Is there a dispensation in the Shafi`i school for a woman to travel with a safe group upon need

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

Is there a dispensation in the Shafi`i school for a woman to travel with a safe group upon need when she does not have a mahram (unmarriageable kin) that she can travel with?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

When a woman travels without her husband or mahram, there is some detail to discuss. If the purpose of her travel is to perform an obligation, such as the hajj or umra, according to our school, it is permissible for her to travel by herself, if she feels it is safe for her. Included in this is travel for seeking a livelihood, if no one else spends on her, as the scholars have explicitly stated, because seeking halal livelihood is obligatory. However, she must be sure to observe the rules of covering and not be in seclusion with men.

As for a trip that is for something non-obligatory, it is haram for her to travel without a husband or mahram, even if she feels it is safe, and I have not heard anything in our school that permits it.

I have seen in Maliki works a position that it is permissible if the travel is with a secure group and some of the later scholars have relied upon this. I asked the erudite scholar, Shaykh Muhammad al-Hafiz al-Shanqayti al-Maliki and he said that it is permissible to follow this opinion and to act upon it in their school, such as airplane passengers if they are many. In this is some room for ease.

– Amjad.

(Translated by Shazia Ahmad)

السؤال : هل ثم رخصة في المذهب الشافعي للمرأة أن تسافر في قافلة مأمونة عند الحاجة مع عدم إمكان السفر مع محرم ؟ الجواب : في سفر المرأة من غير زوج أو محرم تفصيلٌ ؛ فإن كان سفرُها لأداء واجبٍ كالحج والعمرة عندنا فيجوز لها السفرُ وحدَها إن أمنت على نفسها ، ومن ذلك السفرُ لطلب الرزق كما صرحوا به إن لم يُنفق عليها أحدٌ ؛ لأن طلب الحلال واجب ، لكن عليها مراعاةُ الأحكام بستر العورة وعدم الخلوة بالرجال . أما إن كان سفرُها لغير واجب فيحرم عليها من غير زوج أو محرم وإن أمنت على نفسها ، ولا أعلم قولاً في مذهبنا يبيحُ ذلك . نعم رأيتُ في بعض كتب المالكية قولاً بالجواز إن كان السفر مع جمعٍ مأمونٍ واعتمده بعضُ المتأخرين منهم ، وقد سألتُ عنه العلامةَ الشيخَ محمداً الحافظ الشنقيطي المالكي فقال : يجوز تقليدُه والعملُ به في مذهبهم كمسافري الطائرة إن كانوا كثيرين ، وفيه سعة .