Are Women Allowed to Travel Alone?
Posted June 22, 2009on:
Muslim women enjoy an exceptional and profound position in society. As a consequence of the sanctity the Shari’ah afforded to her, she attains a lofty and chaste position in society.
Muslim women are required by the Shari’ah to remain indoors unless the need arises to leave the home, like going for Hajj, visiting her parents and relatives, visiting the sick, etc. The permission leaving home for the legitimate reasons mentioned, is subject to the condition of fully covering herself. When the conditions for a woman coming out of her home for fulfilling a religious duty are so strict, then what will be the position of that woman who ventures out for a non-religious reason?
In order to safeguard the integrity of Muslim women in general, the Shari’ah has discouraged them from stepping out of their homes unless accompanied by a Mahram. The following Ahadith will sufficiently explain the matter in discussion.
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) reported Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) as saying
‘It is not permitted for a Muslim woman to make a journey of a night unless accompanied by a Mahram.’
Explanation: A woman can only travel with a Mahram, i.e. a male with whom her marriage is forbidden eternally viz. her father, son, brother, uncle, grandfather, etc. In the case of a married woman she can be accompanied by her husband.
The above Hadith mentions the length of journey to be one night while the aforementioned Ahaadith differ in the length of journey, hence, the Ahaadith may seem outward to contradict each other. These variations are due to various reasons. However, it must be understood that the intention behind specifying a particular length of journey denotes that if the distance is such that there is fear of Fitna (danger and risk of her chastity), a woman should not undertake the journey alone, without a Mahram.
In the light of many similar Ahaadith, it is understood that a woman cannot undertake a journey of three days alone. The distance of three days journey is calculated as 88km. A woman cannot travel alone for 89 km. However, for a distance of less than 88km, due to Fitna, it will also not be permissible for her to travel alone.
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said,
‘It is not permitted for a woman who has faith in Allah and the last day to make a journey of a day and night.’
The narrator reported the same as the previous Hadith.
Explanation: The above Hadith makes mention of one day and night.
Abu Saeed (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) reported Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying, ‘It is not permitted for a woman who brings faith in Allah and the Last Day to make a journey of more than three days unless she is accompanied by either her father, brother, husband, son or a relative who is her Mahram.’
Hadhrat ibn Umar (Radhiyallaahu Anhuma) reported Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying, ‘A woman must not make a journey of three days unless accompanied by a relative who is her Mahram.’
Explanation: As regard to the length of journey, four different measurements are recorded viz. that of one night, one night and a day, two days and three days (and three days or more). According to the Muhaddiseen (commentators of Hadith) the term `journey’ used refers to such a length which can generally be considered to be a journey. Consequently, the Jurists have declared that a woman should not make a journey of 88 km without the company of a Mahram.
Hadhrath ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaahu Anhuma) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘A woman must not make a journey unless accompanied by a Mahram or her husband.’
Explanation: The above Hadith has no stipulation as to the length of journey, and it’s because of such statements that the Ulama have reached consensus that it is desirable for a woman to be accompanied by a Mahram on a journey less than 88km for the fear of Fitna, it becomes compulsory.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.
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