Islamic Ministry to refund Hajj payments to companies

FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2019, file photo taken with a slow shutter speed, Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over fears of the global outbreak of the new coronavirus just months ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, a move coming as the Mideast has over 220 confirmed cases of the illness. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

Islamic Ministry has moved to refund payments to companies making arrangements for the Hajj pilgrimage in 2020 and to cancel the announcement made for applications for the purpose.

A statement by the Ministry read that the cancellation was because Maldives was not allocated a quota for the Hajj pilgrimage by the Saudi authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation in 2020. Only individuals residing in Saudi Arabia were permitted to take part in the holy pilgrimage this year.

Refunds will be made for companies that make arrangements for Hajj pilgrims. 18 companies paid more MVR 10,000 to register proposals.

The Maldives is usually allocated a quota of 1,000 by Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage.