Friday, 14 October 2016

Traveling Without A Mahram

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (Rahmatullahi 'alayh)

IN THE EARLY YEARS, Allah Ta’ala granted us the opportunity of performing Hajj. We departed from Johannesburg for Jeddah.  At 6 a.m. an announcement was made that we were landing in Brussels. Where we were supposed to land and where we ended up! …There was some problem due to the sanctions against South Africa because of Apartheid.  

We spent one night in Brussels and the next day we flew to Beirut. At that time, Beirut was known as the sin city. Unfortunately, the hotel that we were booked into, by the airline, also had song and dance. The second night was spent in Beirut and the next day we left Beirut only to be taken to Athens. So we reached Athens on the third day. None of these cities were on our itinerary.

There are always lessons derived from travel, and in that trip, there were women who were traveling alone. They had no husband, no father, no brother – no Mahram accompanying them. Being alone, and in that unanticipated situation, moving from one foreign city to another, they experienced a lot of difficulty. There was also no technology as we have in these days, of cell phones, tablets, WiFi, etc., where a person can keep in touch with family and be updated on any situation. As passengers, none of us really knew where we would be taken next and what would happen thereafter.

That experience made me reflect over the Command of Allah Ta’ala, that a woman must travel with a Mahram – that is, if it is the Safr distance.

Alhamdulillah, we find that Islam prioritises the safety, chastity and well-being of women. Allah Ta’ala has established various laws which offer a shield and protection for women – so that they are not exploited, abused, harassed, or left alone and vulnerable. Unfortunately, modernists, feminists and others take these same beautiful laws and present them as prejudiced and biased and as undermining womenنَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰه.

…There is a condition found in certain people called colour blindness. A person who is colour blind has difficulty or inability to distinguish between certain colours; usually between the red and green. This condition arises because of some kind of defect in the eye nerves. Similarly, we have people with the condition of spiritual colour blindness – who cannot see the colour of Truth, due to a weakness or defect in their spiritual hearts. They see the colour of falsehood and thus do not appreciate the beauty and perfection of Islam.

In these times, we read and hear of women who are promised work with high salaries and other perks, in foreign countries. They fall for the bait and travel out on their own, or travel with strangers who give them all kinds of assurances. However, their passports are thereafter taken away from them, and they are then drawn into prostitution, pornography and drugs.

Human trafficking has become the fastest growing criminal operation in the world. An article, which presented statistics regarding human trafficking, stated that the largest group of victims are women and young girls – who are bought and sold like slaves. Besides prostitution, many are used as cheap labour – which also entails very oppressive and abusive treatment. They live in harsh conditions, without any family support or protection. They are not given proper food and clothing and suffer various physical sicknesses and emotional trauma.

We have also read of planes being hijacked and of the distress that passengers have to endure. …Presently, throughout the world, Muslims are being targeted due to Islamophobia. There is so much of aggression against Muslims. Muslim women especially have been harassed, attacked, beaten and even killed. Here, in South Africa, rape and hijackings are everyday occurrences.

Allah Ta’ala is our Creator and knows our vulnerability as well as the evil that is inherent in human beings, which leads to exploitation and injustices. His Laws are to protect us as well as curb the evil within us. We should appreciate His guidance and understand that it is best for us.

…In this day and age, travel is promoted and advertised because it has become a business and a commercial venture. Advertisements seek to create the desire within us to visit other countries and experience different cultures. ‘Globe-trotting’ is a term that has been coined for those who travel often and it is looked upon as something glamourous.

Added to this, nowadays, the means of travel have become so advanced that you just board a plane, and within a matter of hours you can be in a country, thousands of miles away. Similarly, we find so many people traveling locally – because of the ease of flight travel.

Traveling is not Haraam. If it is for a noble purpose – such as acquiring the knowledge of Deen, it is extremely rewarding. If it is to engage in Haraam, then of course, such traveling will not be endorsed by the Shari’ah. Many people now travel with the sole intention of participating in some Haraam entertainment, such as attending concerts and other entertainment places and events.

Sadly, we find that many Muslim women are also carried away by the western culture and they too start “living it up” by working in foreign countries, traveling for business, or for leisure and pleasure, or even to visit family or attend a Nikah or Walimah – and they do so without a Mahram accompanying them. Often, it is plain disregard and disrespect for Allah Ta’ala’s Commandments.

We should consider and deeply reflect over the Ahādīth of Rasulullah 1: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel the distance of one day, except with a Mahram.”[1] 
In another Hadīth, Rasulullah 1 said: “No woman should travel except with a Mahram and no man may visit her unless she has a Mahram with her.”[2]

A woman should be accompanied by her Mahram when traveling. The Mahram too must be of sound and good character. Shari’ah forbids traveling with a Mahram or being alone with him – whether he is one’s father, brother, uncle, nephew or anyone else, if he is of loose morals, corrupt character, and a risk to one’s chastity and modesty. Although he is a Mahram, he is now the danger and threat. Traveling alone with him or being alone with him should be avoided.

The Ahādīth and the clear ruling found in them takes into account all forms of travel. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and this exception would arise when there is some emergency. But generally, in these times, the reasons for traveling without a Mahram are flimsy and carry no weight.

Some women say that they do not have a Mahram for traveling long distances. They should understand that this is Allah Ta’ala’s choice for them – and there is wisdom and great khayr (good) in all His Decisions. We need to nurture the qualities of a true Believer. In this case, the qualities of Tafweez[3], Sabr, Ridha bil Qadha[4] and Dua. By doing so, great rewards will be secured.

Allah Ta’ala mentions the response of His sincere servants: 

“The only reply of the (true) believers, when they are summoned to Allah and His Messenger, that he (the Messenger) may judge between them, is that they say,We hear and obey.’ Such people are the successful.

Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger and has awe of Him and observes Taqwa for His sake, then such people are the victorious.”

 [Surah An-Noor 24 : 51 / 52]

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the concern and the understanding, grant us appreciation and the Taufeeq to practise on the beautiful way of life called Islam.

[1] Sahih Muslim
[2] Sahih Al-Bukhari
[3] Tafweez: Accepting the Decisions of Allah Ta’ala
[4] Ridha bil Qadha: Being happy with the decisions of Allah Ta’ala