Traveling without a Mahram

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about a mother traveling to a wedding without a mahram and attending a walima that involves music, dancing, and mixing.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

My mother is going to travel to turkey for a wedding next week without a male mahram accompanying her. My father let’s her go. In those weddings there is music, dancing, and mixing between men and women.

Should I go with my mother so she doesn’t travel without a male mahram? Or should I stay here and not go to this wedding.

You should know that talking with my parents about this most likely isn’t going to help because they aren’t really religious.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Generally, the schools of law are quite restrictive with respect to ladies travelling without an accompanying unmarriageable kin (mahram) or husband. But there is a position in the Maliki school which allows safe, public and dignified travel for women. Contemporary jurists clarify that this is an acceptable dispensation to follow whenever there is a clear need or benefit in doing so.

Accordingly, you don’t need to accompany your mother on her journey, particularly if you may be pulled into compromising situations which you’d rather avoid. However, consider giving your mother some sincere counsel (nasiha) regarding avoiding any potential, un-islamic elements at the event. If she isn’t religious, don’t lecture her, as she’ll just ignore it, but say something sensible and straightforward that she is likely to accept.

Sometimes you need to give people the benefit of the doubt, and also weigh potential benefits and harms before deciding whether to attend such events. Family marriages are often sensitive occasions. Hence, it can be good to make an early appearance, bring a gift, congratulate the family and then make a discreet exit before things take a turn for the worst. Please note that this is general advice, so it may not be applicable in every single scenario.

(Baji, al-Muntaqa; Hattab, Mawahib al-Jalil; Zannati, Sharh al-Risala)

Please also see The Fiqh of the Marriage Feast (Walima) and Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram?

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


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