The Prophet (SAW) said, “A woman should not travel* except with a Mahram, and no man may visit her except in the presence of a Mahram.” A man got up and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I intend to go to such and such an army and my wife wants to perform Hajj.” The Prophet (SAW) said (to him), “Go along with her (to Hajj).”

 Hadith – Bukhari 3:85, Ibn ‘Abbas

*this is referring to lengthy travel; for instance, a trip that exceeds two days time, etc.

It is forbidden for a woman to travel without being accompanied by a Mahram. The Prophet (SAW) said: “No woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day should travel a distance of a day and night journey unless her Mahram is with her” . [Imams Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurairah ]

A woman needs one who helps her at the time of boarding and getting down in a journey. And only a husband or a Mahram can do it perfectly.

However, if there is necessity, it is permissible provided that she travel with a righteous group of women; there should be safety for her and she herself should be a righteous woman.

It is unlawful for the woman to travel without Mahram. There are sound Ahadith proving that. The majority of scholars believe that there is no difference in this rule between a long journey and a short one. This is because, the traveling of the woman with no Mahram can result in much temptation even if it is not long. The only exception here is when there is a dire necessity for the woman to travel without a Mahram. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {…and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion;…}[22:78]. Allah also Says (interpretation of meaning): {…while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity?…}[6:119]. The criteria for the necessity that allows the woman to travel without Mahram (if unavailable) is fearing for her life, her honour, her property or her mind. The woman is also allowed to travel without being accompanied if confronted to harsh conditions that she cannot normally overcome. Allah knows best.