General Questions

How do I perform Umrah?
See section on Umrah on the website

How do I perform Hajj?
See section on The Rituals/Stages of the Hajj on the website

 

What is the difference between Umrah and Hajj?
Umrah may be performed at any time of the year, but Hajj should be performed during the month of Dhu'l-Hijjah every year.

 

Who is eligible to go on Umrah?
Only Muslims can enter Makkah and perform Umrah.

 

Who can perform Hajj?
An adult Muslim of a sane mind, an able body and having means to bear the expenses must perform Hajj once in his/her lifetime. Hajj is not obligatory for children, the sick, and those who cannot bear the costs.

 

How long does it take to perform Hajj?
Normally 5 to 6 days, but there are exceptions. See main section on The Rituals/Stages of the Hajj

 

How long does it take to perform Umrah?
A few hours. See main section on Rituals of Umrah.

What is the first thing that I should do to make a reservation for Hajj?
The first thing to do is choose a program that we offer, you can view the programs either on our website, or on our brochure available in our office. Once you choose a program, you may reserve your quota with us after paying full deposit or call Arqem for details.

 

What happens after I make a reservation and pay the deposit?
Once you have made a reservation and paid a deposit per person, if there is any additional information missing, you will be contacted by a sales representative to assist you in the remaining information needed to complete the reservation. After the reservation is complete, you will receive a confirmation via telephone, or email. 

 

After I receive my complete package with all finalized documents, what is next?
You must review all documents and confirmations to make sure there is no mistake in the arrangement made for you. If there are any mistakes please make sure to contact ARQEM as soon as possible so we may be able to correct it. Please note that this does not mean you can make changes in your reservation.

What is the significance of my ID card and luggage tags?
You will need to have your ID card on at all times starting from your departure from PAKISTAN until your departure back from Saudi Arabia. It is very important that you do so, so any ARQEM representative can recognize you and can assist you in any needs that you may require. The luggage tags are very valuable so the luggage can be identified throughout the trip.

Will any representative from ARQEM travel with us? 
Yes group leader & Chief Executive of Arqem Lahore (Pvt) Ltd. Mr. Zafar M. Choudhry or any one of director will accompany you throughout the trip.

 

Who provides the transportation to the hotel?
Arqem provides all the transportation.

How many people can stay in a room?
It will depend on type of package you choose generally there is a Maximum of six to four people per room at hotel or building in Makkah & Madina.

Do we charge kids for the hotel room?
Call Arqem for details.

How much is one room per night?
It depends on the type Hajj you choose. Call Arqem Hajj for details.

Do my children need the Meningitis vaccine?
If your child is 10 years or younger she/he does not need the vaccine.

 

For how many years is the vaccination valid?
The vaccine is valid for 3 years.

 

What kind of vaccination do we have to take?
Any Meningitis vaccine is valid. And any other required by K.S.A or W.H.O.

 

Where can I find Meningitis vaccine?
You can find it in any leading pharmacy chain, Arqem Hajj arranges meningitis vaccines for our travelers.

What kinds of clothing should I take with me to Saudi Arabia?

  • The essential thing is two or three sets of Ihram. The Ihram consists of two pieces of white plain cloth, either 100% cotton or light terry-cloth. These are cool to wear and also provide for better absorption of the heavy perspiration you will inevitably experience during Hajj.

  • Also take with you light and airy clothes for street wear. Take enough clothes to make your stay comfortable, but do not over-burden yourself with unnecessary clothes. Professional laundry facilities are available in Saudi Arabia. If going on Hajj during winter months, take some woolen clothing as the early mornings tend to be cool.

  • Take also three or four pairs of rubber slippers for use during Ihram, as well as couple of pairs of comfortable shoes or sandals for walking. Also take two large and two small towels.

  • You may also need sleeping bag for bedding, an inflatable pillow and thick sheets.

Where can I wash my clothes?
There are professional laundry services, but not that many coin-operated launderettes. Detergent to wash your light clothing is also available in the local market. 

What is the weather like in Makkah and Madinah?
It is very hot during summer months, with temperature reaching upper 40°C (100°F) during day. During winter times the weather is mild, but early mornings and late nights could be cold.

What is the time-difference in Makkah?
Standard time zone: UCT/GMT + 3 hours. No daylight saving time at the moment. 

What is the Saudi currency?
The Saudi riyal is the official currency of Saudi Arabia. Each riyal is composed of 100 hallalahs. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) issues banknotes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 riyals and coins in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 hallalahs. 
The riyal has been fixed against the U.S. dollar since 1986. One riyal equals 0.2267 dollars, and a dollar equals 3.7502 riyals.

Are there any banks in Makkah and Madinah?
There are branches of some big national and international banks in Makkah and Madinah.

What are the opening and closing hours of banks?
In Saudi Arabia the banks are usually open 9.00 am to 12.00 pm and 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm, Saturday to Wednesday. (Thursday mornings only).

Do banks change foreign currency?
Yes.

Do banks cash travelers' checks?
Travelers' checks could be cashed almost anywhere. Since your passport will be taken away for the duration of your stay by the Saudi authorities in Jeddah, the ID card issued by your Tawafa Establishment will be used for check cashing purposes. Make sure you have travelers checks 'Purchase Receipt' with you, as without it it will be harder to cash them in.


Health Related issues

Do I need any kind of vaccinations?
It is the requirement of Saudi Ministry of Health that all visitors should have a valid vaccination certificate against Meningococcal Meningitis The certificate must have been issued not more than three years and not less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia.

All travelers arriving from countries known to be infected with yellow fever (as shown in the World Health Organization [WHO] Weekly Epidemiological Record) must present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate in accordance with the International Health Regulations.

