Can women travel to Hajj without a mahram in the shafi’i madhab?



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

Praise be to Allah, and His Salutations and Peace be upon our Master Muhammad ﷺ, his believers and Companions.

Women cannot travel to Hajj without a mahram in the shafi’i madhab absolutely. There are, however, some instances where exceptions are made.


There is a tradition related by ‘Abd-Allah b. ‘Abbas, may Allah be Pleased with him, who says that the Prophet ﷺ said:

لَا ‌تُسَافِرِ ‌الْمَرْأَةُ إلا مع ذي محرم 

“A woman is not to travel unless she is accompanied by a mahram” – Al-Bukhari (no.1862) and Muslim (no. 11342) 

Classical scholars

Shaykh Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d.974AH) states in Tuhfat-ul-muhtaj (4/36-37) commentating on Imam an-Nawawi’s statements regarding women travelling during Hajj without a mahram in the shafi’i madhab:

‌وَاعْتِبَارُهُنَّ إنَّمَا هُوَ ‌لِلْوُجُوبِ أَمَّا الْجَوَازُ فَلَهَا أَنْ تَخْرُجَ لِأَدَاءِ فَرْضِ الْإِسْلَامِ مَعَ امْرَأَةٍ ثِقَةٍ كَمَا فِي مَوَاضِعَ مِنْ الْمَجْمُوعِ فَهُمَا مَسْأَلَتَانِ كَمَا يُصَرِّحُ بِهِ كَلَامُهُ فِي شَرْحِ مُسْلِمٍ خِلَافًا لِمَنْ تَوَهَّمَ تَنَاقُضَ كَلَامِهِ وَلَهَا أَيْضًا أَنْ تَخْرُجَ لَهُ وَحْدَهَا إذَا تَيَقَّنَتْ الْأَمْنَ عَلَى نَفْسِهَا هَذَا كُلُّهُ فِي الْفَرْضِ وَلَوْ نَذْرًا أَوْ قَضَاءً عَلَى الْأَوْجَهِ أَمَّا النَّفَلُ فَلَيْسَ لَهَا الْخُرُوجُ لَهُ مَعَ نِسْوَةٍ، وَإِنْ كَثُرْنَ حَتَّى يَحْرُمَ عَلَى الْمَكِّيَّةِ التَّطَوُّعُ بِالْعُمْرَةِ مِنْ التَّنْعِيمِ مَعَ النِّسَاءِ خِلَافًا لِمَنْ نَازَعَ فِيهِ  

“Requiring women [to accompany a woman in travel] is only for Hajj to be an obligation. In terms of permissibility [to travel for Hajj], she may leave for the obligatory Hajj with one woman as is evident in places from al-Majmu’. So, these are two issues [obligation of Hajj and permissibility of going for Hajj] as is clearly evident in his statement in Sharh Muslim contrary to he who claims that his [Imam an-Nawawi] words are conflicting. She can also leave by herself if she is certain of her safety. All of the above is regarding the obligatory Hajj, or a vow, or a make-up according to the strongest position. As for a voluntary Hajj, she is not permitted to leave even if it is with women, regardless of their number, and even if it is for a Makkan resident to exit towards Tan’im in order to perform a voluntary ‘umrah with women contrary to he who contests this.”

In the above text, the issue regarding women travelling for Hajj is discussed. Shaykh Ibn Hajar, may Allah have mercy on him, illustrates how the Shafi’i school not only allows, but obliges a woman to travel for Hajj without the presence of a mahram or her husband.

Further, he discusses how a number of women would suffice in order for this to be an obligation. Later in the text, he highlights how the Shafi’ school differentiates between when it becomes an obligation on a woman to leave for Hajj and when it is permitted although she may not be obliged.

This is where Shaykh Ibn Hajar, may Allah have mercy on him, mentions that a woman is permitted to leave for Hajj with a trustworthy woman, or even by herself as long as she is certain for her safety. This is further explained to be only for the obligatory Hajj. That is, women can only travel to Hajj without a mahram in the shafi’i school if they are going to perform an obligatory Hajj.

As for non-obligatory journeys, this is not permissible as Shaykh Ibn Hajar has clearly clarified.

Commenting on Shaykh Ibn Hajar’s statement aforementioned, Shaykh Abdulhamid ash-Sharwani (d.1301AH) explains in his sub-commentary on Tuhfat-ul’muhtaj:

(قَوْلُهُ: لِأَدَاءِ فَرْضِ الْإِسْلَامِ)
 أَيْ: مِنْ الْحَجِّ وَالْعُمْرَةِ نِهَايَةٌ قَالَ الْكُرْدِيُّ عَلَى بَافَضْلٍ إنَّمَا قَيَّدَ بِفَرْضِ الْإِسْلَامِ؛ لِأَنَّ الْكَلَامَ فِيهِ وَإِلَّا فَكُلُّ سَفَرٍ وَاجِبٍ مِثْلُهُ اهـ عِبَارَةُ الْوَنَائِيِّ وَيَكْفِي فِي الْجَوَازِ لِفَرْضِهَا وَلَوْ نَذْرًا أَوْ قَضَاءً، وَإِنْ كَانَتْ غَيْرَ مُسْتَطِيعَةٍ كَمَا قَالَهُ ابْنُ عَلَّانٍ وَكَذَا كُلُّ عِبَادَةٍ مَفْرُوضَةٍ كَالْهِجْرَةِ امْرَأَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ وَكَذَا وَحْدَهَا إذَا تَيَقَّنَتْ الْأَمْنَ نَفْسًا وَبُضْعًا وَنَحْوَهُمَا اهـ 

‘(To perform the obligatory Hajj) This refers to the obligatory Hajj and ‘Umrah – Nihayah. Al-Kurdi in [his commentary on] Ba’Fadl states, ‘he has specified the obligation of Islam [Hajj] because the discussion is regarding this; however, this relates to any obligatory journey similar to it. In al-Wanna’i’s words, ‘it is sufficient for the permissibility of obligatory Hajj, or vow or make-up, even if she is unable as Ibn ‘Allan states as well as every obligatory worship, such as migration, for only one woman [to accompany her] or even by herself as long as she is certain for her safety, life and honour etc.’ 

Here, Shaykh ‘Abdulhamid, may Allah have mercy on him, cites scholars such as Shaykh Sulaiman al-Kurdi, may Allah have mercy on him. These scholars have explained that a woman can travel for any obligatory journey, it is not limited only for obligatory Hajj, with a trustworthy woman accompanying her, or even herself as long as she can guarantee her own safety.


From the texts of our scholars, may Allah have mercy on them, above, we have gathered the following; it is permissible for women to travel for Hajj without a mahram in the shafi’i madhab for an obligatory journey with a trustworthy woman, or even by herself so long as her own safety is guaranteed.

As for non-obligatory journeys, this is not the same; it is not permissible for a woman to travel alone, nor with a trustworthy woman, nor with a group of women, even if her safety is guaranteed.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Mohammed Jamili (22.05.24)