For Muslim Women Who Travel Without Male Guardians

The eminent Imams, Al-Bukhaari and Muslim narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) 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 she has a mahram with her.” A man said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go out with the army for such and such (a campaign) and my wife wants to perform Hajj.” He said, “Go with her.”

Imam An-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him)said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim:

Everything that is called travelling, it is forbidden for a woman to do without her husband or a mahram, whether it is three days, two days or one day, or anything else, because of the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas, according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No woman should travel without a mahram.” This includes everything that is called travel.

What indicates that a mahram is obligatory is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded this man to give up the idea of jihad (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.

And it says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (17/339): It is haram for a woman to travel without a mahram in all cases, whether the journey is long or short.

If Hajj is not enough excuse to contravene this order, going for ‘Islamic programmes’ would not hold waters. The Islamic history is replete with the comprehensive biographies of great female scholars and teachers; there is no mention of them travelling to seek knowledge without mahram. Lamentably, these sisters who travel to different places to attend ‘programmes’ may not have exhausted the fountains of knowledge in their locality.

The scholars have listed five conditions for a person to be considered a mahram. He should be male, Muslim, adult, and of sound mind, and he should be a relative to whom marriage is permanently forbidden, such as a father, brother, paternal uncle, maternal uncle, father in law, mother’s husband or brother through breastfeeding etc. as opposed to relatives to whom marriage is temporarily forbidden, such as a sister’s husband, paternal aunt’s husband, maternal aunt’s husband.


RELATED LINKS:

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