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Prohibition of women’s travel distance

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by IslamicPortal.co.uk

Is there any statement of the first generation of ḥanafī scholars that mentions that a woman cannot travel alone for more than the distance at which the Ṣalāh is shortened?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم


The default ḥanafī position is the prohibition of a female’s travel without a husband or maḥram beyond the distance at which the Ṣalāh is shortened. Imam Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī (d. 189/805) writes al-Ḥujjah ʿalā Ahl al-Madīnah (p. 168):

ولكن الذي نهی رسول الله صلی الله علیه وآله وسلم عنه من سفر المرأة هو الذي تقصر فیه الصلاة

“However, the distance which the messenger of Allah ﷺ prohibited women from travelling is the same distance in which Ṣalāh is shortened.”

Furthermore, Imam Muḥammad writes in Kitāb al-Āthār (p. 499):

ومسيرة ثلاثة أيام ولياليها بالقصد بسير الإبل ومشي الأقدام، وهو قول أبي حنيفة رضي الله عنه

“And the distance of three days and nights is [calculated] through [travelling] moderately on camels and on foot, and this is the view of Abū Ḥanīfah, may Allah be pleased with him.”

Furthermore, Imam Muḥammad writes in al-Aṣl (1:265) which is one of the five books of ẓāhir al-riwāyah (the manifest narrations):

قلت: أرأيت المسافر هل يقصر الصلاة في أقل من ثلاثة أيام؟ قال: لا. قلت: فإن سافر مسيرة ثلاثة أيام فصاعدا؟ قال: يقصر الصلاة حين يخرج من مصره. قلت: ولم وقت له ثلاثة أيام؟ قال: لأنه جاء أثر عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: لا تسافر المرأة ثلاثة أيام إلا ومعها ذو محرم، فقست على ذلك

“I said: What is your view regarding a traveller should he shorten Ṣalāh when he travels for less than three days? He said: No. I said: What if he travels for three days or more? He said: He will shorten his Ṣalāh when he leaves his town. I said: Why did he fix three days for him? He said: [This is] because there is a narration that the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The woman must not travel for [a distance of] three days except with a maḥram’, so I used this based on analogy.”

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shabbir

9 Rajab 1439 / 26 March 2018

Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir

This answer was collected from IslamicPortal.co.uk, which is a repository of Islamic Q&A, articles, books, and resources. Various schools write and oversee the answers, including Maulana Yusuf Shabbir, Mufti Shabbir Ahmed, and Mufti Muhammad Tahir. 

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