Question

Reference number: 776030 | Pilgrimage: Hajj and Umrah | Nov. 16, 2019

Can a woman travel to perform the Umrah with a group of women but without a Mahram? (a husband or any other relative to whom she is prohibited to marry).

Answer

Praise Be to Allah and Peace Be Upon His Messenger.

There are different opinions regarding your question.

The majority of scholars say it is not allowed for a woman to travel to perform the Umrah but with a Mahram. Shaikh Mohammad Ahmad Hussain was asked: what is the ruling if a woman wants to travel to perform the Umrah with a group of women instead of a Mahram, and he said: “originally, the woman should not travel but with a Mahram; the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 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 (a husband or any other relative to whom she is prohibited to marry).” Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

However, scholars have different opinions regarding performing the compulsory Umrah and compulsory Hajj.

Abu Hanifa, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and some other scholars who follow them find that it is prohibited for a woman to travel without a Mahram as the evidence which is narrated is comprehensive.

Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (mentioned in another context) find that a woman can travel without a Mahram provided that she is accompanied by respectful and trustworthy companions (a group of women) and the road is safe. (Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence, 36 / 206-207). Their evidence is what was narrated.  “The prophet once asked Adi Ibn Hatem at-Ta’i: Have you ever been to Al-Hira? Adi answered: I have not been to it, but I was informed about it.” The prophet (PBUH) said: “If you should live for a long time, you will certainly see a lady in a Howdah travelling from Al-Hira will (safely reach Mecca and) perform the Tawaf (circumambulation) on the Ka’bah fearing none but Allah.” Related by al-Bukhari.

Ibn Taymiyyah said that any woman can perform the Hajj without a Mahram provided that she is safe (the road is safe and with a respectful group of women) (Al-Fatawa Al-Kubra: 5/381).

The Palestinian Legal Verdict Council decided (item 2/62) that it is permissible for a woman to travel without a Mahram to perform the Hajj as long as she is accompanied by a trustworthy group of women; however, to travel with a Mahram is much better as this protects her.

Concerning her travel to perform the Umrah, they found that there must be a Mahram because the Umrah can be performed at any time in a year except for the days of Hajj; and thus, she can wait for a suitable time to be accompanied by a Mahram.

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