Can Women Travel Without a Mahram According to The Shafi‘i School?

Maliki FiqhShafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Saudi laws allow a woman to travel for Umra and Hajj without a mahram when she reaches the age of 45.

As for the Shafi‘i school of thought, it’s advisable to consult with a knowledgeable scholar or authority within that school to determine their specific stance on this matter.

This permission typically applies to Umra and Hajj, allowing women aged 45 and older to travel without a mahram for these religious pilgrimages.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah guide every dimension of our lives to that which pleases Him.

According to the contemporary Shafi‘i Jurist, Shaykh Amjad Rasheed (drawing from the classical Shafi‘i sources), states:

Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

“When a woman travels without her husband or mahram, there is some detail to discuss. If the purpose of her travel is to perform an obligation, such as the Hajj or ‘Umra, according to our School, it is permissible for her to travel by herself if she feels it is safe.

This includes travel to seek a livelihood if no one else spends on her, as the scholars have explicitly stated because seeking a halal livelihood is obligatory. However, she must be sure to observe the rules of the Hijab and not be in seclusion with men.

As for a trip that is for something non-obligatory, it is haram for her to travel without a husband or mahram, even if she feels it is safe, and I have not heard anything in our School that permits it.

The Maliki View

I have seen in Maliki works a position that it is permissible if the travel is with a secure group, and some of the later scholars have relied upon this. I asked the erudite scholar Shaykh Muhammad al-Hafiz al-Shanqayti al-Maliki.

He said it is permissible to follow this opinion and act upon it in their School, such as airplane passengers if there are many. In this is some room for ease.” [Translated by Ustadha Shazia Ahmed and edited by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick]

السؤال : هل ثم رخصة في المذهب الشافعي للمرأة أن تسافر في قافلة مأمونة عند الحاجة مع عدم إمكان السفر مع محرم؟

الجواب : في سفر المرأة من غير زوج أو محرم تفصيلٌ ؛ فإن كان سفرُها لأداء واجبٍ كالحج والعمرة عندنا فيجوز لها السفرُ وحدَها إن أمنت على نفسها ، ومن ذلك السفرُ لطلب الرزق كما صرحوا به إن لم يُنفق عليها أحدٌ ؛ لأن طلب الحلال واجب ، لكن عليها مراعاةُ الأحكام بستر العورة وعدم الخلوة بالرجال . أما إن كان سفرُها لغير واجب فيحرم عليها من غير زوج أو محرم وإن أمنت على نفسها ، ولا أعلم قولاً في مذهبنا يبيحُ ذلك . نعم رأيتُ في بعض كتب المالكية قولاً بالجواز إن كان السفر مع جمعٍ مأمونٍ واعتمده بعضُ المتأخرين منهم ، وقد سألتُ عنه العلامةَ الشيخَ محمداً الحافظ الشنقيطي المالكي فقال : يجوز تقليدُه والعملُ به في مذهبهم كمسافري الطائرة إن كانوا كثيرين ، وفيه سعة.

Please consult this related answer.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.