The Ministry of Islamic Affairs will carry out a probe on agencies providing Umrah travel services to locals without permission. In a statement, the ministry said it has come to light that some companies have been providing Umrah trips without proper certification, highlighting that such services are illegal.

Agencies receive certification to take pilgrims on Umrah for a two-year period and are prohibited from taking advance payments outside of that period.

The statement went on to urge agencies to not take pilgrims on Umrah on a commercial basis without the required certification, while also advising the public not to pay to services that have not received commercial Umrah travel certification — the ministry will not be held responsible for any circumstances which arise in violation of the rules, the statement said.

A list with details of companies which are authorised to offer Umrah packages is published on the ministry’s website.