Can Women Perform Hajj Without a Mahram?

A woman well-known for her piety, in her middle ages or close to being elderly, wants to make the Hajj of Islam. However, she does not have a Mahram. From the same country there is a man who is well-known for his piety who wants to make Hajj and he is traveling with women whom he is related to. Is it proper for that woman to make Hajj with this man and the women he is traveling with, being among the women with the man watching over them? Does she have to perform the Hajj or is this requirement dropped from her since she does not have a Mahram, even though she is financially capable? Give us a response, may Allah reward you.

The woman who does not have a Mahram is not obligated to perform the Hajj. This is because a Mahram, with respect to her, is part of the necessary aspects of having the means to perform the Hajj. Having the means is one of the conditions for the obligatory nature of Hajj. Allah says:

"And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses" [Noble Quran 3:97]

It is not allowed for her to travel for Hajj or otherwise without her husband or a Mahram.

This is based on what Al-Bukhari recorded that the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said:

"It is not allowed for a woman to travel a day and night's distance except with a Mahram." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Also recorded from Ibn 'Abbas that he heard the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) say:

"A man cannot be alone with a woman unless in the presence of a Mahram of hers. And a woman does not travel except along with a Mahram."

A man said: "O Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) my wife has left to make the Hajj and I have enlisted for such and such expedition." He said: "Go and make Hajj with your wife."

This is the opinion of Al-Hasan, Al-Nakh’i, Ahmad, Ishaq, Ibn Al-Mundhir and the scholars of juristic reasoning "As-hab Ar-Ra'i". It is the correct opinion because it is in agreement with the generality of the Hadith of the Prophet that prohibits women from traveling without a husband or Mahram.

Malik, Al-Shafi'i and Al-Awza'i have a differing opinion. They all state conditions for which they have no evidence. Ibn Al-Mundhir stated: "They all abandon the clear, obvious meaning of the Hadith and lay down conditions for which they have no evidence.

And with Allah lies all the success, and may Allah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatawa