The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is engulfed with millions of pilgrims all around the year. Either they come all around the year to perform Umrah, or during the assigned month of Zul Hajj to perform Hajj. Both of these kinds of pilgrimage hold immense importance in Islam and are performed to fulfill the commandments set forth in the Quran. These are duties men owe to Allah. During the holy month of Ramadan, things went a little sideways for some of the pilgrims who were victimized by the black market Zamzam vendors and wheelchair vendors.
After speaking to a few pilgrims in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, they enlightened us of how many problems aroused because of their experience. One of the pilgrims wanted to obtain a wheelchair for his son, but inside the mosque he couldn’t so he asked around. According to him, he was only aware of two ways of getting a wheelchair and those was either through a local office outside of the mosque or use the services of the hucksters inside the mosque. Another pilgrim outlined how he was approached by a man with a wheelchair asking if he wanted a wheelchair. The pilgrim declined the offer saying that he does not have anyone who would need a wheelchair.
Then, the vendor politely outlined to the pilgrim that he must take it since this would allow him to use the floors of the mosque that are entitled to those with needs. There was a lot of crowd during that time and so he agreed to use the services of the wheelchair. The vendor demanded SR 150! After this was done, he looked back in search of the vendor to return the wheelchair, but he was long gone. A local citizen then told him how these people take in wheelchairs from the local office outside for free and then rent them to the pilgrims for SR 100 to SR 150 depending on whether the wheelchair needs someone to push it.
Just as this, there was another pilgrim who visited the Zamzam bottling factory. During this time, he did not wish to stand in the long queue because of his fast. He said that he wished to return to Jeddah as soon as possible. He stepped out of the queue and headed out of the factory to purchase the bottles of Zamzam from a vendor. He was shocked when he heard that how the young Saudi was selling a bottle of Zamzam for SR 15 while the factory sells them for SR 5.
Since he was desperate, the vendor utilized the situation to the best of his benefit and now sold 8 bottles of Zamzam for SR 120 that could have been easily purchased for SR40. Officials who are made aware of the situation wish to take prompt action, but fail to do so because of the crowd present. Perhaps, next year situations like these can be controlled.
Source: Al Arabiya
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