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Friday Prayer and Travel. [ Shafi’i ]

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am travelling on a Friday at 15:00. Jumu’ah time has already come in but there is no time to make Jumu’ah at a local masjid and still catch my flight. Is it acceptable to pray Dhuhr as a traveler on the flight and miss Jumu’ah at the mosque?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Yes, you are excused from Jumu’a because the risk of missing your flight is an excuse. [Bushra al-Karim] What would not be permissible would be to take off in you own private jet at that time or depart in your own car, because there would be no “group” that you would be left behind by.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed. 

2019 Istanbul Calligraphy Retreat

 

 

The 2019 Istanbul Calligraphy Retreat is a unique opportunity for aspiring calligraphers to spend a month under the apprenticeship of master calligraphers in Istanbul.

The retreat will consist of direct instruction in the Islamic fine arts, along with lectures and excursions to visit senior calligraphers – both living and passed –  along with masters in  papermaking, bookbinding, marbling, illuminating involved in preserving and honoring the written word. We hope the retreat will offer participants the opportunity:

– to catalyze lifelong relationships with master calligraphers and internalize the spiritual motivations of creative work
– to formally begin the apprenticeship towards mastery in the letter arts which culminates in the coveted _ijaza_ diploma
– To cultivate meaningful relationships with fellow students to be a source of mutual inspiration and support through the demanding and rewarding  journey toward mastery.

Organizers:

The Deen Arts Foundation aims to inspire and educate by organizing art exhibitions and workshops and supporting practitioners of calligraphy, illumination, ceramics and other Islamic fine arts.
Islamic Retreats was established in early 2018 for the purpose of serving the needs of Muslim communities, groups, organizations, and charities in the West that wish to have educational, activity-driven retreats, or halal Holidays in Turkey. We believe that excursions like these help bring us all closer to each other and reconnect us with nature and reignite the spirit.

 


 

 

Adab 08: The Proprieties of Travel

Ustadh Tabraze Azam writes on the proprieties of travel and how one can make even a simple journey an act of true worship.

True, meaningful journeying is found in spiritual wayfaring. In other words, the journey from sin and disobedience to righteous acts and godfearingness, from heedlessness to presence, from distance to proximity, and from everything which Allah hates to everything Allah loves. This is the kind of journey that we will be deeply grateful for when we cast a backwards glance, to here, from the next life. This life is a time of planting the seeds, and the next is when we’ll harvest. Allah Most High says, “It will be as if they had stayed in the world no more than one evening or its morning.” (Sura al-Nazi‘at 79:46)

If things seem bleak for us, then let us be optimistic, as was the prophetic sunna, and make a change for the better today. In an instant, the turmoil and degradation of life in disobedience can be transformed, by His Grace, into something tremendous and everlasting. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, as part of a lengthier tradition (hadith), “One of you would observe the works of the people of the Hellfire until there is only a cubit between him and it, but then the register would forestall him and he would perform an act of the people of Paradise and consequently enter it.” (Bukhari) Whoever strives for Allah will find Him before him, and whoever traverses an upright, trodden, prophetic path will find great blessing, or baraka, in his life journey.

Purpose in Journeys

In the famous tradition (hadith) of intention, the Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever has migrated to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger. And whosoever has migrated to obtain worldly means or to marry a woman, his migration is for the sake of what he has migrated for.” (Bukhari) What we can learn from this tradition (hadith) is that travel should be to Allah, and by extension, His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace. This doesn’t mean travel only to Makka and Madina, but to travel with Lordly intent, direction and focus.

Realize that all travel is a reminder of the soul’s trajectory from this world to the next, and the successful person is the one who recognizes the need for His Lord, traverses the journey of his life for His Lord, and attains the Pleasure of his Lord for eternity. In deciding to journey, let the intention be clearly for Allah, and naturally, your spiritual compass will be facing the right direction as you proceed. As Ibn ‘Ata Illah al-Sakandari stated, “Whoever’s beginning is illumined, their ending is illumined.” (al-Hikam)

Religious Preparation

A consistent theme in prophetic practice was prayer before any meaningful matter, and travel, in this sense, is no different. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, would regularly perform two cycles (rak‘as) before heading out on any journey. (Tabarani) Make it a point to renew your repentance, pay back anybody that’s owed anything from you and to leave sufficient food and money for your family, if required.

It would be from proper manners and due diligence to ensure that you pack everything you’ll need, both for your worldly and religious affairs. The former is straightforward for most, so let us concentrate on the latter. Thinking ahead would entail traveling with some kind of compass and prayer rug. Compasses are easily available on most handheld devices, but it’s useful to have a backup. Similarly, and depending on the nature of the journey, you should consider taking a smooth stone with you for the purposes of the dry ablution (tayammum). Razors, or anything similar which does the job, and nail clippers should also be carried with you as these are facilitators of personal hygiene, namely, something which is of religious significance.

The Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, encouraged us to leave a bequest or final testament. (Bukhari) This document should expressly state your desire to have your possessions distributed according to the Islamic laws of inheritance. If this document can also be officially recognized in your country of residence, you should take the means to make it as such, not merely for travel, but as a document which you have ready in the case of death. Moreover, you should include any debts owed, whether to other people, or to Allah Most High in the form of missed prayers, fasts and the like. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to make these matters up in your lifetime! Rather, it affirms your commitment to lift your dues, even in the case of death. The general rule is that you should make up anything which requires making up as soon as possible.

Setting Out: When and How

Our Master Ka‘b ibn Malik, may Allah be well-pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to “like setting out on Thursdays.” (Bukhari) And Sakhr ibn Wada‘a, may Allah be well-pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to supplicate by saying “O Allah, bless my community in their early mornings.” (Abu Dawud) From these and other traditions, the scholars explain that there is a secret of increase, or baraka, in setting out in the morning times, particularly on Thursdays. When this isn’t possible, some of the scholars recommend Mondays, then Saturdays – which has also been related, and then any other day (avoiding Fridays as much as possible).

In setting out, it is also from the sunna to bid farewell to family and loved ones in order to attain the blessings of their supplications for safety, facilitation and otherwise. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is reported to have bidden farewell by saying, “I entrust your affair to Allah who doesn’t allow his trusts to go to waste.” (Ibn Majah) Upon leaving, he, Allah bless him and give him peace, would often supplicate with the following: “Glory be to the One who has subjected these to us, for we could have never done so on our own. And surely to our Lord we will all return. O Allah, we ask You in this journey of ours for piety and godfearingness, and action which is pleasing to You. O Allah, make this journey of ours easy for us, and fold up its distance. O Allah, You are the Companion in the journey and the Protector of our family. O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the hardship of this journey, any sight which brings sorrow, and a harmful return in [our] wealth, family and children.” (Muslim)

It is also established to say the takbir (Allahu akbar) often, and to supplicate as much as you reasonably can as the supplication of a traveler is accepted. (Abu Dawud) For example, you could ask Allah to facilitate your purification and prayers, and not to reject even a single supplication on your journey. More often than not, reciting various remembrances (adhkar) and supplications in such a manner sets the tone for the remainder of the journey. Be the believer who thanks Allah sincerely for the blessings of facilitated travel.

Traveling in a Group and Appointing a Leader

One of the sunnas of travel is to choose righteous companions. The Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, cautioned against lone travel by saying, “If people knew what I know about the harms of being alone, no rider would travel alone through the night.” (Bukhari) Unsurprisingly, the point is about the harms of loneliness in travel, and issues of riding or otherwise, and doing so during the night, are secondary. What the scholars explain is that among the reasons for the interdiction of being alone is that you don’t have anybody to assist you in your affairs, particularly in the case of great harm or injury. Similarly, you cannot fulfill your religious duties fully, such as prayer in congregation, for example. Further, it is known that the devils come out at night, spreading their harm and whispers so it’s best to be with others in order to ward off such matters with greater strength. It’s a lot easier to fall into sin when nobody else is looking.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, also said, “If three people head out on a journey, let them appoint one of them as a leader.” (Abu Dawud) There is great, prophetic wisdom in this because travel is “a piece of torment,” namely, emotionally, psychologically and physically draining, and thus, it is far easier to fall into disagreement with others, get upset with people and to generally fall short in upholding noble character. When there is a chosen leader, ideally the person who is most senior in religiosity and most experienced in travel, then the others are bound to follow his decisions in matters related to travel. When that happens, there is less likely to be discord, or fitna, and any form of argumentation between the traveling companions.

Gracious character entails looking out for your fellow travelers, sharing with them what you have, spending on them – both financially and emotionally, preferring them to yourself, consulting with them, encouraging them to the good, smiling at them, assisting them, checking in on them once in a while, and supplicating for them.

Knowledge of Acts of Religious Devotion

It is important to recognize that different life circumstances have different rulings, and that “the strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer.” (Muslim) Strong believers put Allah first, learn what He has commanded and then strive to implement those Commands, and by extension, Prohibitions, as best they can wherever they find themselves. Although it’s not a condition to know all the details, the general rulings which pertain to your situation should be known as they fall under that which is personally obligatory knowledge or ‘ilm al-hal.

