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Is It Permissible for a Woman to Travel Without a Mahram?

Question: Is it permissible for a Hanafi woman to travel without a mahram accompanying her by making use of the rule of the Shafi'i Madhhab?
ANSWER
A woman is not allowed to travel the distance of three days [equivalent to 104 km in the Hanafi Madhhab and 80 km and 640 m in the Shafi'i Madhhab] without a mahram accompanying her in the Shafi'i Madhhab, either. This is the case in the other madhhabs as well because a hadith-i sharif says:
(It is not halal [Islamically lawful] for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel the distance of three days or more without her husband or her mahram accompanying her.) [Ibn Majah]

Question: I heard that some Hanafi women travel safar distance [104 km] without their mahrams accompanying them. They say that they travel by making use of the rule of the Shafi'i Madhhab. Does what they do have any basis?
ANSWER
It does not have any basis. A woman cannot travel except with a mahram in the Shafi'i Madhhab, either. In the Shafi'i Madhhab, she is allowed to travel without her mahram only to perform the obligation of hajj. It is not permissible for a Hanafi woman to make use of the rule of the Shafi'i Madhhab in this regard.

Women cannot travel safar distance without their mahrams accompanying them. It is written in the book Se'adet-i Ebediyye:

It is haram [in the madhhabs of Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali] for a free woman to travel the distance of three days alone or with other women or with her male mahram unless he is a pious Muslim at the age of discretion and puberty, if she is not accompanied by her husband or by one of her eternally male mahrams. However, in the Shafii Madhhab, women may join other women and travel to perform the obligation of hajj without any one of their male mahrams accompanying them. In the Hanafi Madhhab, a woman can travel in the company of a murahiq, that is, her male mahram who is twelve years old and close to puberty. The book Qadi-Khan states, A woman can travel with a group of pious male Muslims. [It is permissible to act on either of these two statements when there is an extreme necessity.]

A woman can travel the distance of three days only with her husband or with one of her eternally male mahrams who is pious or (if need be) with her murahiq son. She is not allowed to travel with her mahram relative who is fasiq [a Muslim who habitually commits a grave sin]. If there is an extreme necessity for a woman to travel and if she has no pious mahram to accompany her, then it will be more appropriate for her to travel with a fasiq mahram of hers than to travel alone. [Murahiq means a boy who is 12 years old but who has not reached puberty yet. Mahram means a woman's close male relatives, such as her brother, uncle, etc.]

If you accompany your wife until she reaches her destination and then you come back without her, then she can return the place where you are in a suitable transport means without any mahram accompanying her.

Question: Is it permissible for an elderly woman to travel without her mahram accompanying her?
ANSWER
Yes, it is permissible, but she must not travel alone in times of fitnah.

Question: Is a woman counted as an elderly woman when she is over the age of 55?
ANSWER
Yes, she is counted as an elderly woman when she is over the age of 55.

Question: Is it permissible for a muqim woman to go from her place of residence to a city where her husband is or where one of her mahram relatives is without her mahram accompanying her?
ANSWER
A muqim (resident) woman cannot go there without her mahram, but a safari (traveling) woman is allowed to go there alone.

Question:
Is it permissible for a single woman to travel in the company of her elder sister and her elder sister's husband?
ANSWER
It is permissible if there is an extreme necessity (darurat).

Question: Is a woman allowed to travel alone by plane to the city where her parents are? Is it true that she can go there while she is menstruating?
ANSWER
No, she is not allowed to go there regardless of whether it is during menstruation or otherwise. If she is in the city where her parents are, she can go to the city where her husband is without a mahram accompanying her.

Question: Under what circumstances can a woman return her home alone from a journey?
ANSWER
She can return alone to any place where her husband or her mahram is. She should not return by unfrequented roads. That is, she should prefer a transport means accordingly.

Question: Is it permissible for a very old woman to set out on a journey in the company of a very old man in order to visit her non-mahram relatives?
ANSWER
Yes, it is permissible.

Question: My wife will travel alone from the city of A to the city of B. She will travel in a state of menstruation. Will she be a safari in the city of B?
ANSWER
If a menstruating woman who does not have her husband or a male mahram with her sets out on a journey, her traveling does not count. That is, she will not be a safari in the city of B. She is not a safari at the place she is staying until she travels 104 km after her menstruation is over. If she departs from the city of B in a state of purity and returns to the city of A, she will be a safari beginning from the moment she has left there. If the city of A is not her watan al-asli and if she stays there for less than 15 days, then she will be a safari in the city of A as well. If the city of A is her watan al-asli, she will not be a safari there even if she stays a little.

Question: Is it permissible for an old woman to travel more than 104 km by plane or by bus without a mahram accompanying her?
ANSWER
Yes, she can travel that distance without a mahram accompanying her. However, her relative should request an old and pious passenger to help her if need be.

Question:
Is it permissible for a woman to travel safar distance alone by plane or by bus?
ANSWER
In the Hanafi Madhhab, it is not permissible, if there is no extreme necessity, for a woman to travel safar distance (104 km and more) without an eternally mahram of hers or her husband accompanying her. According to Imam-i A'zam and Imam-i Abu Yusuf, it is makruh for a free woman to travel the distance of one day, that is, 35 km, without a mahram of hers accompanying her. (Fatawa-i Hindiyya)

Question: If a menstruating woman sets out on a journey without her husband or her mahram accompanying her and if her bleeding stops in the course of traveling, can she shorten her salats as she has become a safari?
ANSWER
Such a woman's traveling does not count. She becomes a safari only when she decides to travel safar distance and starts a journey after her menstruation is over. It is written in fiqh books:

If a menstruating woman sets out on a long journey without her husband or her mahram relative accompanying her, she will not be a safari. She will be a safari only when she travels the distance of three days from the place she is in. (Se'adet-i Ebediyye)

If a menstruating woman who has set out on a journey attains purity during the course of the journey when there is still a distance of less than three days to her destination, she has to perform salats in full. (Halabi)

If a menstruating woman attains purity during the course of the journey when there is still a distance of two days to her destination, she has to perform salats in full just as it is the case with a child who has reached puberty. (Durr-ul-Mukhtar)

Question:
A woman is not allowed to set out on a journey by herself, but she is allowed to return by herself. Where can she return without her mahram accompanying her?
ANSWER
She is allowed to return to only her permanent place of residence by herself because she has to come back to live there. She may live in her place of residence with her husband or with her father or with her mahram, such as her son, brother, or uncle, or by herself because she does not have any mahram relative. As it is her permanent place of residence, she is not allowed to set out on a journey from there by herself, but, if she has set out on a journey from there, she can return to it without a mahram.

When returning, it is not important whether she is a safari or a muqim because she sets out on a journey legitimately. After staying at her temporary residence, she can return with a group of pious men (jama'at) or with her murahiq male mahram. In the absence of them, she can return by herself in a safe transport means.

Question: Is it permissible for a woman to travel without her mahram by plane or by bus with the thought that there may be a pious man on the plane or in the bus?
ANSWER
It is permissible if there is a necessity to do so and if the journey is safe.

Question: Some people claim, "A woman may travel without her mahram accompanying her if she travels with the intention of emigration." Is what they claim true?
ANSWER
No, it is not true. A woman, in case of necessity and if the journey is safe, is allowed to travel without her mahram by a transport means in which there is a group of pious men. There is no need to seek a stratagem that goes against Islam.

 
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Date of Update
15 Aralk 2019 Pazar
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