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FIQ010E: Women Travelling Without Mahram

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Question: Can a woman leave her country without a mahram to perform charity work?

Answer:


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Almighty Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear sister, thanks for contacting us, may Allah make our humble efforts in learning and sharing the true religion upon the correct path, solely for His Sake.

No. It is not permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram.

One of the ways in which Islam protects women is that it requires a woman to travel with a mahram, to protect her from those who have bad intentions and to help her, because of her weakness, in facing the arduous trials of travelling.

What indicates that a mahram is obligatory is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded a Sahabah to give up the idea of jihaad (on this occasion), even though he had enlisted for a campaign and his wife was travelling for the purpose of worship, not for some frivolous or suspicious reason. In spite of all this, he told him to go and do Hajj with his wife.

From Ibn ’Abbaas (radiyallaahu ’anhu) who said:

"I heard the Messenger of Allah(sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) deliver a sermon saying, 'Do not leave a man alone with a woman, except that there is with her a mahram, and do not let a woman travel except that she has with her a mahram.'

So a man stood up and said, 'O Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)! Verily my woman has left for Hajj (pilgrimage), and verily I am enrolled in a battalion in the battle of such and such'. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, 'Release yourself so that you may perform Hajj with your woman.'"

[Related by Imam Muslim (4/104)]


Other Authentic Ahaadeeth On the Issue of Women Travelling

[1]From Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ’anhu):

The Messenger of Allah(sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Do not permit your women to travel, except that she has with her a mahram." [Related by Imam Muslim]

[2] From Ibn ’Umar (radiyallaahu ’anhu):

The Messenger of Allah(sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Do not permit for your women who believe in Allah and the Last Day to travel a distance of three (days) except that she has with her a mahram." [Related by Imam Muslim]

[3] From Abee Sa’eed (radiyallaahu ’anhu):

The Messenger of Allah(sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Do not permit for your women who believe in Allah and the Last Day to travel on a journey being three days, or exceeding that, except that there is with her, her father, or her son, or her husband, or her brother, or that she has a mahram from her." [Related by Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Aboo Daawood, Tirmidthee and Ibn Maajah]

[4] From Abee Sa’eed (radiyallaahu ’anhu):

And verily he fought with the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in twelve battles, he said, "Four, when I heard them, they amazed me, and delighted me: that no woman can travel the distance of two days without being accompanied by her husband, or having a mahram... (to the end of the hadeeth)". [Related by Imam al-Bukhaaree, under the chapter, "The Hajj of Women"]

[5] From Abee Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ’anhu):

The Messenger of Allah(sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Do not permit for your women who believe in Allah and the Last Day to the distance of a day, and a night, except that there is with her a mahram." [Related by Imam Ahmad, Bukhaaree, Muslim, Abu Daawood and Tirmidthee]

[6] From Abee Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ’anhu):

The Messenger of Allah(sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Do not permit for your women who believe in Allah, and the Last Day, to travel a distance of a day, except that there is with her a mahram." [Related by Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Aboo Daawood, Ibn Maajah]


What is a Mahram?

A mahram is close kin from among men who are not permitted to marry that particular woman, such as her sons, father, brothers, uncles and so forth. (An-Nihayah fi Gharibil Hadits wal Atsar, 1/373)

Ibn Hajar Al-’Asqalani rahimahullah quoted the opinion of scholars which is:
"Men who are not permitted to marry that particular woman forever..." (Fathul Bari, 4/94)

Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah rahimahullah said:
"Mahram are men who are not permitted to marry that (specific) woman forever..." (Hijabul Mar’ah Al-Muslimah wa Libasuha fi Shalat, pt.18)

In addition to the above definition, the ulamaa’ have listed other conditions for the person to be considered a mahram. He should be a Muslim, adult, and of sound mind.

Therefore, a lone woman may not make her travel permissible with an accompaniment of another woman or a group of women. A woman cannot be a mahram for another.