Accordingly, you should make it a point to ensure that you know well the rulings relating to the acts of religious devotion which are altered by travel. The most significant of these, because of its regularity, is the prayer. The basis is that the four cycle (rak‘a) obligatory prayer is shortened to two cycles (rak‘as), and the sunset prayer (maghrib) is left as it is. However, you don’t begin shortening until you have left the city limits, or if not designated, the customarily accepted boundaries of a particular town or city. In the same way, you are only legally considered to be a traveler (musafir) when you are staying somewhere for less than fifteen complete days. If you are staying longer, you’d pray as a resident prays, without shortening any prayers.

During the journey, you would pray the emphasized sunna prayers if you aren’t in an active state of travel. Active travel means that you are hurrying to get to a boarding gate, for example, or are doing something which requires your full attention. In our times, the matter of praying in travel is very much facilitated as you can pray voluntary prayers (except the sunna of fajr) in your seat, in the direction of travel, in almost any mode of transport. In doing so, you would pray with head movements, keeping your head upright for the standing position (qiyam), bending slightly for the bowing (ruku‘) and slightly more for the prostration (sujud). Praying in this manner on modes of transport is an established sunna of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

As for fasting in Ramadan, it is superior to fast unless it will cause you hardship or difficulty. If you choose not to fast, then you must ensure that you have left your city limits by the entrance of dawn (fajr). In the case that you’re still in your hometown at this time, you’d need to fast that day.

Returning with Adab

The general sunna was to return home after the need had been fulfilled, and not to remain in a state of journeying and travel when there was no need for it. Abu Huraira, may Allah be well-pleased with him, reported that the Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said as part of a longer tradition (hadith), “So, when one of you fulfills his need, let him return to his family.” (Bukhari) Similarly, he, Allah bless him and give him peace, disliked for somebody to return home in the middle of the night lest he surprise his family in a manner which will cause him harm. Rather, his practice was to return in the morning or afternoon. (Bukhari) Of course, when you have no choice, or when you inform your family of your precise return, then there is no issue. Note that to return after having performed the ritual bath (ghusl) is also meritorious.

Another sunna was to recite the aforementioned supplication [of setting out] on return, with the additional phrase, “Returning, repenting, worshiping and praising our Lord.” Other traditions explain that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, would repeat this just before and until entering Madina, indicating the merit of expressing one’s gratitude for the blessing of returning home safely. The Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, would then proceed to pray two cycles (rak‘as) at the mosque before heading home. (Bukhari) This can be done at any mosque in your city, if reasonably possible without inconvenience and hardship. Otherwise, you can pray it at home in your designated prayer space (musalla) or anywhere else. Why? So that you begin and end your journey with worship and prayer; and secondarily, use it as an indication of a new point of departure in your spiritual life, seeking Allah at the very beginning and every point thereafter.

Great Journeys

Some of the scholars explain that there are some journeys which are truly worth making. From among them, the sacred pilgrimage for either Hajj or ‘umra. The former, especially, is an act of great virtue by which, according to tradition, a person is able to return “like the day his mother gave birth to him,” (Bukhari) namely, cleansed of the lowliness of sin and heedlessness.

In the same vein, great journeys include traveling to redress wrongs, to repay debts, to seek sacred knowledge which cannot otherwise be reasonably attained, to seek safety and protection from oppression and strife, to free oneself from the shackles of habit and sin, to take a break from the rigors of worship and to follow the Divine Command: “Travel throughout the land and see how He originated the creation, then Allah will bring it into being one more time. Surely Allah is Most Capable of everything.” (Sura al-‘Ankabut 29:20)

As for the tradition (hadith) of not journeying to other than the three sacred mosques (Bukhari), this means that you should not travel to pray in other than these mosques in light of their immense, established virtue. It does not mean that you shouldn’t travel at all except to travel to one of these mosques. This is what many scholars have explicitly explained, such as Munawi, Ghazali, Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Suyuti and others.

Finally, and just as we began, the greatest journey of all is the journey of your soul into eternity. As each moment passes, we’re all a single moment closer to leaving this worldly life. It is there, in the hereafter, that actions will take forms and provisions from this life will be required. Let each of us look well to their own lives and how much it corresponds to what Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, called us to. “Whoever finds great good, let him thank Allah. And whoever finds other than that, let him blame none other than himself.” (Muslim) A complete change of direction takes a single moment of sincere repentance, and in that moment, all sin and its traces can be completely wiped away. We ask Allah Most High to bless us with journeys He is eternally pleased with.

And Allah alone gives success.


