!

Usually everyone waits around during the year and there’s a huge panic after Ramadhan bro


I started writing a piece about the factors to look for when booking a Hajj trip last year but got stuck in a quagmire of detail because there is so much that you need to look into. Perhaps this thread could be a useful kick start to getting this information out there.

In respect of the tents close to Jamaraat, every nation is categorised into different zones during Hajj and the ‘European’ camp is actually a long way away from the Jamaraat in Mina (3km) so it usually takes a 2 hour round trip to do your stoning from your camp especially when you factor in the crowds etc.

There are some tour operators who do not use the European camp facilities and use their own VIP tents nearer to the Jamaraat but obviously this will add significantly to the £ost!!

As for booking early, most operators visit Saudi in the spring/summer to finalise their accommodation and travel arrangements so most won’t be able to quote you a price for Nov 2012 until perhaps Apr/May?

As a rough guide, the most basic of basic Hajj package is about £2,500 for 3 weeks and I certainly would not recommend that for anyone beyond single people who are relatively young and in good health.
Luxury packages can be as much as £10,000 with the remainder being something in between. If you go as a family, it is unlikely you will be able to get much of a discount but at least the room sharing with others may be reduced since the operator may be able to fit all of you guys into one room.


I hope that has helped somewhat Anon but by all means feel free to post more questions and we would be happy to answer them since there are a quite a few of us now who have been to Hajj Alhamdulillah. bro
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Baji
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 06, 2012 10:29 AM »

salaams,

I am also looking into Hajj this year..... the first time my husband and I tried we were told 3 days before we were due to fly that we didn't have Visa's after a long struggle (alhamdulillah I checked ATOL registration) we got our money back.. now 6 years later we are trying again inshaAllah...

If you go to the Hajj Ministry's site they have a list of travel agents authorised with them for getting visa's. The safest is probably to use one of these however even if they are on this list i would still recommend that you check and make sure that they are Atol registered so that God forbid if anything should happen you can get your money back.

Br Khalid is right actually a lot of the people i called are out in saudi at the moment finalising deals with hotels etc and will have prices by end of Feb InshaAllah for different levels of packages.

Question from me: I travel to Saudi for business a couple of times a year has anyone ever gone out with a group but then had their own accomodation whilst out there joining back for Arafat/Mina Etc....

Jazaks

Baji
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BrKhalid
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 06, 2012 02:19 PM »

Asalaamu Alaikum bro

Below is an extract of the guide I was trying to put together last year.

InshaAllah it will be useful and I can finish it off and then post it properly in our Road to Makkah section.





With the season of Hajj already upon us and with people busy making plans to go, I thought I would share my thoughts on making the trip and inshaAllah pass on some useful practical information.

By no means I am trying to be exhaustive in what I intend to write but, inshaAllah, it will help provide an insight for
those going as well be a means of reference for those intending to go in the future.

There are many people on the board who have been to Hajj and Umrah so please share your own thoughts/opinions/experiences bro


For the sake of presentation I am splitting this piece into two parts. Part I will deal with issues associated with choosing a Hajj Package and things to look out for whilst Part II will discuss some practical tips which, inshaAllah, will help make life easier when actually performing Hajj.


The fiqh of Hajj is an extensive topic in itself and is completely outside the scope of this endeavour but is obviously
something everyone should be fimiliar with before setting out on the journey.






Part I

Comparing Hajj Packages



So Ramadhan is over and with that increased sense of optimism and energy which comes from the month you suddenly say to
yourself this is the year I am going to perform my Hajj. You eagerly make some initial enquiries and pick up leaflets from
different agents but it is information overload and you suddenly realise that you have no idea what they are offering
or how you are going to choose!!

Fret not, the Madina Guide to Hajj Packages is here bro


"Not the same"

The first thing to say is that Hajj packages can be wildly different for a number of reasons which
may not be at all obvious to someone undertaking the journey for the first time.

Nowadays you can choose a basic Hajj package which pretty much gives you accommodation and nothing else to 5 star deluxe
trips which cater for your every whim.

The type of package a person chooses will obvious be governed by factors such as preference, budget etc but the following
is a list of factors which should help in making this choice.



1. Price


Price is usually (but not always) a good indication of the quality of a Hajj package.

From the UK in 2010/1431, basic Hajj packages were approximately £2,500 per person (pp) with the 5 star packages passing
£10,000pp. There are numerous reasons why there is such a differential in price (which we will discuss below) but it
is important to note that if one is on a limited budget there are many areas where one can save money and still have
a peaceful and rewarding Hajj.


2. Length of stay

This may seem an obvious point but check how long you will actually be away for!!

Standard Hajj packages from the West tend to be around 3 weeks although there are an increasing number which last only for a
fortnight and cater for people who have limited holidays.


3. Hotels

This is probably the biggest cost element of any Hajj package especially in the current climate where there is huge
redevelopment work being undertaken around Masjid al Haram and hotels are becoming temporarily scarce.

Deluxe packages will include 4/5 star hotels right next to the Masjids in Makkah and Madinah for the duration of your stay.

Given that at peak times it can take 30 minutes just to get in and out of the Masjid, having a hotel just outside is a
*huge* advantage.

Ask your operator how many minutes walk the hotels are away from the Masjid and try and research their location on the
internet since 'Hajj operator walking time' and 'normal walking time' can vary quite significantly Wink


A growing trend amongst operators at present, due to the lack of accommodation in Makkah, is to have people stay in Aziziah
during the days of Hajj and then moving them to Makkah after when people start leaving and prices fall.