Where do I go if I am ill? Are there any hospitals in Makkah?
There are many hospitals which provide free healthcare for pilgrims.

Are over-the-counter medicines available in Makkah? Where do I buy them?
Most over-the-counter medicine is available at pharmacies in Makkah. If you are used to a particular brand of medicine or if you take prescribed medication, it is recommended you take adequate supplies of these.

Disability

What are the facilities for disabled pilgrims?

The Hajj is physically demanding and should be undertaken only by those who are fit enough to perform the rites. The Holy Quran makes it clear that only those who are physically and financially able are under an obligation to perform Hajj. 
That said, there are many disabled Muslims who wish to perform Hajj and, if adequate preparations are made, many can fulfil their wish. Below, we give some guidance but it is imperative that any disabled person thinking of performing Hajj should consult in detail with us before making any bookings. 
Airport: There are facilities for the disabled at Jeddah airport. 
Transport in the Kingdom: Buses are not equipped to handle wheel-chairs. 
Hotels: In general, hotels are not equipped for the disabled, with the exception of some of the top hotels. Again, it is crucial that you check with us before booking, to explain your needs and to ensure they can be met. 
Houses: Houses are not generally equipped for the disabled. 
Grand Mosque in Makkah: The Grand Mosque is well-equipped for the disabled. It has escalators and ramps to enable wheelchairs to move easily from one level to another. Wheel-chairs are provided free of charge in the Grand Mosque but, if you need to ask someone to push your wheelchair, the pusher will charge for his service. 

Ihram

What is an Ihram and how should I wear it?
The Ihram garments for men consists of two pieces of white sheet. Wrap the larger sheet around your waist to cover your body from the navel to the ankles. Secure the Ihram either with a belt or by a strip of fabric torn from Ihram material. Drape the other sheet over the back and shoulders and wear a pair of stitched or unstitched sandals or shoes which do not cover the ankles and talus bone and navicular. The head should not be covered, and no underwear should be used. The Ihram should preferably be white.

Should women wear the Ihram?
Women are allowed to make Ihram in any dress they wish which fulfills the Islamic conditions of public dress, regardless of the color. Women's hands and face should be uncovered in Ihram. Their heads should be covered.

Are there things I should and shouldn't be doing while I am in a state of Ihram?
Yes, a Muhrim (someone who is in state of Ihram) must observe certain obligations and prohibitions. These are:

  • Keep your head uncovered at all times. Women should keep their heads covered.

  • Do not shave, cut your hair, clip your nails, use perfume, or wear sewn clothes of any kind.

  • Do not perform marriage or get married yourself.

  • Do not kill an animal of any kind for any reason, unless it poses a danger to you and to the others.

  • Do not enter into conjugal relations with your spouse. Avoid suggestive and provocative talk or gestures and remain focused on Hajj.


Forbidden Imports

What things should I NOT bring to Saudi Arabia?
Travelers are not allowed to bring any perishable or un-canned food in large quantities. Travelers must not bring alcohol or drugs into the Kingdom. The punishments are severe and can include capital punishment.


Accommodation in the Holy Places


Where do I stay in Makkah?
Your stay in accommodation is arranged by ARQEM. there are different qualities of accommodations, from four star luxurious hotels to rooms through to apartments you share with others. The package you selected will contain details of the hotel/building.

How do I move around Makkah. Is there public transport?
Travel within Saudi Arabia is highly restricted. Pilgrims' travel will be limited to the cities of Makkah and Madinah, to the tent cities of Mina and Arafat and to Muzdalifah. 
Pilgrims can also travel by taxis at an extra cost to them. 

How long is the distance between Makkah and Mina?
The distance between Makkah and Mina is 8 kilometers (5 miles). Depending on traffic it could take anything between 2 to 4 hours. It may be better to walk the distance sometimes. 

How long is the distance between Mina and Arafat?
The distance between Mina and Arafat is 14.4 kilometers (9 miles). 

Where do I stay in Mina?
Mina is a well-organized tent city, with sectors and a secure precinct. Each tent can house between 20 to 40 people. Each tent has air conditioning unit and several power points. There are separate cooking areas and there are toilets with showering facilities in each precinct. ARQEM will organize your accommodation in Mina.


Food and Drink

Is the drinking water safe?
You may either drink bottled mineral water or drink from water fountains available for drinking throughout the holy sites. Use of boiled or sterilized water is not a must. Zamzam water is always safe.

Is the food safe? What foods should I avoid?
Avoid eating exposed food and meat from the counter. Make sure you eat cooked meat and fish, preferably hot. Cook vegetables and eat peeled fruit. Also always boil the milk.

Mobile Phones

Can I use my mobile phone/cell phone in Saudi Arabia?
You can use mobile phones to keep in touch with your group and also to phone home. SIM cards, only valid for a month, are available over the counter in most phone shops in Makkah and Madinah. Before leaving, make sure your phone can accept any SIM card, as opposed to being tied to a network.

What do I do if I am lost? Where do I go for help?
If you are lost, there are "Pilgrim Assistance Booths" set up all over and they will help you to find your hotel, tents, etc. Make sure you have your ID card and your ID bracelet with you at all times.

It is advisable to agree on a well-known location/landmark to gather in case somebody gets lost

Are there any hidden fees in the packages?
No there are no hidden fees in the packages, Sacrifice and food is not included in the package. Call Arqem For Details.

How much are the packages?
The packages vary according to the program.

When is the deadline for the payment?
All of the payment should be submitted at the time of booking or before application date closes.

What is our cancellation policy?
Call Arqem hajj for details.

What is the difference between each program?
The differen

Frequently asked questions






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