 

Legal Rulings of Travel : A Reader

This reader gathers many resources on different subjects on the legal rulings related to travel, such as combining prayers, and fasting.legal rulings of travel

For more, also see The Etiquette of Traveling: A Comprehensive SeekersHub Reader

General Guidance

Traveling on Friday: Disliked or Not?

When am I Considered a Traveller? (Shafi’i)

What Is Considered to Be a City Boundary When Traveling? 

Parental Approval to Travel to Seek Knowledge

Spiritual Dimensions of Travel

 

Praying While Travelling

The Basic Rulings of Praying While Traveling (Hanafi) 

What Are the Rules of Travel And Prayer According to the Shafi’i School? 

Joining Prayers While Traveling (Maliki)

How Make up My Missed Prayers from Travel?

Are We Supposed to Pray Sunna and Witr Prayers When Traveling

When Is a Person Considered a Traveler Who Can Shorten Their Prayers?

 

Fasting While Travelling

When and Where Do I Break My Fast on a 20 Hour Airline Flight?

Can I Break My Fast While Traveling During Ramadan?

Should I Feel Bad for Not Fasting When I Had to Travel?

When Am I Allowed to Not Fast When Traveling?

 

Women Travelling

Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram?

Can I Follow Another Madhhab When Traveling?

Can a Woman Travel Alone for More Than 48 Miles If There Is a Benefit?

 

 

 

Can I Follow Another Madhhab When Traveling?

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about taking a dispensation from another madhhab in one thing and how that affects other actions.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am Hanafi. In the Hanafi madhhab, it is not permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram. However, this website states that their is a reliable opinion within the Maliki that allows travel without a mahram subject to certain conditions.

So my question is, if I am traveling do I need to do everything according to the Maliki madhhab – e.g., praying according to Malikis, doing wudu with rubbing whole head etc. – in order to avoid talfiq (impermissible mixing)? Or can I continue with my normal worship as a Hanafi and just take rukhsa (dispensation) for the issue of travel?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

You may take the Maliki dispensation permitting travel, with its requisite conditions, while continuing to pray as normal according to your chosen school of law (madhhab). Travel isn’t inextricably connected to prayer.

Impermissible mixing between legal schools (talfiq) is understood to be in the context of a single action such that no school would deem the action to be valid. When dealing with separate actions, it is acceptable to join between them if there is a need to do so.

Please also see Can a Woman Travel Alone for More Than 48 Miles If There Is a Benefit?, Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram? and A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs).

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


When Should I Shorten My Prayers?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

If I am going for work from Peshawar to Nowshera then back to Mardan and then Takht Bhai the total distance is more than 100km but the distance between Takht Bhai and our home is 70 to 74 miles on the map.

Should I shorten my prayers?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

In determining the travel distance when there are multiple stops on a journey, we look to the distance of the final destination from the starting point. Assuming that your itinerary is as stated in the question, Takht Bhai, the place mentioned as the final stop, is indeed a travelling distance away from your home, namely, Peshawar. Accordingly, you would begin to shorten your prayers after leaving Peshawar. Straight line distances between two cities or towns are of no consideration.

[Haskafi, al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.527)]

Please also see this answer.

And Allah Most High knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

How to Calculate the Distance Between Two Cities to Know If I Am a Traveler?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Is the distance to be considered a traveler determined by the straight line distance one is from his home city or is it determined by the total distance it takes to travel to the city?

For example, I often travel to a city that is a straight line distance of 45 miles away, but the route requires travel on 70 miles of road to reach there because I first have to travel north and then east rather than straight northeast.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The travel distance depends upon the road taken, and it is not the straight-line distance between two points. Hence, if it takes you seventy miles from the outskirts of your city to reach your destination city, this would mean that you would shorten your prayers.

Please also see: The Basic Rulings of Travel and: A Traveler Praying Behind a Resident Imam: Do I Shorten My Prayers?

And Allah Most High knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Should I Shorten My Prayers in a Plane That Has Landed?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

When person travels by plane, can he still shorten his prayers when the plane lands at the runway if the Airport is within one’s home city limits?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, you cannot shorten your prayers within your home city.

A traveller continues to shorten his prayers until he enters his permanent place of residence (al-watan al-asli) or a temporary place of residence (watan al-iqama). Your home city is your permanent place of residence, so you must cease shortening as soon as you enter it even if you are still in the sky.

Please also see this answer.

And Allah Most High knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

How Make up My Missed Prayers from Travel?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I’ve a lot of prayers to make up. I also travel quite a bit as well. I do not know how many traveler’s prayers I missed, but I know how many prayers I have to catch up on. Can I pray all my prayers at full length?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, you need to make up your missed prayers from travel shortened (i.e. the four cycle prayers are to be shortened to two cycles). The basis is that prayers are to be made up as they are missed. Hence, if you missed the prayer whilst travelling, you would make it up as such. If you aren’t sure how many prayers this relates to, you should make a reasonable estimate.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.17)]

Please also see this answer.

