We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Fri 28 Sep 2012 04:07 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Nigeria suspends Hajj flights to Saudi Arabia

Diplomatic spat continues over detention of female pilgrims for arriving unaccompanied by men

Nigeria suspends Hajj flights to Saudi Arabia
Grand Mosque, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Nigeria has suspended flights to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage, following a diplomatic spat over the detention of hundreds of female pilgrims for arriving unaccompanied by men.

Saudi authorities have deported more than 600 female Nigerian pilgrims and detained hundreds for trying to visit the holy city of Mecca without male relatives.

Aminu Tambuwal, Nigeria's parliament speaker and the second most powerful Muslim in the government, was due to visit Saudi Arabia on Friday to try to resolve the spat.

"The airlift operations have been temporary stopped ... It does not make sense to airlift people to be detained on landing. We will resume when all outstanding issues are resolved," Uba Mana, spokesman of National Hajj Commission, said by telephone.

Women in Saudi Arabia are regarded as minors and require the permission of their guardian - father, brother, or husband - to leave the country, receive some kinds of medical treatment or work. They are not allowed to drive and are usually expected to be accompanied by a male chaperone.

"The Nigerian pilgrims came with their visas stating that they have to have a male guardian accompanying them, either a brother, a husband, or another relative," Saudi Hajj Ministry spokesman Hatim Kadi said.

"Some came with their guardians and were allowed to enter. Those who came without their guardians were not. They violated the regulations which were clearly printed on their passports."

In Nigeria, where there are 80 Million Muslims, many practice a less restrictive form of Islam in which women are more or less free to move around as they like.

"I use this platform to plead with our compatriots, to leaders in Nigeria to be mindful of statements that we make on this issue so that we don't aggravate the situation," Tambuwal said late on Thursday.

All Muslims who are able are required to perform the haj at least once, as one of the five pillars of Islam.

The numbers taking part have risen sharply over the last 80 years from around 20,000 in 1932 to nearly three million in 2011.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.
Noorah 8 years ago

When is this madness going to end? There is no where in Qur'an where Allah states that a female must be accompanied by a mahram to perform Hajj. When will the Saudi religious establishment stop discriminating against women? It is one thing for them to discriminate against Saudi women but women from other countries will and should fight back. Makkah belongs to all Muslims, not Saudis. Though the Holy cities in Saudi Arabia this does not mean that they should totally control it.

It is time for a committee of Muslim scholars from several countries and sects take control of the Makkah and Madinah. Maybe then the Saudis will be put in their place and stop this madness.

Kashif 7 years ago

If you visit USA you obey all the laws there, why not in Saudi Arab? This is law in Saudi (I am not going into discussion that it is according to Islam or not but it is there) and you have to follow all the laws of that country which you are going to visit for any purpose.

Wal 7 years ago

Please check in the sunna Hadith you will find that the prophet forbid that a women travel alone for the reason that they may have problem in the trip.

Naser Bawazeer 7 years ago

Dear Sister,

It is not just Qur'an we Muslims need to depend upon. We are required to follow the teachings of our beloved prophet Mohamed (PBUH) as well. It is clearly mentioned in the Saheeh (authentic) ahadith about the obligation of having a 'MAHRAM' accompanied whenever a woman travels for a certain period. Please refer Saheeh ahadith as well.

May Allah enlighten all of us with correct Islamic knowledge.

mohammed yusuf 7 years ago

Sahih. Couldn't a way have been found to help our sisters perform the Hajj?

Nigerian 7 years ago

This should have been implemented by the Nigerian airlines officials/immingration authorities. These women should not have been allwoed to board the flight in the first place.

Prad 7 years ago

Back in the day, this would have been true. But in this day and age, logic would dictate, where there are dedicated Hajj flights and all people coming to Mecca with (supposedly) one purpose in mind, muslim women should not face any threat of violence, abuse or discrimination.

Dr.Hussein Labib 7 years ago

To sister Noorah , it is stated in the qur'an to obey the commandments of Allah and His prophet Mohammed (pbuh), This means it is already stated that women should not travel but with Mahram, this is respect and not the opposite as you interprete it.
I think your logic about where it is in the Qur'an? because we will expect some one who follows your logic asking where is it in the Qur'an that we should pray the way we are praying?

Jameel M.K. 7 years ago

Dear Naser,

Totally I agreed with you.

Srk 7 years ago

Dear Sister Noorah.What 'SECT' are you from ?Your fundamentals of Islam are totally wrong it seems?