Most scholars are of the opinion that women cannot travel alone. They must be accompanied by a mahram(a relative with whom marriage is prohibited). Therefore, in journeys such as hajj,they do not allow women to travel alone. The following Ahādīth are the basis of their view:

 

Abū Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet (sws) said:

 

لَا يُحِلُّ لِاِمْرَأَةٍ تُؤْمِنُ باِللهِ وَاليَوْمِ الآخِرِ تُسَافِرُ مَسِيْرةَ يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ إِلاَّ مَعَ ذِيمَحْرَمٍ عَلَيْهَا

 “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel a distance for one day and one night without a mahramwith her.”[1]

 

Abū Sa‘īdnarrates that the Prophet (sws) said:

 

نُهِىَ أَنْ تُسَافِرَ المَرْأَةَمَسِيْرَةَ يَوْمَيْنِ إِلَّا وَمَعَهَا زَوْجَهَا أَوْ ذُوْ مَحْرَمٍ

“A woman has been stopped from travelling a distance for two days except with her husband or mahramwith her.”[2]

 

It needs to be appreciated that there are a number of Ahādīth in which directives have been given by the Prophet (sws) for the well-being of the Muslims. However, if the circumstances in which such directives have been given change, then as is the case with all conditional directives such directives may no longer apply in the changed circumstances.

The directives given to Muslim women about travelling belong to the above mentioned category. To ensure a safe journey for a woman and to protect her moral character from any scandalous allegation in the strife-ridden society of Arabia, the Prophet (sws) bade them travel with a mahramrelation.

Thus, all tours and journeys etc in which the above two bases still exist, the condition of a woman travelling with a mahrammust be followed. However, with the changed circumstances of modern times, travelling has become very different from what it used to be.  There are some travels in which safety, both physical as well as moral, is ensured. So, in such cases, the mahramcondition no longer applies. As far as the decision as to which journeys have become safe is concerned, the traveller must decide for herself.