Crime & Courts

Group of 100 pilgrims felt duped by madrasah which offered 'Mawla' umrah package

KUALA LUMPUR: There are many Muslims who dream of performing the umrah with a 'descendant' of Prophet Muhammad (PbUH).

However, some people have found that such a thing is just a marketing ploy to sell an umrah package to those who do not know any better.

This is what happened to more than 100 pilgrims who went to perform the umrah organised by a madrasah, which charged exorbitant prices and made all sorts of promises, including a supposed opportunity to meet with a man said to be a 'descendant' of Prophet Muhammad.

What happened was far from it. They were only given tourist visas for a do-it-yourself (DIY) umrah.

Even a claim that they would me meeting a 'Mawla', or a person who is descendant of Prophet Muhammad, was untrue.

A woman known only as Laila, who is in her 50s said she and her husband chose this particular umrah package because they were attracted by the opportunity to meet with the 'Mawla'.

She and the other pilgrims feel cheated because they went on tourist visas and not on umrah visas.

"Who would turn down an opportunity to perform the umrah with a 'descendant' of Prophet Muhammad PbUH? It would be a precious experience compared to other umrah packages.

"For this reason, my husband and I decided on 'Package A' worth RM8,000 per person and the money was banked into the account of the madrasah.

"But a week before leaving for the holy land, I was contacted by a service staff of the madrasah to put in another RM500 into its account," " Laila told Skuad Khas Harian Metro.

Laila asked the staff member about why they needed to pay more, and the reason was allegedly due to a price increase for hotel accommodation.

"Before departing, we were informed by the service staff that we will enjoy a lot of time with the 'Mawla', but in reality, it was far from it.

"We only had a few minutes with the man throughout the umrah. I am very disappointed with how it turned out to be DIY trip," said Laila.

Another victim, who wished to be only be known only as Khatijah, also in her 50s, said she was very disappointed with when the organiser left the pilgrims on their own without a 'mutawif' (pilgrimage guide) in the holy land.

She said after paying RM20,000, she expected better treatment.

"This is my third time performing the umrah, but I feel cheated.

"There were family members who were unwell, but the organiser could not be bothered. I hope there will be no more victims after this. My advice to others for them to choose an pilgrimage agency which is well known with a good reputation," she said.

Meanwhile a source revealed that the organiser gave excuses about hotel price hikes, and that was why some promises were unfulfilled.

The source added that there were 230 victims and the case involved RM4.05 million in umrah packages.

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