Islamic Ministry says the government has extended the permits it issued to companies that had planned to facilitate Umrah trips.

In an announcement, the Ministry said that under Article 4, section (b) of the Guidelines on taking Maldivians to Umrah, the companies were issued permits for a period of two (2) years.

It said with the world currently fighting a pandemic and with the companies not given enough opportunities to arrange Umrah trips, the Ministry had decided to extend the duration of the permits by one year from the day the current permit expires.

Islamic Ministry also said that it made the decision with the powers vested to the ministry under Article 24 of the Guidelines on taking Maldivians to Umrah.

Earlier this month, the Islamic Ministry had said that the government would reimburse the Hajj Groups who have paid registration fees this year.

The Ministry said since it had revoked the announcement it published in February requesting for proposal from companies and groups that want to arrange hajj trips this year, the government would reimburse the 18 parities that had submitted proposals and paid the registration fees this year.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia had decided this year that it would not allow Muslims from other nations to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage due to the COVID-19 pandemic and only permitted a selected number of its own citizens and citizens of other nationalities currently residing in the kingdom to perform the rituals of hajj this year.

Five Maldivians were chosen to take part in the unprecedented Hajj rituals performed earlier this year.