Minister of State For Islamic Affairs Mohamed Didi has expressed concern that Maldivians might not be able to make the Hajj pilgrimage this year if a court case contesting the choosing of eight groups authorised to transport pilgrims is not resolved in time.
The Civil Court issued a stay order or temporary injunction (Dhivehi) on Thursday (April 11) instructing the Islamic Ministry not to proceed with the chosen Hajj groups pending a ruling on the legality of the selection process.
The order was issued after four Hajj filed a lawsuit against the Islamic Ministry for allegedly deciding not to evaluate their proposals. The four companies claimed that the ministry violated procedures and guidelines in place for choosing Hajj Groups.
A quota of 874 pilgrims for the Maldives was meanwhile divided among the eight companies selected by the Islamic Ministry.
The quota was reportedly filled an hour after the eight chosen Hajj groups were officially authorised or licensed to serve pilgrims, prompting complaints from the public.
Permanent Secretary Mohamed Didi told Minivan News today that the Islamic Ministry had to sign an official agreement with the Saudi Arabian government to finalise the approved Hajj Groups.
“We have already sent the names of Hajj Groups that we have allowed and the Saudi government will call us to sign the agreement any moment now. If we had to say no we can’t sign the agreement because we are not sure these Hajj Groups would be able to take people to Saudi Arabia this year as planned, then the Saudi government might not give us another chance,” Didi explained.
If the Civil Court case was not resolved before the agreement with the Saudi government had to be signed, Didi warned of the possibility that all Maldivians wishing to make the pilgrimage this year through local Hajj Groups would miss the opportunity.
“We will respect the court ruling and we are waiting for the court to reach a conclusion on the case,” Didi said.
The lawsuit was filed at the Civil Court by Almanasik Hajj Group, AlFath Hajj And Umra Group, Alsafa Hajj Group, Classic Hajj and Umrah Group.
Performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime is among the five pillars of Islam.