The new portal will make it easy to see where you are on the list for accreditation for Hajj Photo Pexels
South Africa – The South African Haj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) have launched a new portal. The dynamic portal is designed to make it easier for people to see their registration for the upcoming Hajj.
The list is designed to make visible only those who are accredited for the year 1444 or 2023. The purpose of this list is to ensure there is structure and that multiple lists are not released during the Hajj period, said Shaheen Essop, President of SAHUC.
“With Hajj being in June/July, it gives an indication that I now need to start doing preparations … but essentially all this means is it’s giving you an indication or a look through in terms of where your position is in the queue and whether you would be eligible should we get a quota of 3000 … That is essentially where this dynamic portal comes from and what’s its purpose.”
The Dynamic Registration portal is unique in the sense that one’s position can move up or down depending on the circumstances. Whether it be through queries or something else, one can find themselves moving up or down the list.
“Your position in the queue may change. Hence it’s called the Dynamic Registration list. The dynamism of this list is through queries that are being entertained or looked at, one’s position can go up or down in the list.”
First come, first serve
The list is based on a first come, first serve basis. Those who apply first, even if they deferred before Covid, will be higher on the accreditation list than someone who applies after them. You are slotted into the queue according to the date and time your application was made.
“In order to be fair to everybody, date and time priority of application takes place. If a person deferred in 2019/20, that person will move forward to the year of deferment according to the date and time of that applicant … That is the fairness and the transparency and the equality that the system and the queue provides.”
The wait time to get accredited for Hajj
There is an extensive wait time before you are accredited for Hajj. The normal waiting period was around five years but with the pandemic, it worsened. South Africa has a large Muslim population but its qouta is relatively small which only aggravates the waiting time.
“The first thing is people don’t realise when they apply it gives them an objective goal. That goal is basically to ensure that you are going to perform pilgrimage … Unfortunately, with Covid in 2020 and 2021, it certainly has put us back quite considerably. We were looking, prior to Covid, between five and six years. It has now gone up to 8 or 10 years … We do have a very small quota and that’s based on the number of Muslims in our country. It’s unfortunate we don’t have a quota of five or seven thousand because it would help.”
The likelihood of the situation changing
The situation in the past was very much different. If one wanted to go for Hajj, all they needed was the means to go and they could. They could leave on a whim. However, times have changed. Islam has spread to every continent and with so many Muslims ready to perform Hajj, the current system needs to be in place.
“If one looks at the space in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and specifically the space in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah and the surrounding areas, you look at the number of people that can perform Hajj … There’s 40 million people that are eligible to go for Haj at any given time. . In fact the 2030 vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alludes to the fact that they want to see five million people for Hajj in the year 2030. That in itself brings logistical nightmares.”
While the government has been trying to extend the boundaries of Mina, Ulama have told them it is impossible to do so. Now they are looking at building multi story buildings to house the growing number of people coming for Hajj. There is also the issue of space in the Haram for those to perform tawaf. These logistical issues need to be sorted out before 2030 if they wish to have five million people performing Haj.
At the moment, the age limit for those going to Hajj hasn’t been lifted. However, Essop doesn’t want people to lose hope. The Saudi government will meet in the next coming weeks and there is a possibility this restriction will be lifted. The official accreditation for pilgrims will only start after the quota is announced. In the next month or so operators will also receive their accreditation.