Is Traveling Alone Allowed?

21 January, 2017
Q Can women travel alone for trips and such without a male guardian? Why can't she if not?

Answer

Peace be upon you dear questioner,

Thank you so much for your question and for your desire to know the most pure conduct per the teachings of Islam revealed by the All-Knowing Creator.

Primarily, your question has been dealt with in the noble prophetic hadiths (traditions), like this one:

The Prophet (peace be upon him-PBUH) said, “A woman should not travel except with a Dhu-Mahram [her husband or a man with whom that woman cannot marry according to the Islamic Jurisprudence], and no man may visit her except in the presence of a Dhu-Mahram.” A man got up and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)! I intend to go to such and such an army and my wife wants to perform Hajj.” The Prophet (PBUH) said (to him), “Go along with her (to Hajj). (Sahih Al Bukhari)

Now, I encourage you to send a question with your specific situation to a scholar and get the most accurate answer pertaining to your personal situation. You may use our “Ask the Scholar” service on our website for that.

But if we were to contemplate on the wisdom of the instruction in this hadith together here, we may remember that – essentially- Allah and His Messenger teach us that which is most beneficial for us in this life and the next.

The safety, protection, and honor of the woman are the ultimate concern here. Allah Almighty always honors us, as He Almighty says:

{And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.} (Quran 17:70)

Anything that we are being taught by Allah is ultimately to honor and dignify us. Having a male companion with a woman in her travels would essentially aid and protect her in everything she needs.

A woman is highly honored in Islam. The word “womb” in Arabic is “rahm”, and the word is extracted from the name of Allah “ArRahman” (The Most Merciful). This shows the closeness the woman has with her Creator, The King of kings, and her status with Him.

Allah assigned men to protect and provide for women.

In Islam, a father is instructed to take care and fulfill the needs of his daughter(s) fully, and if he does so, this will be a door of Jannah to him. Similarly, the husband is encouraged to be kind to his wife and is obligated to cover all her needs and protect her, and if he does so, this is a door to Jannah is open to him.

So, if you think about it, it is really flattering to think of how Allah Almighty is instructing all men in a woman’s life to look out for her, and never let he be subjected to harassment, abuse, loneliness, or neediness, or anything that may take away her dignity.

This is ultimately a mercy from the Creator, Allah Almighty. Some might perceive this as restricting to women; however, this is a narrow lens of looking at matters. It is never the case in Islam to restrict or oppress. Islam seks to protect us from potential harm.  

Allah Almighty does not single out women in this matter, either. Even men are encouraged to travel in a group. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

A single rider is (accompanied with) Satan and two riders are (accompanied with) two Satans. Three riders form a group. (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

This is because travelling can be dangerous. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

Were people to know of what I know about the dangers of travelling alone, no rider would travel alone at night. (Bukhari)

Islam teaches us the most lawful and most pure way of conduct for a successful life.

Allah created men and women to help one another and the way he planned this is the purest and most noble way for both of them.

{The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.} (Quran 9:71)

Again, we encourage you to send your specific, detailed inquiry to the scholars in order to get the most accurate fatwa for your case given your circumstances.

But I hope this clarifies the principle for you. Please keep in touch. 

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

1400 Years Ago, Islam Offered the Perfect Social System for Women

Muslim Women: Protected or Oppressed?

Prophet Muhammad’s Respect and Love for Women

The Story of Women in Islam