A woman’s Mahram

Q: A middle-aged to elderly woman from Sheba, known for her piety, wants to perform Hajj, but she does not have a Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative). There is a wealthy, pious man in the town, who wants to perform Hajj with some of his female Mahrams. Can this woman perform Hajj with that kind man and his female relatives, as she will stay in the company of the women and the man will only watch over, or is she exempted from Hajj due to the lack of a Mahram to accompany her, although she is financially able to go? Please give us a Fatwa on this, as there is a disagreement over this issue among some of our brothers. May Allah bless you.

A: A woman who does not have a Mahram is not obligated to perform Hajj, because having a Mahram is part of the means that render woman able to perform Hajj, and ability for it is one of the conditions that must be met in Hajj to make it obligatory. Allah (Exalted be He) says (what means): And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, for those who are able to undertake the journey. It is not permissible for her to travel to Hajj or anywhere else, unless she has her husband or one of her Mahrams with her, based on what is reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both), who said that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say, “No man should be alone with a woman unless she has a Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative) with her, and no woman should travel unless she has a Mahram with her.” A man got up and said, “O Messenger of Allah! My wife has set out for Hajj, and I have enlisted for such-and-such expedition.” He said, “Go and perform Hajj with your wife.” (Part No. 11; Page No. 91) This is the view of Al-Hasan Al-Nakh`y, Ahmad, Is-haq Ibn Al-Mundhir, and As-hab-ul-Ra’y (scholars, especially the Hanafys, who exercised personal reasoning to reach judgments in the absence of clear texts). This is the correct view, because of the above-quoted Ayah (Qur’anic verse), and the general meaning of the Hadith that prohibit a woman from traveling without her husband or a Mahram. This opinion, however, differs from that of Malik, Al-Shafi‘y, and Al-Awza`y, who all stipulated a condition that has no evidence to support it. Ibn Al-Mundhir said, “They ignored the apparent meaning of the Hadith, and each of them stipulated a condition that has no evidence for it.”May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.