New Digitalized Rules to Follow when Traveling to Makkah and Madina

Traveling always marks the best way of regaining the lost charm of my life. Busy routines make me want to have a getaway every few exhausting weeks- and so I come up with a traveling plan. Over the years every vacation gave me so many memories to cherish, places to revisit, and the strength to function to my fullest once back. But one traveling plan that always fulfilled all these factors and made my soul happy would be my Umrah trip.

Last year, I was lucky to experience a soulful Umrah trip with my family. Those 10 days definitely nourished my soul and also gave me a new perspective on life. But apart from all that what else surprised me was the new system of governance by the Saudis. Yes, it sounds confusing but this blog will give you all the details of the new Umrah rules and regulations.

Digitalization- NUSUK Application

Many of you are not familiar with this app but now it’s a must for everyone to know. Similar to all the other essentials like tickets, and visas, for an umrah trip, now this application has also become a compulsion. You must be wondering what basically is Nusuk application, right?

The Nususk application is specially designed to digitalize your umrah and also your Raudah visit ( Holy Prophet place in Masjid e Nabwi In Madinah). Foremost you have to make an account in the app just like in any other app. Then comes the page where you select your gender and the purpose ( be it Umrah or Raudah Visit). After that Nusuk displays for you a calendar. The days of which are colored according to the rush (Green, yellow, and Red). And few days highlighted in grey are fully booked and do not allow you to book a time slot.

Nusuk also provides you the time slots you choose from to either perform umrah or pay salam to Raudah. Once you have selected your date and time slot then Nusuk generates a permit card with a QR code. Make sure you have that digital permit card with you on your phone once you are there.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that Nusuk only grants one permit card for a due date. And does not allow you to book another slot until you use up or cancel that booking. Also sometimes ( though the probability is slight) when the rush seems less then the Nusuk permit card might be overlooked.

Was Nusuk Really a requirement or not?

I do agree that a systematic approach is good to control a large population in a place. But when I think of Umrah, then this approach kind of takes a backseat for me. Because Nusuk is not only targeting the systematic run for that divine place but also questions many other factors. For example,

  • To have a digital permit card from Nusuk one needs to have a smartphone. And Makkah and Medina are such places that would never question the class, culture, country, or gender of any person. This digitalization reflects upon the categorization and facilitation of only a certain portion of the population.
  • Also, Directing the flow of people in a way that reduces the chance of stampedes and other problems is acceptable. But this time what I experienced is merely the control of the Saudi Admin for who to let in and who to not. I found this unacceptable behavior from their end because the majority is too simple to understand the complexity of the system they have made to perform umrah or to pay salam to Raudah.
  • In Madina, the Raudah Salam time slots for women are very limited on Nusuk as compared to the number of women that pray there. On the contrary, the Raudah Salam time for men is sufficient and easily schedulable.
  • In Makkah, women are way more privileged in terms of being allowed in the mataaf ( near Kaaba) as many times as possible for prayers or tawaaf. However, men only in ahraam ( and with a Nususk permit card) are allowed in mataaf. Otherwise, they cannot perform tawaaf or offer prayers in mataaf but in the outer rings now constructed there.

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Written By: Aleen Tariq