What is Haj and How to Register for Haj in Singapore
What is Haj?
Under the religious practice of Islam, Muslims observe the Five Pillars of Islam in order to live a good and responsible life. Haj is one of the pillars and it requires able Muslims to perform the annual pilgrimage in Mecca at least once in their lifetime.
Able Muslims include those who have the financial and physical means to do so, provided the journey to Mecca is safe for them.
Haj takes place over 5 – 6 days, specifically, on the 8th to 13th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar.
In Singapore, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) overlooks the registration procedures for Haj pilgrims (persons who are travelling to Mecca for Haj).
What is the Haj Quota in Singapore?
The Haj quota generally stands at about 0.1% of the Muslim population in Singapore and is restricted to a yearly quota of 900 pilgrims.
However, the quota may change every year depending on the allotment by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
What is the Eligibility Criteria to Perform Haj?
To be eligible for Haj, the following criteria must be met:
- You are a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident; and
- You are at least 18 years of age. If you are below 18 years old, one of your parents or legal guardians must apply for Haj together with you.
Generally, prospective pilgrims must be physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially ready to perform haj.
The process of Haj allocation and arrangements can be summarised in the following 3 main steps:
How to Register for Haj
Pilgrims can either do an individual or group registration (up to 10 persons and submitted by a representative) of their intention to perform Haj. The registration system works on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration can be done via the MyHajSG portal. The application fee is $285.00 per applicant from 1 January 2024 till 31 December 2025. The fee will increase to $330.00 from 1 January 2026.
Limited Balloting Scheme (LBS)
A limited balloting scheme (LBS), which is integrated into the MyHajSG portal, is available to those who wish to increase their chances of being offered a spot to perform haj.
To be eligible for the balloting scheme, you must:
- Be performing the haj for the first time;
- Be registered in the Advance Haj Registration System (AHRS) between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2017; and
- Meet Saudi Arabia’s criteria, which may include age and health requirements.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, Muis will invite you via SMS and email to register for the balloting exercise within a stipulated timeline.
The registration fee is $75.00 for applicants in 2024 and will be increased to $100 subsequently.
I have Performed Haj Before. Is it Possible for Me to Register for Haj Again?
As a general rule of thumb, you may register for Haj again after 10 years from your last Haj. However, only 10% of the Haj quota will be granted to repeat applicants. For instance, if the Haj quota is 900, only 90 slots will be reserved for repeaters.
Repeat applicants are also not eligible to register for the additional places offered through the balloting scheme above.
Step 2: Confirmation of Haj Application Outcome
Notice to Perform Haj
Successful applicants will receive a notification letter via MyHajSG system alert, SMS, and email.
Upon receiving this letter, you should ensure that you respond within the stipulated time to confirm the approval. Otherwise, MUIS has the right to cancel the approval granted.
A registration may be refused for a few reasons, including but not limited to the following:
- The registration was not done in accordance with MUIS’ guidelines and requirements. This includes situations where the Haj administration fee was not paid, or where the application form was not properly filled in.
- The registration was not done in accordance with the rules and regulations set out by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- The application contains false or misleading information.
Step 3: Engaging a Travel Agent
Once your Haj application has been granted, you will need to then pick a Haj package, which covers your accommodation and tour for the duration of your stay.
Every year, MUIS appoints specific travel agents to offer Haj packages. Only MUIS-appointed travel agents are allowed to provide Haj services. Hence, it would be illegal for pilgrims to appoint travel agents other than the ones MUIS approved.
Additionally, you should refrain from making any payments to the travel agents until you receive the Haj Package Selection Letter from MUIS.
The importance of choosing a Haj package from the appointed travel agents cannot be understated. In 2018, 80 pilgrims were cheated out of $98,250 after buying scam Haj packages from a man who managed a local tour agency.
For this, he could be fined and jailed for up to 10 years. In light of this, you should pay attention to the list of appointed travel agents to avoid such scams.
Postponing or Cancelling My Haj Application
If you would like to defer your Haj to another year, MUIS may or may not grant the deferment depending on the availability of quota. Deferment may only be made once.
If you wish to cancel your application either before or after approval has been granted, you may apply to MUIS to do so.
Additionally, if you have been granted a deferment but are unable to perform Haj in the year that your performance of the Haj has been deferred to, your approval will be deemed cancelled.
Will I be Refunded for Cancelled Applications?
Upon cancellation, you will not receive any refunds.
You should consider planning early in order to realise and fulfil your Haj obligation. This is especially in light of the limited Haj quota. Hopefully, the steps above have provided you with a clearer outline of what to expect for Haj registration in Singapore.
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