Can women travel without a mahram?

Can women travel without a mahram?

by | Jul 19, 2022 | Fatāwā, Fiqh, Women's Issues | 0 comments

 

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “A woman is not to travel except with a mahram. A man is not to enter the company of a woman unless her mahram is with her.” A man said, “O Messenger of Allah! I wanted to out with the expedition of so-and-so, but my wife wants to perform Hajj.” The Prophet said, “Go with her.”  [Bukhari no. 186]

Collected by Imam al-Bukhaari (1729) and Muslim (2391) from Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhi Allahu anhu) who said: The Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam said: “No woman should travel except with a mahram, and no man should enter upon her unless a mahram of hers is present.” A man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go out with such and such an army and my wife wants to go for Hajj.” He said: “Go out (for Hajj) with her.”

 

Abu Hurairah Radhi Allahu anhu reported:

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the last day to make a journey of one day and night unless she is accompanied by a mahram (husband or male relative whom she is prohibited to marry).” [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

 

Can women travel without a mahram?

The basic principle that we have stated in numerous fatwas is that it is not permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram, whether the trip is for an act of worship such as Hajj, or to visit her parents , or it is a permissible kind of journey for other purposes .

Evidence for not allowing women to travel without a mahram

This is indicated by the texts and common sense. For example:

1- The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “No woman should travel except with a mahram and no man should enter upon her unless she has a mahram with her.” A man said: O Messenger of Allah, I want to go out with such-and-such an army, but my wife wants to go for Hajj. He said: “Go with her.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1862

Muslim (1339) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel the distance of one day, except with a mahram.”

And there are many hadiths which speak of the prohibition on a woman travelling without a mahram; they are general in meaning and include all kinds of travel.

2- Because travel usually causes exhaustion and hardship, and because women are weak and need someone to look after them and stay with them, and things may happen in the absence of her mahram that she is not able to deal with. These are things that are well known and are frequently seen nowadays because of the large number of accidents involving cars and other means of transportation.

Moreover, if a woman travels alone she may be approached and tempted to do evil, especially when there is a great deal of corruption. Someone may sit next to her who does not fear Allah and he may make doing haram actions seem appealing to her. It is perfectly wise that the woman should be accompanied by her mahram when she travels, because the purpose of having her mahram present is to protect her and look after her. Travelling is a situation in which emergencies may arise, no matter what the length of the journey is.

An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “To sum up, everything that may be called travel is forbidden to women without a husband or mahram.”

More than one of the scholars have narrated that there is consensus among the fuqaha that women are not allowed to travel without a mahram, except in exceptional cases.

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Al-Baghawi said: They did not differ concerning the fact that women are not allowed to travel for purposes other than the obligation (the obligatory Hajj) except with a husband or mahram, apart from a kafir woman who becomes Muslim in dar al-harb (non-Muslim territory) or a female prisoner who is released. Others added: or a woman who becomes separated from her travelling companions and is found by a trustworthy man; in that case it is permissible for him to accompany her until he brings her back to the group.” (Fath al-Bari, 4/76)

Can women travel to Hajj without a mahram?

With regard to a woman travelling for the obligatory Hajj without a mahram , the scholars differed as to whether this is permissible. The correct scholarly view is that it is not permissible. This has been discussed previously in the answer to question no. 34380 .

This is the basic principle concerning this matter: a woman does not have the right to travel without a mahram and she must be accompanied by a mahram throughout the journey; it is not sufficient for her husband to bring her to the airport and for her father to meet her in the other country. But when there is a case of necessity, there is nothing wrong with it, because necessity makes permissible things which are ordinarily not allowed.

Based on that, if obtaining French nationality will relieve your friend’s wife of considerable hardship, and it is not possible for her mahram to accompany her on her journey, then there is nothing wrong with her travelling on her own in the manner you describe, just as there is nothing wrong with her obtaining this nationality.

Can a woman travel on her own by plane for a reason?

Shaykh Ibn Jibrin (may Allah preserve him) was asked: What is the ruling on a woman travelling on her own by plane for a reason, with her mahram taking her to the airport and another mahram meeting her at the other airport?

Answer:

“There is nothing wrong with that if it is too difficult for the mahram, such as her husband or father, if the woman has to travel and the mahram cannot accompany her. In that case there is nothing to prevent that on condition that the first mahram takes her to the airport and does not leave her until she boards the plane, and he contacts the country to which she is headed and makes sure that her mahrams there will meet her in the airport, and he tells them the time of arrival and the flight number. That is because cases of necessity have their own rulings. And Allah knows best. May Allah send blessings and peace upon Muhammad and his family and Companions.” (Fatawa Ibn Jibrin)

And Allah knows best.

 

 

Question:

What is the distance at which the Sharee’ah allows a woman to travel without a Mahram? How do we harmonise between those narrations that mention a limit of three days distance, and another that mentions two days distance, yet another that states one day? How many kilometres is a journey of a day in our times?

The Imām, Al-‘Allāmah, ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Bāz answered:

The principle here is: What is termed a journey at which point it is not permitted for a woman to travel except which a Mahram?

Everything that is considered a journey, then it is not allowed for a woman to embark upon it except with a mahram, due to the saying of the Prophet (ﷺ): “A woman is not to travel except with a mahram.” In a narration, “For a journey of a day and a night except with a mahram.” In a narration,  “For a journey of a day.” In a narration, “For a journey of a night except with a mahram.” In another, “For a journey of three days except with a mahram.” And in another narration, “For a journey of half a day.” So the scholars have stated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) would respond in accordance to the questioner asking the question. So a questioner would ask, “If a woman wishes to travel for the length of a day, is that allowed for her?” So the Messenger (ﷺ) would respond, “She is not to travel the distance of day’s journey except with a mahram.” Another would ask, “Can she travel for the journey of a night?” Another would ask, “Can she travel for a journey of three days?” So Prophet (ﷺ) would answer in accordance to the question asked.

