Can a women go to Hajj without a Mahram?

For Muslims around the world, performing the pilgrimage (Hajj or Umrah) for the sake of Allah SWT is both the opportunity of a lifetime and a sacred obligation in Islam. Even though Hajj and Umrah are two different pilgrimages, they share some similar requirements and rites, including who is eligible to perform them. 

In consideration of the safety and comfort of the woman’s delicate nature, women performing pilgrimage without a mahram is strictly prohibited in Islam. According to Islamic scriptures, a woman is only permitted to perform Umrah or Hajj with her husband or any relative to whom she is bonded by blood or fosterage.

This begsthe question, “In the world of today, can a women go to Hajj without a mahram or not?” Keep reading to learn the answer.

What If a Woman Doesn’t Have a Mahram?

women traveling to hajj in a groupAccording to Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This action – Hajj without a mahram – is haram because of the hadith of Ibn’ Abbas (RA), who said: ‘I heard the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said, when he was delivering a sermon, ‘No woman should travel except with a mahram.’ A man stood up and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (PBUH), my wife has set out for Hajj, and I have signed up for such-and-such a military campaign.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Go and do Hajj with your wife.”” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 3006; Muslim, 1341)

In another hadith included in Al-Mishkat, a man told the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “O Prophet! I have been chosen to perform jihad, but my wife has left for pilgrimage.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Go and perform pilgrimage with your wife.”

Therefore, it isn’t permissible for a woman to travel for the pilgrimage without a mahram, a man with whom she is forever forbidden to marry or with whom she has blood ties.

It is said that Allah SWT established this law to protect women so that she isn’t bothered by those who mistreat and disrespect them.

Uday Ibn Hatim reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once predicted that: “A day will come when a woman will travel from Hira to the Kaaba, fearing nothing but God alone.”

However, times have changed. In light of the above-mentioned hadith, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has officially allowed women to go on pilgrimage (Hajj and Umrah) without a mahram, only on the condition that they travel in the company of a trusted group of pilgrims and submit an N.O.C from her mahram. 

Can a Woman Perform Umrah with Her Mother?

Before 2019, women were not allowed to perform Umrah or Hajj without a  mahram. This was primarily because travelling alone for women is highly opposed in Islam. Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated that: “The Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said: ‘A woman is not to travel except with a mahram, and a man is not to enter upon her except if she has a mahram.'”

Furthermore, Abu Hurairah (RA) quoted that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah SWT and the Last Day to travel a distance of one day and one night without a mahram with her.” 

In another event, Abu Sa’id narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “A woman is not to travel a distance of two days without her husband or mahram with her.”

However, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah revised the regulation, allowing women to perform Umrah and even Hajj without a mahram.

The ministry tweeted, “Those wishing to perform Hajj will have to register individually. Women can register without a mahram (male guardian) along with other women.” 

Therefore, yes, a woman is allowed to perform Umrah with her mother, given the fact that she is over the age of 45 years and that both the mother and daughter are travelling in an organized group.

In order to get permission from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the woman must submit proof of kinship along with the application form. 

Can a Man Perform Hajj Alone?

can a muslim women go to hajj without a mahramThe one-word answer to this question is yes. Unlike women, men do not need a mahram by their side in order to travel long distances and perform Hajj.

Therefore, a male Muslim is allowed to perform Hajj or Umrah alone.

Can a 45-Year-Old Woman Go to Umrah Without a Mahram?

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia has officially allowed women over the age of 45 to perform Umrah or Hajj without a male guardian, also known as mahram in Islam.

A woman is only permitted to travel for pilgrimage and will be granted her visa on the condition that she travesl along with a women’s group. 

Who Can Be a Mahram for a Woman?

Derived from the Arabic word “Haraam,” Mahram in Islam means something that is prohibited or sacred. According to Islamic scholars, a mahram for a woman is unmarriageable kin (someone she isn’t allowed to marry) and is permitted to see them without a headscarf and hug them or shake their hands. There are three types of mahram for women in Islam, mahram by marriage, mahram by blood, and mahram by fosterage (breastfeeding).

Some common mahrams for women include her father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, grandson, niece, nephew, maternal uncles, and paternal uncles. On the other hand, a man is considered a mahram for a woman by fosterage only if she has breastfed him before the age of 2 and a half years. 

