||Buying and Selling Hajj Visas in the Black Market|
You may be aware of
the problems many of us are facing in trying to obtain our Hajj visas. I would
like to now what is the ruling of purchasing visas from the black market. There
are people out there who applied and have many visas which they are selling in
the black market for up to £5oo. Is this permissible Islamically and would it be
acceptable to go for Hajj by paying for such visas?
In the name of Allah, the Most
Merciful, the Most Kind.
Three things are undoubtedly unlawful (haram) by explicit texts of the Qur'an
3) Breaking the law of the land one is in, or breaking the laws of the country
one is entering (in general cases).
Keeping the above in mind, let us look at the various scenarios:
Although trading in visas, in of itself, is not permitted according to Shariah,
it is permitted to charge others for the time, effort, and money exerted in
obtaining the visas. Tour operators and agents normally charge their customers
for the whole Hajj package, which includes accommodation, food, travel and also
obtaining visas. The charge for the visa is not (or should not be) for the visa
itself, but rather for the time and effort exerted in obtaining the visa. As
such, in principle, there is nothing wrong in charging and/or paying for the
acquisition of visas unless one is charged an extortionate amount which goes
beyond the time and effort spent in the acquisition.
However, the problem with this is when visas are purchased from another source
or, as you put it, from the black market, and not from one’s own tour operator.
The Saudi Government grants a set number of visas to authorised tour operators
and travel agents. Upon registering itself with the ministry of Hajj, the tour
operator receives its quota of visas, and thus the tour operator is required to
register the various aspects involved in Hajj with the ministry of Hajj
including the hotels which will be occupied by its customers.
Now, if a visa is purchased (independently and not with the package) from a
second source, it will mean one is registering one’s self with one tour operator
but offering his Hajj rituals with another. One will be registered to be staying
at a particular hotel but in reality one will be staying elsewhere. Likewise,
one will be registered to be offering the Hajj rituals in Mina, Arafa and
Muzdalifa with one group but in reality one will be performing these rituals
with another group. As such, purchasing a visa from another source will entail
lying, deception and breaking the law of the land.
As such, this will be unlawful and sinful for both the tour operators/agents and
those travelling for Hajj alike. It is sinful for agents to purchase visas in an
illegal manner from the black market and thereby deceive the ministry of Hajj.
Likewise, it is impermissible for a person hoping to travel for Hajj to purchase
his visa by paying another person who apparently is cashing in on Hajj having a
confirmed visa. The visas should be acquired in a conventional manner without
the involvement of any lying and deception.
Yes, if the travelling person was to pay the tour operator a sum for the whole
Hajj package and the tour operator then committed unlawful and illegal acts in
acquiring the visa, then the traveller would be absolved of any wrongdoing and
the responsibility will lie solely on the shoulder of the tour operator.
One must always remember that the sacred obligation of Hajj should never be
fulfilled by committing acts that displease Allah Most High. If one is able to
secure the journey of Hajj without committing sins, then fine, otherwise one
should abstain from travelling for Hajj.
The renowned Hanafi jurist, Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“At times Hajj is described to be unlawful such as performing Hajj with unlawful
(haram) wealth, and at times with dislike such as performing Hajj without the
permission of those whose permission is required…” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala
One of my teachers, Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Ramadhan al-Buti of Damascus (Syria)
states in one of his Friday sermons published in a book titled Mukhtarat min
“…Possessing a means to travel for Hajj includes not having to commit a sinful
act, meaning one’s travelling for Hajj to the house of Allah must not be by way
of committing a sinful act which Allah Most High has prohibited. If one has
knowledge that travelling for Hajj will result in one committing a sin, the
obligation of Hajj will be waived away from one. Rather, the obligation will
transform into a haram act, for the juristic principle (qa’ida fiqhiyya) states:
“The means to a unlawful act also becomes unlawful…”
The Shaykh then cites examples of unlawful acts that may be committed when
trying to travel for Hajj. He gives a mention to sins such as presenting fake
documents, deceiving the authorities, paying extortionate amounts for obtaining
a visa and paying and receiving bribes (rishwa). (See: Mukhtarat min khutab
al-Jumu’ah, P: 96-97)
As such, it is not permitted to travel for Hajj by violating the laws of Allah.
Lying and deception are from the enormities (kaba’ir), hence there is no logic
in committing major sins in order to go and perform such a sacred and ritual
Another scenario that has recently come to my attention is that apparently some
tour operators have suddenly realized the huge demand of people wanting to
travel for Hajj. Thus, after initially agreeing upon a price for their Hajj
package, they are now demanding an additional payment from the customers for the
visas. Some tour operators already have the visas with them but they merely want
to cash in because of the huge demand. Others, genuinely having faced a great
deal of hardship in acquiring the visas, want their effort to be compensated.
Some purchase the visas from another source hence they themselves end up paying
an extortionate amount.
Firstly, this act of cashing in on the huge demand of people wanting to go for
Hajj is repulsive to say the least. The tour operators need to realize that they
are not merely doing a business, but rather a great service for the Muslims by
providing them means in order to fulfil a lifetime obligation.
Secondly, when a contract is agreed upon and a price is fixed, it is not
permitted for either party to demand an extra amount or go against the agreed
price in the contract. As such, it will not be permitted for a tour operator to
demand an extra amount from its customer after having agreed upon a price,
irrespective of the nature of their circumstance. The tour operators are running
a business, and just as with any business there are risks also, thus it will not
be permitted for them to demand an extra amount. This is a clear ruling
mentioned in the books of Islamic jurisprudence.
Likewise, if both parties actually concluded the transaction by mutually
agreeing upon the price and the package offered, and the customer paid some
money in deposit as advance payment, it will not be permitted for the tour
operator to keep the money deposited by the customer should there be a problem.
This whole issue of “deposits” has been discussed by classical jurists in their
respective works and many have the opinion that a seller can never withhold the
deposit even if a buyer was to pull out of the transaction without any excuse.
This can naturally be extremely difficult at times for the seller; hence the
scholars have mentioned a solution to the problem. This whole issue of deposits
(arbun) was explained in detail in an earlier answer available on this website.
The jurists (fuqaha) were discussing the seller withholding the deposit in a
case where a buyer failed to conclude the transaction and pulled out without any
reason and even then they did not permit withholding the deposit. In the
scenario being discussed, the customer does not pull out of the agreement on his
own behalf, but rather the transaction has to be annulled due to the fact that
the tour operator was not able to obtain a visa. In this case, without doubt,
the deposit must be returned by the tour operator to the customer.
In conclusion, the ritual of Hajj is an extremely sacred ritual. Those wishing
to perform this ritual and those facilitating others to perform it both need to
remember that they will be accountable for their actions. They must abstain from
committing any unlawful and sinful acts that the Shariah prohibits. As such,
there must be no involvement of lying, cheating and deception, bribery, breaking
the law of the land, transgressing on other people’s rights and non-fulfilment
of contracts. May Allah guide us all, Ameen.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from Daruliftaa.com