A woman travelling by airplane without a mahram

Reference: Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah – Volume 16, Page 383
This correspondence is numbered: 1803/kh and dated 05/08/1395H by the Shaykh’s office

From: ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullaah ibn Baaz

To: The noble Brother, the teacher: A. S. I. – may Allaah grant you success in all that is good, aameen.

As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahe wa Barakaatuhu – […and] to proceed:
Your correspondence dated 15/01/1394H reached me, and may Allaah guide you.

That which it contained of benefit in that you disagreed with one of your colleagues concerning the issue of the permissibility of a Muslim woman travelling by airplane without a mahram, considering that she is with her walee right up until she boards the plane, and her other mahram is waiting for her at the destination country. Your desire for a fatwa [regarding this issue] is known [and understood].

It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to travel by airplane or by any other means without a mahram accompanying her during her journey. This is due to the generality of the statement (of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam»:

«A woman is not travel except with a mahram», [transmitted by al-Bukhaaree – No.1862 and Muslim – No.1339]; and its authenticity is agreed upon (by both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).

This is because so long as she has no-one to protect her, it is quite possible that she may be exposed to or subjected to something which is [Islaamically] dangerous during her journey, by whatever means.

And another matter is that sometimes airplanes come across mechanical problems, so it has to land at an airport other than that of the destination. In this case, the passengers are acommodated in a hotel or otherwise wait until repairs are carried out, or even until a replacement airplane is made available. So they could well be waiting for a long time, possibly a day or more. In this [case], a woman travelling by herself is exposed to that which is [Islaamically] dangerous.

All in all, the hidden aspects of the Islaamic Sharee’ah are many and great, and there is no doubt about the danger of falling foul of it without an Islaamically acceptable reason.

May Allaah grant everyone success in understanding the Religion (Islaam), and firmness upon it, indeed He is in charge of all affairs.

Abu 'Abdullaah

About Abu 'Abdullaah

- from London, UK. He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004.