Praise be to Allah, may peace and blessings be upon Allah's Messenger, his family, and Companions. To proceed: (Part No. 17; Page No. 314) The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has read the inquiry submitted by His Eminence, Director of King `Abd-ul-`Aziz University, Professor `Abdullah `Umar Nasif to His Eminence the General President, referred under No. (181/1S) on 6/6/1400 A.H. The inquiry stated the following:Female students staying at the student hostel and whose families live in Al-Ta'if
have submitted a request regarding permission to travel via mass transportation vehicles to
during official holidays and on Thursdays and Fridays. This is being done with a view to spare their Waliys (guardians) the effort of accompanying them to and from the university as required by the university. A written letter has been officially signed and sealed requesting permission to use the vehicles. The Waliys are to undertake the responsibility of the consequences. This is being done to spare the Waliys the hardship of attending the university to accompany their daughters.The supervisor at
Mass Transportation Company said the station is able to take on the responsibility of transporting the students. We present the case to Your Eminence hoping that you will clarify the Islamic standpoint in this regard. In case of your approval, the ruling will be further applicable to female students who reside in
(Makkah, the Honored) and other cities.We ask Allah to reward you with the best for the service you provide to Islam and Muslims.
(Part No. 17; Page No. 315) Permanent Committee replied that Shari`ah (Islamic law) is based on the principle of bringing about benefit and preventing harm. One of the main objectives of Shari`ah is to protect the lineage and honor of Muslims. The Qur'an and Sunnah (whatever reported from the Prophet) are clear on the point that it is incumbent to block all avenues leading to confusion of lineage and honor. This is similar to the prohibition of Khulwah (being alone with a member of the opposite sex) with Ajnaby (a man other than a spouse and unmarriageable relatives), the prohibition of a woman displaying her charms in front of a man other than her husband or her Mahram (unmarriageable relative) or others who fall under a similar category. These have been mentioned in Surah (Qur'anic chapter) of Al-Nur. In this Surah, Allah (Exalted be He) commands lowering the gaze, and prohibits lustful gazes being directed at women. The means that may lead to committing fornication, confusion of lineage, and the violation of honor include:
A woman traveling without the company of someone to protect her, like her husband or Mahram. That is why it has been declared as prohibited. It was authentically reported on the authority of
Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
A woman should not undertake a journey extending over three days except with her husband, or with a Mahram.
It was also authentically reported on the authority of
Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
A woman should not travel for a Barid (a distance equal to four parasang or a distance of half a day) without a Mahram (her husband or a man with whom that woman cannot marry at all according to the Islamic Jurisprudence).
Abu Dawud and
It was authentically reported on the authority of
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) delivering a Khutbah (sermon) saying:
A man cannot be alone with a woman unless when she is in the company of a Mahram. A woman can only travel when she is accompanied by a Mahram." Hearing this, a man stood up and said: "O Messenger of Allah! My wife has gone for Hajj and I (Part No. 17; Page No. 316) have enrolled myself in such and such expedition." The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Go and perform Hajj with your wife."
Some Hadiths have restricted the period of prohibited traveling to one day, others to one night, and yet others to three miles or two days. However, specifying the period is pointless and is opposed by the Hadith narrated by
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and other similar Hadiths. Therefore, specifying the period is of no account compared to the general understanding of the Hadith narrated by
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him). It is clear on the point that a woman, whether young or old, is prohibited from undertaking any journey unless she is accompanied by her husband or her Mahram, regardless of whether or not the journey is short or long, by sea or by land. The statement of some scholars that the prohibition only materializes in case of a young woman or in case of an unsafe journey or in the absence of pious women companions is rejected by the general meaning of the Hadith narrated by
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him). Since this Hadith is general on the prohibition, it should take priority over other Hadiths that restrict the period of prohibited traveling to certain days. Accordingly, it is prohibited for women to travel by planes or cars without being in the company of their husbands or Mahram, regardless of whether or not they are students. Since it is considered as traveling, it falls under the general prohibition mentioned in the Hadith. (Part No. 17; Page No. 317) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.