*Note: There exists a confusion among Malays between the term "mahram" and "muhrim". The term "muhrim" is often used when referring to "mahram". This is incorrect. "Muhrim" refers to the one donning the ihram for umrah or hajj.


Difference of Opinion in Travelling for Obligatory Hajj

The scholars, past and present, differed concerning this issue. Some of them said that it is permissible for a woman to travel for Hajj without a mahram if the road is safe and she is with a trustworthy group.

Some of them said that it is not permissible for her to travel except with a mahram who can protect her, even if she is with a trustworthy group. This is the view of Imam Abu Haneefah and Imam Ahmad rahimahumullah.

It should be noted that the difference of scholarly opinion regarding the necessity of having a mahram in order to perform Hajj applies to the obligatory Hajj only. As for naafil (supererogatory) Hajj, the scholars are all agreed that it is NOT permissible for a woman to travel except with a mahram or husband. [al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 17/36]

*Note: The stronger opinion is that a woman without mahram is not obligated to perform hajj. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 11/92)


Clarification of Ahadeeth as Proofs of Permissibility

1) The hadeeth of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallaahu ’anhu)

In the hadeeth related by Imam Bukhari rahimahullah, during the final Hajj of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallaahu ’anhu), he gave permission to the wives of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) to perform Hajj. So he sent with them `Uthman ibn `Affan and `Abdur-Rahman.

Answer:

The Ummahatul Mukminin (mothers of the believers) were not permitted to re-marry after the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). Furthermore, their status as the wives of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and the mothers of the believers made their relationship with the other Sahabahs unique. Hence, this occurence that allows such permissibility was specifically for them.

2) The hadeeth of ‘Adiyy ibn Haatim (radiyallaahu ’anhu)

In the hadeeth related by Imam Bukhari rahimahullah, part of what the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “If you live a long life, you will see a woman travelling from al-Heerah until she circumambulates the Ka’bah, fearing no one but Allah.”

Answer:

This was simply the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) foretelling an incident. Speaking of an incident does NOT mean that it is permissible. Rather it may be permissible or not, depending on the shar’i evidence. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) also foretold that drinking alcohol, zina and a great deal of killing would become widespread before the Hour begins, and these are things that are forbidden and are major sins.


Conclusion

The authentic proofs indicate that a woman is not allowed to travel except with a mahram. Believing women should embrace this as part of the perfection and greatness of Islam.

Unfortunately, some modern scholars take the difference of opinion of the great scholars regarding obligatory hajj and present them out of context as though the difference exist for ALL types of travel, when in fact these great scholars have all agreed upon that any other type of travel is NOT permissible.

We have also clarified the two ahadeeth used by some modern scholars as evidences against this consensus majority (jumhur) view. Walhamdulillah.

“And whosoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Messenger and does righteous good deeds, We shall give her, her reward twice over, and We have prepared for her a noble provision.” (Al-Ahzaab 33:31)

Allah knows best.

Researched by Ustadz Abu Mazaaya

References:
1) Some Miscellaneous Authentic Ahaadeeth On Women Travelling by Maaz Qureshi
2) Various Fatawas from Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid




4 comments:

Syukran islamiq.
Saya faham sekarang.

May Allah bless you for your research and reply.

Wassalam.


Bismillah

BarakAllahu Feek Islamiq.sg

Your article explains about about muslimah leaving the country without a mahram.

Can you also explain and provide the dalils if whether a muslimah is allowed to leave her home without her mahram?

Jazakumullah Khairan

Abu Alyssa


'Afwan ya ukhti. May Allah give you the strength to be steadfast in His religion in these times of fitnah. And I sincerely hope the Muslimahs like yourself who are active in charity work and Muslim youth associations can give advice to the other Muslimahs as well as the leaders of these associations.


Wa feekum barakallah Akh Abu Alyssa. Insha Allah, we will try our best to answer your query in the near future.

May Allah make our time beneficial and our efforts in da'wah with hikmah and upon true knowledge.


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