CII clarifies conditions for women’s solo Hajj

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ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has provided conditional permission for women to undertake Hajj or Umrah without a mahram or male guardian.

Responding in writing to a query from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the CII stated that women facing no potential harm during their journey to the holy sites of Islam can perform Hajj and Umrah without a male guardian.

The council highlighted that the Ja’fari, Shafi’i, and Maliki schools of jurisprudence permit a woman to embark on the pilgrimage to Makkah and Madina without a male guardian if she is accompanied by other trustworthy female companions.

However, it clarified that an unmarried, widowed, or divorced female pilgrim must seek permission from her parents, and a married woman should obtain permission from her husband.

According to the Hanafi and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence, the CII mentioned that Hajj is not obligatory for a woman lacking a male guardian.

Last year, Saudi Arabia granted women worldwide permission to perform Umrah and Hajj without a mahram, a move aimed at easing the lives of women facing social challenges or difficulties in finding a mahram.

Dr Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the Saudi minister for Hajj and Umrah, told reporters at a news conference at the Saudi embassy in Cairo that women who want to go to the kingdom for Umrah or Hajj no longer need a mahram.

Faten Ibrahim Hussein, a writer and former adviser to the minister for Hajj, said that letting women perform Umrah without a mahram makes their lives easier because many of them live in hard social situations and might not be able to find a mahram or may cost them a lot, even though they want to perform Umrah.

Before this change, women could only undertake the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage if accompanied by a male guardian, with some exceptions allowing them to join large groups of other women.

The CII, being a constitutional body, provides advisory opinions to the legislature regarding the compatibility of laws with Islamic sharia or jurisprudence. However, the recommendations of the council are non-binding on the parliament.

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