It is a dream of every Muslim to visit Mecca (the Hajj) as a demonstration of their solidarity and submission to God. The visit to this sacred place is usually associated with prophet Muhamad’s life. However, before you plan on a spiritual trip to Mecca, do you know that there are strict rules to follow when visiting Mecca, Saudi Arabia? Well, now you know.
Failure to adhere to the rules I’ve listed in this post could lead to deportation from Saudi Arabia or a possible fine of $1600(6,000 Riyal) or both.
So before you Book Mekkah hotels and reserve your room, here are the strict rules you must follow when you get there.
Rule #1: 14-Days Quarantine is Mandatory
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic and the World Health Organization guidelines in place, any person visiting this holy place must take a compulsory 14 days quarantine whether or not they test positive.
Additionally, the 1.5M rule must be observed.
Rule #2: Bringing Non Islamic Items (e.g. Bible) Could Land You In Trouble
You might be wondering how Christians live around this place of worship. Don’t freak out, the Saudi Arabia government stated that you can bring your personal Bible for private worship only.
In short, never at one point are you allowed to wave or carry the Bible or non-Islamic items in public.
Also, Christians are not allowed to practice their faith openly.
Rule #3: No Public Display of Affection (PDA)
Showing affection is a symbol of concern to your loved ones. However, the irony is that when you land in Mecca, hugging, kissing, holding hands romantically in public is a taboo.
The government released a new public decency-code that explicitly discourages public display of affection.
Be wary where you place your hands, else you’ll be charged a fine of $800 (3,000 Riyals) for disobeying the PDA rule.
Rule #4: No Drugs
It doesn’t matter what drugs your country makes legal for public use (cigarette), you’ll be going against the law if any narcotic is found with you.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs also stated that if found lighting barbecues or smoking Shisha pipes in public, a fine of $27 (100 Riyals) will be penalised.
Besides, if charged with many drug offenses, you’ll be signing your own death wish as it is punishable by death.
Rule #5: Using Utilities Reserved for Elderly and People with Disabilities is Punishable
Another strict rule to follow when visiting Mecca is that you should never use or take up seats or utilities meant for disabled or elderly people.
There are utilities set aside for pregnant ladies, or people with special needs, if caught using them yet you don’t have any conditions, the fine is $53 (200 Riyals).
So, always remember that elders and disabled people are the top priority in Mecca.
Rule #6: Homosexual or Transgenders are Not Allowed
Are you gay? Or do you have a gender identity that differs from the sex assigned at birth and you want to visit Mecca? Don’t even dare to book a flight.
Mecca is a place where Muslim law is strictly enforced, and local traditions or customs must be respected at all times.
According to human rights activists, in 2017, two transgender were packed in sacks and tortured to death.
In short, gender fluid people are not treated fairly by the criminal law in Saudi Arabia. Also, a sex-reassignment surgery is illegal in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Rule #7: No Pork Should Be Found With You
Are you a pork lover planning to visit Mecca, Saudi Arabia? Well, Mecca is the birthplace of the Islamic religion, and since Islam probits consumption of pork, you should follow this rule with gusto.
This rule applies to every meal, or snacks that are pork-flavoured. Without forgetting, frog meat products are also forbidden.
Rule #8: It is Illegal to Cut In the Line
You understand Mecca is always a busy and crowded place. Even with the COVID-19 restrictions having been laid out (social distancing rules), the place still exhibits quite many visitors.
For that, you might be tempted to cut in the line (maybe because you want to hurry somewhere).
What you must know before your visit to Mecca is that the new public decency law permits law enforcers to charge anyone who jumps ahead of somebody a fee of $14 (50 Riyals).
Rule #9: Mind Your Dress Code
Mecca local laws require that men and women should mind their dressing. Everyone should dress modestly, covering their knees and shoulders when in public.
We come from different cultures and places, but when you land in Saudi Arabia, forget about tight fitting clothing. Also, clothes with profane characters, images or language are in principle illegal.
Apart from that possession of porn material, illustrations or scantily dressed people is punishable by law.
Rule #10: Commercial Disputes
The Saudi legal systems are very strict and so if you’re caught up in any form of a commercial dispute with a Saudi individual or company, you may be prevented from flying out until a resolution is reached.
The government may keep your passports for official reasons.
I hope that these strict rules to follow when visiting Mecca, Saudi Arabia won’t scare you from making your dream visit come true.
They may sound harsh, but things will get well once you’re on the ground. If you find yourself frustrated by these set of rules, here’s how to such handle stress.