Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) branded a woman who goes on a journey without a valid Shar’i mahram as one who does not believe in Allah and the Day of Qiyaamah. A woman who proceeds on any journey without a valid mahram, be it for Hajj, is cursed. Her ibaadat is rejected and she remains under the la’nat of Allah Ta’ala and His Angels as long as she is on the journey and away from her home.
WHO IS A VALID MAHRAM
A mahram refers to a male who is a close relative of a woman with whom marriage never was permissible nor will ever be permissible. Father, grandfathers, sons, maternal uncles, paternal uncles and nephews are in this category. A woman is allowed to go on a journey with these mahram males. However, there are two conditions which qualify a mahram to be valid for accompanying the female. These are:
(1) Buloogh (adulthood)
(2) Aadil (uprighteous)
If the male is under 15 years, he will not be adequate for being the mahram of a woman on a journey.
If the mahram is baaligh (an adult) but is a faasiq, i.e. not uprighteous, then too it will not be permissible for a female to travel with him even if he happens to be her father or son.
A grave misunderstanding is that as long as the male is an adult and a close relative, a woman can travel with him. When the mahram cannot fulfil the duties for which he has to accompany the woman, his companionship with her is meaningless, in fact detrimental for her Imaan and Akhlaaq (character).
The duty of the Shar’i mahram is to safeguard the honour of the woman with whom he is travelling. He has to attend to all her needs and affairs along the journey. He has to protect her and ensure that she remains in hijaab/purdah. It is his Waajib duty to keep her safe from all aspects of moral fitnah to the best of his ability. If the mahram is a faasiq, he will obviously be careless and unconcerned in such matters which the Shariah imposes on him. The most important duty of the mahram is to guard the hijaab of the woman. A modernist/faasiq in the first place does not believe in the
Qur’aanic ahkaam of Hijaab. He is not concerned with whom the woman will speak and mingle nor does he see anything wrong with strange men conversing with the woman. Such a mahram is vile, shameless and dishonourable. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) described such a mahram as a dayyooth (evil cuckold).
He is NEVER an adequate mahram for a woman on a journey. It is haraam for a woman to go on a journey with such a
mahram even if he happens to be her son.
Another misunderstanding is the idea that as long as a mahram is accompanying the woman, other males may also travel in the same vehicle on pleasure trips. It should be well understood that to do so will be permissible only when necessary. But to plan a pleasure trip or a holiday from home in such a way that all and sundry travel in the same vehicle, is not permissible. The common holidaying practice is for a man to travel together in the same vehicle with his
sisters-in-law or other females for whom hijab is waajib (obligatory). Even if a mahram is with, the purpose of his
companionship is defeated and negated in this situation. Contact with ghair mahram males with its evil moral consequences is an almost certainty in this situation.
A lad who has just become baaligh (attained puberty) although technically a valid mahram, will be inadequate for the journey if he lacks full jurisdiction over the female with whom he is travelling. His companionship is meaningless if he is unable to exercise authority over the woman. If the woman travelling with him is domineering and refuses to obey him in Shar’i matters, then such a mahram is not adequate for the journey because he will not be in position to fulfil the duties of mahramiyyat which the Shariah imposes on him. This is the same as a lawful guardian of a minor. If the guardian is unable to fulfil the duties of guardianship, custody of the minor may not be assigned to him notwithstanding his initial right of guardianship. Nowadays, people are extremely careless in these matters. Women go in droves on journeys, especially Hajj journeys either without mahrams or with incompetent mahrams. Instead of the Hajj journey being an ibaadat of thawaab, it is transformed into a journey of athaab (punishment).
AWAKE TO THE CALL OF ISLAM RAMADHAN 1442