Can a woman travel alone within the country?

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding my situation? My university is planning a trip to Hatta, we live in UAE. The distance from our place to Hatta is of 400 km. Is it permissible for me and my female friends to travel without a mahram? It is within the same country, and we will be back the same day.

Answer:

Yes, it is permissible for women to travel inside their home country as long as the following criteria is met. These are guidelines to ensure their safety, and well-being.

  1. Accompanied by a Mahram
    Mahram is any close male relative whom a woman is permanently forbidden to marry due to blood ties (such as father, brother, son, etc.). According to many scholars, it is recommended or obligatory for a woman to be accompanied by a mahram when traveling, especially for long journey to provide protection. It’s for her safety and modesty.

 

  1. Safety Considerations
    The permissibility of a woman traveling alone within the same country may also depend on safety considerations. If the journey is deemed safe and secure, and there is no risk to the woman’s well-being, some scholars allow it. However, if there are concerns about safety, it is generally recommended for a woman to travel with a mahram or in a group for added protection.

 

  1. Local Customs and Laws
    Islamic teachings also emphasize the importance of adhering to the customs and laws of the society in which one lives. Therefore, the permissibility of female travel within the same country may vary depending on cultural norms and legal requirements. It is important for women to be aware of and respect the customs and laws of their society while also adhering to Islamic principles.

 

  1. Purpose of Travel
    The purpose of the journey may be a factor in determining the travel permissibility. If the travel is for a valid reason such as education, work, medical treatment, or religious obligations, and there are appropriate arrangements for safety and accommodation, some scholars may consider it permissible for a woman to travel alone within the same country.

Whilst women’s safety is paramount, the individual’s autonomy and agency are respected. Therefore, all the above considerations must be borne in mind when planning a journey.

This Fatwa is written by Dr.Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari

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