Why Saudi men prefer to perform Hajj alone
Unless they start issuing family pack Hajj holidays, the cost adds up, say Saudi men surveyed on why they'd rather go alone then take their wives or families with them.
About a third of the women who answered the questionnaire did not see this as a big deal and said it was normal behavior by men, while 44 percent said married couples should do Hajj together.
Arab News asked a number of men why they did not take their wives with them to Hajj and many of them said it was purely for financial reasons.
To curb the high expenses of the pilgrimage and make it affordable especially for domestic pilgrims, the Ministry of Hajj has created a series of low-cost Haj packages.
The cost per person for these packages is between SR1,900 and SR3,900, including accommodation, transport and sustenance. “Even with these low-cost packages, I have to pay not less than SR10,000 to take my wife, two daughters and son with me to Hajj,” said Muhammad Al-Dalie, a Saudi citizen.
He said he preferred to go to Haj alone but if his wife insists, he will register her on a cheap package.
Other men said accompanying wives to Haj was too tiring. “Women need special treatment. They are not willing to make any effort and they can be a real burden,” said Abdullah Al-Mahyawi, a Saudi citizen.
He said he could take his wife with him only when many families were going together. “I can leave her with my relatives and do my Haj alone,” he said.
Meanwhile, a number of welfare organizations were organizing pilgrimages for newlywed couples as a marriage gift to them. Usrati ("My Family"), a welfare organization, is organizing Hajj on its own expense for about 600 newly married couples, chairman of the society Sheikh Abdul Bari Al-Thibaiti told Arab News.
Al-Thibaiti, who is one of the imams in the Prophet's Mosque, said the eligible couples would have to be married for about two years. He said live rehearsals would be organized to teach them all the Hajj rites.
Arab News tried to contact a number of Hajj service providers but they all declined to comment, saying they have been banned from talking to the press.
By MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN
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