Aziziah is approximately 2-3 miles away from Masjid al Haram but more importantly is on the other side of one of the mountain
ranges which overlook the Kabah.

Depending where you are in Aziziah it can take anything between 30-60 mins (sometimes more) by car/taxi/van to get to the
Masjid because of traffic and brave souls wishing to walk can expect journey times of between 1-2 hours depending again on
location and how fast you can walk!!

Be warned, attending every single prayer in Masjid Al Haram is very difficult if you are staying in Aziziah so if this is
important to you speak with your operator. Unfortunately there are many agents who do not make this point explicit in their
promotional literature so please check!!

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BrKhalid
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 06, 2012 03:14 PM »

Asalaamu Alaikum bro

Quote
Question from me: I travel to Saudi for business a couple of times a year has anyone ever gone out with a group but then had their own accommodation whilst out there joining back for Arafat/Mina Etc....

Theoretically you could go out as a group and stay somewhere different in Makkah/Madina but you would probably need to clear this with your operator since he will be responsible for your welfare whilst you are in Saudi.

Remember, however, you will need a Hajj visa and not a normal business visa in order to perform Hajj and that all passports whilst you stay in Makkah and then Madinah are not actually held by you or your Hajj operator but by the local Hajj office for your entire group.


InshaAllah I hope you guys are able to make it this year and let us know how your preparations go bro
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ume bilal
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 08, 2012 11:43 PM »

Dear Br Khalid,
I am resident in the UK and would like to perform Umrah and Insha Allah if Allah wills next year Haj.

I am hesitant about Haj as it now falls in the hot season, I do not tolerate the heat and suffer from serious vomiting when it is very hot. Added to that my husband has a bladder problem and would be unable to stand in toilet queues.
In view of these problems I have been thinking about performing Umrah in the cooler period.
As most of the organised tours are in the warmer weather, Do you think it would be feasible to book direct flights and hotels and hope to find a guide / leader who would guide us through the rituals?
Thanking you in advance.
Ma Salama.
Ume Bilal
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BrKhalid
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 10, 2012 05:43 PM »

Asalaamu Alaikum bro

Quote
As most of the organised tours are in the warmer weather, Do you think it would be feasible to book direct flights and hotels and hope to find a guide / leader who would guide us through the rituals?

Officially people have to go via a tour operator to perform either Hajj or Umrah and it certainly helps when obtaining a visa.

Unless you know what you are doing, I would not recommend ‘going on your own’.

That said, there are many Umrah tours which now take place in Jan/Feb which is off peak and also a lot cooler in Saudi so you may want to enquire into those.
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Baji
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 10, 2012 06:11 PM »

I thought Umrah Visa's were not "Re - openend" until Feb???

Baji
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Cinders
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 10, 2012 06:42 PM »

Assalamu Alaiykum, I have had the intention to go for the last few years, however always something turns up or some other problem, hence haven't managed to go.

If I was to go this year, I would want to go on the 'express' packages as I have children. The least amount of days, the better.

Back to the original post & sticking to the topic. So does anyone recommend any good Hajj companies where they've had excellent or very good service?

A friend went recently & isn't sure her Hajj is accepted, because her tour operator's Sheikh didn't tell the sisters when or where to make intention for Hajj Sad . (Not trying to scare anyone, but I fear this kind of stuff especially when sisters & brothers get seperated during the certain Hajj rites).

My sister's family went with a firm called Aftatours I think, ( they are based in West London) who deal with the high end 5* packages. She had very high praise for them as an operator. They will release prices around February time. They focus a lot on location too with VIP tents etc, and hotel being very close to the Ka'bah.

3 years ago, they paid around £5000 each for 2 weeks. I assume the prices have increased much more now.

Ma'Salam,
Cinders
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salaampeaceshalom
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 12, 2012 10:12 PM »

A friend went recently & isn't sure her Hajj is accepted, because her tour operator's Sheikh didn't tell the sisters when or where to make intention for Hajj Sad .

Maashaa'Allaah I find that really shocking.  Before you enter anything in the religion, be it marriage, be it the state of ihraam for Hajj and ^Umrah, etc etc, one has to learn about the matter first so that one knows the obligations that need to be fulfilled and to ensure that the matter will be done according to the religion and therefore for it to be valid and accepted.  Most tour groups or even Mosques give sessions before people leave on what one has to do in order for one's Hajj to be valid.  Anyone looking to go should either ask the tour guide for this info or a Mosque.  Alhumdulilah before we went we spent two months learning about the integrals and the sunnahs of Hajj, and then just before we left the last session was a summary that was repeated at least three times, on the basis that we had already covered the information in depth.  That was really useful because the summary sessions helped consolidate and simplify things for me alhumdulilah.  Also, there will be times where you may be end up separate from your group, and when that happened, I didn't feel so panicked because I knew more or less what I had to do because alhumdulilah we'd taken this info before we got there.

Also, one of the things I really valued was that in the sessions we were told over and over again to be patient with other Muslims during Hajj.  When I was there I know there were times that I became exacerbated with other pilgrims but I truly believe that if the mantra of being patient with others hadn't been repeated to me over and over again for weeks on end, I would have struggled so much more.  Now this is the same piece of advise I give to others because I had found it so beneficial to be drummed into me before I left.

Take care.
 
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