It can also be understood that he would answer in accordance with the Revelation sent to him in those situations. Then Allah (ﷻ) reduced the hardship concerning travel. So Allah permitted women to go out in what is not termed a journey. And He did not permit her to go out in that which was considered a journey unless she is accompanied by a mahram.

The point is that his (ﷺ) statements could be in accordance with the questions asked. It could also be that Allah forbade the woman from going out for the distance of half a day except with a mahram, then after that, He (the Most High) forbade her from a distance of a day and a night except with a mahram. Then after that, He forbade her from going out for a distance of three days (and so on) – all this due to a far-reaching wisdom.

But all this is understood on the basis of what is considered a journey. And a journey is that which agrees with the evidence. In that regard, there are narrations reported in the two Saheehs (Bukhari and Muslim) that place no limits and restrictions on the matter, where the Prophet (ﷺ) stated, “A woman is not to travel except with a Mahram.” So he stated that without any restriction (of days or nights) as occurs in this narration in the Saheeh (of Al-Bukhāri) from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allah be pleased with him). This one narration harmonises between all the other narrations. Everything that is referred to, or considered to be a journey, then a woman is not allowed to embark on it except with a Mahram. And least of that is half a day, so she cannot embark upon it because this may expose her to evil, corruption and treacherous conduct.

It is not necessary for her to hazard a journey without a  mahram. A mahram is her husband and other than him, from those she is forbidden to marry permanently due to blood relations, such as her brother, her father, or a brother through breastfeeding from the same wet nurse. Likewise her paternal uncle through breastfeeding (as they are forbidden for her to marry) and so on.

A day and night’s travel is approximately 80 kilometres (or) 75 kilometres approximately. Half a day is therefore 40km approximately. That is because a day and night are 24 hours, so half of that is 12 hours making it 40km or so. So it is upon her that she keeps herself away from that which approaches this.

As for normal moving around within the city or town, and to the limits of the city, then she does not require a mahram if she is in the company of other women or she is in a safe locality; in a safe and secure township where she does not fear anything, then there is no problem in her moving about the area, to fulfill her needs. It can be from one house to another, even if is a kilometre or two kilometres, three or four (for that matter). All of this does not harm so long as there is widespread safety, and no danger or suspicion, yes.

The Imām, Al-‘Allāmah ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Bāz (may Allah have mercy upon him).

Source: https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/12405

 

 

Question

Can women live alone? If they can live alone, why can’t they travel alone?.

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

 

A woman may live alone subject to the condition that she is trustworthy and is not a woman of dubious character. With regard to a woman travelling without a mahram, it is clearly not allowed, as in the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari (1729) and Muslim (2391) from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No woman should travel except with a mahram, and no man should enter upon her unless a mahram of hers is present.” A man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go out with such and such an army and my wife wants to go for Hajj.” He said: “Go out (for Hajj) with her.”

 

This is completely wise, because travel involves hardship and exhaustion, and because of her weakness a woman needs someone to help her and stay by her side. Things may happen to her that may cause her to lose control when her mahram is not with her. This is well known nowadays when there are so many accidents involving cars and other means of transportation.

 

Moreover, if a woman travels alone, that exposes her to temptation and men may make approaches, especially when there is a great deal of corruption. Someone may sit near her who does not fear Allaah, and he may tempt her to do something haraam.

 

If we assume that a woman is travelling alone in her car, she is exposed to other dangers, such as her car breaking down, or evil people ganging up on her, etc.

 

This makes its clear that Islam is the first of all systems to take care of women, protect their honour, respect them and regard them as precious pearls that must be protected from evil.

 

We submit to the command of Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and we know that it contains complete wisdom and mercy, because Allaah only forbids to His slaves that which is harmful for them.

 

It is not correct to compare travel to a woman staying alone in a house in her own land, because there are more dangers in the place that a woman travels to. If a woman is in her own town, if anything happens to her or she needs someone to help her, she will find someone to help her. The fear of evil people attacking her is less when she is in her own town and her own house than when she is travelling.

 

And Allaah knows best.

https://islamqa.info/en/answers/45917/if-it-is-permissible-for-a-woman-to-live-alone-why-cant-she-travel-without-a-mahram

 

The reason why Muslim women are prohibited to travel without a guardian is to protect her from sexual harassment, unwanted advances, wild animals, waterless deserts, thieves and robbers. Travelling in modern times have changed from how it was, during the time of the Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam. It is technologically safer due to planes, trains, cars, ships. But what still remains, is evil men out there.

The scholars deduced that if a Muslim woman is able to fulfil all the conditions that enable her to travel safely, and she has trustworthy companions with her, then it is not prohibited for her to travel on her own.  In any case, a woman must still seek permission from her guardian before undertaking a journey.

In another opinion, Imam Al-Baji, the Maliki scholar mentioned in Al-Muntaqa Sharh Al-Muwatta (vol 3 p95) that a Muslim woman’s travel alone is subject to whether she is travelling with a small group of people, or a large number of people who can help guarantee her safety.

Likewise, it was mentioned by Maliki scholar Al-Hatab in Mawahib Al-Jalil Sharh Mukhtasar Khalil (vol 2 p523) that it is prohibited for a Muslim woman to travel without a mahram with a small number of people.

In light of the above, it is up to the person to choose the opinion he or she believes in and supported by evidence. We have to consider all the hadith that are relevant, and see the conclusion that all of these collectively lead to.

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