As Salaamu Alaikum,
I am 62 years of age is it okay for me to go to Hajj without a Mahram? What are the opinions of the Imams of fiqh?
Wa Alaikumus Salam,
Generally, in many books of Fiqh and Fatawa, it is mentioned that a woman must not undertake a journey, including that of Hajj except with her husband or a Mahram (male blood relative). This is based on the authentic hadith of Abdullah Bin Umar (R.A) which states that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘it is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the last day, to undertake a journey/travel for three days/nights except that she has a Mahram with her. (Sahih Al Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood).
In another tradition, Abu Saeed Al Khudri (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘it is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the last day to undertake a journey/travel for three days or more except that she has her father with her, or her brother or her husband, or her son or another Mahram (male blood relative to her). (Sahih Al Bukhari; Sahih Muslim; Sunan Abu Dawood; Sunan At Tirmizi).
Based on these traditions and others, many of the great scholars of the past and present have stated that a woman needs a Mahram to go for Hajj. In fact, these scholars have stated that if a woman does not have a husband or a Mahram to go with her for Hajj, than Hajj is not compulsory upon her. (Fatawa Ta’Tar Khaniya).
This is in accordance to many great scholars from among the Sahabahs and Tabieen and the Imams of Fiqh, and is the official Madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. In this regard, the Madhab of Imam Abu Hanifa states that a woman must be accompanied by her husband or a Mahram for the Hajj Journey. It will be Makrooh Tahreema (prohibitively disliked) for a woman to undertake the Hajj Journey without her husband or a Mahram. If she perform the Hajj in this manner (without the husband or a Mahram), her hajj will be valid, but with dislike.
According to the Madhab of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, it is essential for a woman to perform Hajj with her husband or her Mahram. Hajj will not be essential upon her if she does not have a Mahram or her husband to accompany her for the Hajj. (Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adilatuhu Vol. 3 Pgs 2082-2091. Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan).
Other Imams and great scholars however, have adopted different opinions in this matter. The explanations of this by these Imams of Fiqh are as follows:-
– According to the Madhab of Imam Malik, a woman is required to have a Mahram or her husband with her to perform Hajj. However, in the absence of the husband or a Mahram, it will be permissible for her to undertake the Hajj with a group of Muslims who are safe and protected. This group can be men and women or can be women alone.
– According to the Madhab of Imam Shafi, a woman should have a Mahram or her husband to accompany her for Hajj. However, it will be permissible for a woman to go with other reliable Muslim women for the pilgrimage in the absence of the husband or a Mahram.
From the above explanations, we see that in accordance to the madhhab of Imam Malik and Imam Shafi, a woman is allowed to go on the Hajj journey to perform Hajj without a Mahram or her husband when she travels with a group of reliable/trustworthy women who are safe and protected. Those who follow any of these madhab can practice upon the verdict of his Imam of Fiqh.
In the Madhhab of Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Hanifa (A.R), a woman, whether young or old, is required to have a Mahram or her husband to go on the Hajj Journey. This is based on the Ahadith which have been mentioned above. Although this is the well-established ruling and verdict of the Hanafi Madhab, we have seen that there are some of the latter day scholars of the Hanafi Madhhab who have given an allowance for a woman 60 years and above to travel for Hajj on the condition that she is safe and protected from Fitnah, and travels with trustworthy and reliable Muslims. This is mentioned by the great scholar and jurist expert, Mufti Muhammad Salman Mansoorpuri in his ‘Kitab An Nawazil’. In discussing this allowance, Mufti Salman drew references from Durr Al Mukhtar, Imdadul Fatawa, Faidhul Bari and Fatawa Hindiya. (Kitab An Nawazil Vol.7 Pgs 621, 622 Darul Isha’at Karachi 2016)
The great Shaikh of Hadith and Mufti of Darul Uloom Zakariyya, South Africa, Mufti Ridha’ul Haqq (D.B), has also discussed this topic of an elderly woman going for Hajj without a Mahram, and stated that the late grand Mufti, Mufti Wali Hassan (A.R) of Pakistan was once asked about an elderly woman of 75 years of age who wants to go for Hajj with other trustworthy/reliable women. He granted the permission and gave the source of his ruling for it in Ad Durr Al Mukhtar which states:-
امّا العجوز التي لا تشتهي فلا باس بمصافحتها و مس يدها اذا امن و متي جاز المس جاز سفره لها، و يخلوا اذا امن عليه و عليها و الِّا لا
(Ad Durr Al Mukhtar Ma’a Ash Shami Vol. 6 pg. 368 H.M Saeed Karachi)
Mufti Ridha’ul Haqq (A.R) also gave references from Faidh Ul Bari and Majalis Hakeemul Ummah. (Fatawa Darul Uloom Zakariya Vol. 3 Pg. 356 Zam Zam Publishers 2009).
And Allah Knows Best
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.