Haj Committee rules restrict male relatives, who had already performed the pilgrimage, from accompanying them

With just four days left for submission of Haj application forms, there is widespread disappointment among the Haj aspirants.

Particularly, women feel left in a lurch as many of them are finding it difficult to undertake the pilgrimage for want of a ‘sharai mehram’.

As per Sharia rules, women pilgrims proceeding on Haj ought to be accompanied by a male ‘mehram’ like husband, son, brother, father or sons of brothers and sisters. But under the new guidelines issued by the Haj Committee of India, the mehram should not be a repeater. This has put paid to the aspiration of women pilgrims whose husbands, sons and other close relatives have already performed Haj.

“I am a widow and I want to proceed to Haj along with my son. Since he has already performed Haj he can’t be my mehram. What kind of rule is this?” asks Hajira Begum of Yakutpura.

The State Haj Committee is flooded by such complaints everyday, but short of explaining the rule position officials have no answer.

The whole problem has cropped up with the Haj Committee of India deciding that one should perform Haj through the Haj Committee only once in a lifetime.

This is again linked to provision of Haj subsidy.

As a result, the Haj Committee of India has decided to ban ‘repeaters’. They are not allowed even if they want to proceed as ‘mehram’. This has created a piquant situation for women who must have a ‘sharai mehram’ to undertake the pilgrimage.

Syed Khaleeluddin Ahmed, chairman, A.P. State Haj Committee, has dashed off a letter to the Central Haj Committee, requesting for permitting repeaters to proceed for Haj as ‘mehram’ without providing subsidy.