Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fatwa: Can Women Travel Without A Babysitter?

I've been reading a few fatwas (religious rulings by Islamic scholars) on the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA). The site is dedicated to helping Muslims in the West with Islamic jurisprudence. One can browse through the fatwas by category. Intrigued, I decided to checkout what fatwas they had about women.
I wasn't disappointed. I swear to my fictitious God that I haven't changed this in any manner. Below is a question pertaining to sharia law and afterwards is the answer from the scholar.  Here is the link.

Subject: Woman's Travel with no Mahram
Asslamu alaikum,
I thank you for this wonderful website. I ask Allah to grant you success, and help you. Please, I need your advice about this issue.
I am a graduate of architectural engineering college, and I am 23 years old. I want to travel abroad, e.g. UK, or USA, for four years in order to continue my education, that is, obtain a doctorate degree, and I will travel with no mahram (a person whom a woman can never marry e.g. her farther, and her own husband). Is it permissible to do so? Note that I will travel by plane, which means that the travel will definitely be safe. In addition, my dream is to continue my education.

In the name of Allah, Ar-Rahmaan, Ar-Raheem.
All praise is due to Allah, and peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah, his household, his companions, and his followers.
The basic principle is that a woman is not allowed to travel without a maharam. One of the proofs of this ruling is the following hadith: Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with him narrated the prophet sala Allah alayhi wa sallam said, "It is not permissible for a woman to travel except with a mahhrm." Then a man got up and said, "O messenger of Allah! I have enlisted in the army for such-and-such Ghazwa, and my wife is proceeding for Hajj." The messenger of Allah said, "Go, and perform the Hajj with your wife." Narrated by Al-Bukhari. The prophet sala Allah alayhi wa sallam commanded this man to leave Jihad, and proceed for Hajj with his wife though he was enlisted in Ghazwa, and his wife's travel was for offering an act of obedience and piety to Allah, that is, Hajj, and was not for a tour, or suspicious travel.
O my daughter, your issue is more complex because your travel will be to a non-Muslim country, and for many years. Thus, a sane person will not say that such travel is permissible. O my daughter, the happy person is the one who learns from other people's experience. In fact, we know a woman who disobeyed the command of the messenger sala Allah alayhi wa sallam, and traveled to the West with no a mahram, thus, Allah did not bless her travel. In addition, she is still suffering from its evil consequences. Therefore, be patient until Allah grants you an opportunity for lawful travel, i.e. travel with a husband or a mahram. Finally, O my daughter, you should know that what Allah chooses for His slave is better than what the slave chooses for himself. May Allah increase your knowledge and help you apply it. And Allah knows best. 


Allow me to condense the answer: You'd be crazy to travel without a babysitter.

This is Purgatory.


  1. Wow. The line, "May Allah increase your knowledge and help you apply it," is a real doublespeak slap in the face, isn't it? She's just trying to get an education, and he's telling her she's insane to pursue her plans to do so.

    1. Yes, his response was both ernest and absolutely jaw droppingly misogynystic.

      I get the distinct impression that this Allah fellow is not a Hillary Clinton fan.

  2. You know, the sad part is that there are so many ways this could be interpreted. The man could have been compelled to go with his wife to protect her. I imagine that such a journey would have been very dangerous for a woman alone in that time. It could be interpreted that the man must accompany his wife to assist her in her duties, and be used as an argument for splitting things like housework. But no, it is interpreted as the woman will be in moral danger if she goes alone, and cannot be trusted to remain faithful to her beliefs. How sick and sad.

  3. I love how so many religious fanatics use slavery as a positive ideal.

    Finally, O my daughter, you should know that what Allah chooses for His slave is better than what the slave chooses for himself.


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