And Allah Most High knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am willing to study in a city that is 50 minutes by plane away from my family. When I will there I’ll be residing in a very safe place. Is it permissible for a woman to fly a distance of about 350 miles (50 minutes) alone?

Answer: As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

First of all, regarding the distance after which travelling becomes impermissible for a woman:

It is the same as the distance after which prayers are shortened, i.e. 48 miles, regardless of whether that distance is covered quickly (e.g. on an airplane) or slowly (e.g. by car or by foot).

Secondly, Fatwa # 1 below conveys the permissibility of a Muslim woman residing alone in a foreign country, as long as her safety and security is relatively certain and her reason for being there is permissible in itself. Although the issue of residing alone was not specifically asked about, this fatwa has been provided for your benefit since it relates to your situation.

Third, regarding the issue of a Muslim woman travelling without her husband/mahram, two fatwas are given. Please read these fatwas below in full, in order to properly understand the issue. Fatwa # 2 goes into detail regarding this issue. A number of hadith are provided along with detailed explanation, and many citations are given to relied-upon Islamic texts. The conclusion is that a Muslim woman may not travel beyond 48 miles from her place of residence without her husband or a mahram (i.e. unmarriageable kin such as father, son, brother, uncle, etc.). However, Fatwa # 3 conveys the position of some Maliki scholars for the permissibility of a Muslim woman travelling beyond this distance. According to these scholars, this is permissible as long as she is with a group of people with whom her safety and security is relatively certain. Modern air travel normally fulfills this condition, according to these scholars. Hence, it is clear that there is some difference of opinion of scholars on this issue. In one of his previous answers, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani summarized the issue as follows:

“There are permissive fatwas from some respected, traditional scholars. But safety lies in caution. As such, what I have heard from two fuqaha of great knowledge, wisdom and taqwa, Shaykh Adib al-Kallas of Damascus and Shaykh Mahmoud Ashraf Usmani of Pakistan is that women should NOT do so under normal circumstances. They explained the fiqhi reasoning behind this: it is convincing. It is also what taqwa and caution would indicate. The Prophetic hadiths on the issue are well known. The way of those two seek the path of the next life is to avoid dispensations and the ‘easy way out’ on such matters inasmuch as reasonably possible.”

Fatwa # 1
=======
A woman living alone in a foreign country
Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

Question: What is the ruling of man who leaves his wife alone in a foreign country so that she can call people to the religion of Allah?

Answer: A woman living alone in a foreign country is not forbidden as long as her honor and religion is safe, whether she is there to call people to Allah, Most High, or for another purpose that is permissible, such as visiting relatives and the sort.

However, it is not permissible [in the Shafi`i school] for her to move from the country that she is in, such that she would be traveling alone without a mahram, even if it is with the intention of calling people to Allah, Most High. It is also impermissible for her to live alone in a place where her religion and honor is not safe.

Amjad Rasheed

السؤال: ما هو حُكم مَن يترك زوجته وحدَها في دولة أجنبية لتقومَ بالدعوة إلى دين الله؟

الجواب : إقامةُ المرأة وحدَها في دولة أجنبية غير ممنوع طالما كانت تأمن على عرضها ودينها سواء كانت تقيمُ هناك للدعوة إلى الله تعالى أم لغرض آخر مباح كزيارة رحم ونحو ذلك ، لكن لا يجوز لها أن تنتقل من بلدتها التي هي فيها فتسافر وحدها من غير محرم ولو كان ذلك بقصد الدعوة إلى الله تعالى . وكذلك يحرمُ إقامتها وحدَها إن كانت لا تأمن على عرضها ودينها .

Fatwa # 2
=======
Can Women Travel Without a Mahram? By Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

(follow the link above to read the fatwa)

Fatwa # 3
=======
Is there a dispensation in the Shafi`i school for a woman to travel with a safe group upon need?
Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

Question: Is there a dispensation in the Shafi`i school for a woman to travel with a safe group upon need when she does not have a mahram (unmarriageable kin) that she can travel with?

Answer: 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 for her. Included in this is travel for seeking a livelihood, if no one else spends on her, as the scholars have explicitly stated, because seeking halal livelihood is obligatory. However, she must be sure to observe the rules of covering 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.

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 and he said that it is permissible to follow this opinion and to act upon it in their school, such as airplane passengers if they are many. In this is some room for ease.

– Amjad.

(Translated by Shazia Ahmad)

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 .

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Umer Mian