Further explained in the Hanafi Fiqh treatise, al-Hidaya: “A Mahram (for a woman) is he, between whom and her marriage is permanently unlawful, whether this is due to the relationship of lineage/kin (nasab) or because of some other reason, such as foster relationship (radha’a) or relationship by marriage (musaharah).” (Al-Hidaya, Kitab al-Karahiyya, 4/461-462)

Allah SWT in the Holy Quran says, “Do not marry former wives of your fathers—except what was done previously. It was indeed a shameful, despicable, and evil practice. Also˺ forbidden to you for marriage are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your paternal and maternal aunts, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your foster-mothers, your foster-sisters, your mothers-in-law, your stepdaughters under your guardianship if you have consummated marriage with their mothers—but if you have not, then you can marry them—nor the wives of your own sons, nor two sisters together at the same time—except what was done previously. Surely Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Holy Quran, An Nisha 4:22]

“And not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women.” [Holy Quran 24:31]

Can You perforn Hajj On Your Period?

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and should be performed in the purest state. One of the conditions of Hajj is the absence of menstruation.

Therefore, no, you cannot perform Hajj on your period. In other words, a woman in the state of postnatal bleeding or menstruation must refrain from performing Tawaf until she is pure.

Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (RA) reported, “A menstruating woman on Hajj or Umrah may enter ihram if she wishes, but is not to make Tawaf or Sai. She is to perform all the rites with the rest of the pilgrims except for Tawaf or Sai, and she is required to refrain from entering the Mosque until she is pure.”

Aisha (RA) narrated, “We went out with the Prophet (PBUH) for the Farewell Pilgrimage. Some of us had assumed ihram for Umrah and others for Hajj. When we reached Mecca, the Messenger of God said, ‘Whoever has entered ihram for Umrah and does not have a hady (animal driven to the scared land for expiation or to gain the pleasure of God), is to release himself from ihram; whoever has entered ihram for Umrah and has a Hady with him must not release himself from ihram until he slaughters his hady; and whoever has assumed ihram for hajj, must complete his hajj.” She added, “I was in a state of menstruation and remained in this state until the day of ‘Arafat. I had only assumed ihram for Umrah, so the Prophet ordered me to undo my hair and comb it and enter ihram for Hajj, omitting my Umrah. I followed his orders, and after we had performed Hajj, the Prophet sent Abdul-Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr with me to al-Tan’eem to start my Umrah.”

Furthermore, Ibn Umar (RA) narrated, “Whoever performs Hajj must perform Tawaf al-wida’ (farewell circumambulation) as the last rite except for menstruating women because the Messenger (SAW) permitted them not to perform it.” 

What Do You Call a Person Who Has Performed Hajj?

hajji is the name given to a muslim who performed hajjIn Islam, a person who has been blessed with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform Hajj is called ‘Hajji.’ An-Nawawi (RA) said: “They (the scholars) agreed that it is desirable to use the name that a person likes, for example, Abu Bar As-Siddeeq’s real name was ‘Abdullaah Ibn’ Uthmaan, and his nickname was ‘Ateeq, and also Abu Turaab was the nickname of ‘Ali Ibn Abu Taalib.”

However, note that it is only allowed to call a person Hajji given that they don’t use it to show off. 

So, in short, a woman who has performed Hajj is called ‘Hajjah,’ whereas a man who has performed the obligation of pilgrimage is called ‘Hajji.’

Summary – Can a Women Go to Hajj Without a Mahram?

Being one of the most sacred obligations in Islam, pilgrimage comes with rules and regulations that Muslims must follow to complete the ritual the way they’re meant to.

One of these rules is that a woman isn’t allowed to travel to the city of Makkah without a mahram – unmarriageable kin, a male person whom she is bonded with by blood, fosterage, or marriage. A woman must be accompanied by her mahram for every ritual of Hajj or Umrah. 

However, considering the fact that the world is now a safer place and there are women who don’t have a mahram but are physically and financially stable and wish to perform the Holy Pilgrimage, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has allowed women to perform the rituals of Hajj and Umrah without a mahram.

The only condition is that they must travel with a group of reliable and trusted companions and keep a distance from non-mahram men

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