Traveling without mahram
Question: I want to know that I was working in the USA but took a long break to visit my family back in Pakistan. My wife is still waiting for a visa interview, which is unsure when it will be issued due to the embassy being closed because of covid. My job leave is ending on 28th February. If I don't go back, they will consider a resignation. If I go back, since I took a long leave, they might not give me a leave for a while now. So if that happens, my wife will not have a mahram to accompany her once she gets her visa. So there are 2 things here. One considering this issue that my wife still has not received a visa and my job will end if I don't go back, should I join my job or wait, so my wife has a mahram to travel with. If I should join my job, can my wife travel without a mahram in case I don't get leave, or will it be a sin for her? Or will I have to quit my job to come and get her if I don't get a leave? Kindly let me know what I should do that will not make Allah angry. We are trying to avoid sin. And if quitting my job is the solution, then I will take that option. But if she can travel without a mahram, in this case without sin, then only we will consider this option because applying for a new job is always an option. May Allah guide us and make it easy for us, Ameen. This is in case I don't get a leave from the company. But if I do get a leave, I will come and get her. بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
In principle, it is impermissible for a woman to travel without her husband or mahram. The Prophet (SAW) said:
ولا تُسافِرَنَّ امْرَأَةٌ إلّا ومعها مَحْرَمٌ
Translation: And a woman should indeed not travel except that she has a mahram with her. (Sahih Al-Bukhari: Hadith 3006)
We advise that you speak to your employer and try to get your leave extended. Explain to him that your excuse is religiously based. During this process, do not forget to make abundant dua to Allah (SWT) to make matters easy for you and your family. If he does not comply, then do not risk losing your job. Return to the U.S., work for some time, and endeavor again to convince your employer to give you some time off to bring your wife home. Perhaps you can offer not to take off days for the upcoming vacation in proportion to the days you take off to get your wife home.
If he still does not comply with your request, try to wait until your next leave to bring her back home. Nevertheless, if this period of separation would be challenging and unbearable for both of you, then based on the Islamic legal maxim, “Necessities make the impermissible permissible” (Al-Qawaid Al-Fiqhiya: p. 43 [Dar At-Tirmidhi]), she may travel to the U.S. alone. However, she must consider all safety measures when traveling, e.g., being taken to the airport in Pakistan by a mahram and being received in the U.S. by a mahram (in other words, being accompanied as much as possible by her mahram), observing Islamic Hijab, avoiding intermingling with non-mahram men as much as possible, not going to unnecessary places (for example, wandering in different stores during a stop), etc.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah Darul Ifta Birmingham