“If you live long, you will see the woman travel from Hirah (a city in Iraq) to circumambulate the Ka`bah fearing none but Allah.” (Bukhari). Halal traveling become recently most attractive niche in the tourism industry but also Muslim Community. Long gone are the days where Islamic paradigm of a woman being bond to travel only with her guardian (Maharam) was the only rule to apply. Muslim women they are influence by different generation , possess different economic possibilities , their needs had moved from an communal to individualistic and their wellness attitude changed from shameful and selfish to Sunnah self-caring one.
When I embraced Islam 15 years ago, I had been told by my closest circle of new life style influence that my career and degree in Tourism has no chance to flourish since I am a Muslim now. I had been educated that my role is purely housemaker and my old interests are to change now from outward exploratory to family centred. Being keen to please my God, I tried to maintain my lifestyle until I came to a braking point – identity disassociation. How could I satisfy demands of individualistically driven West and communally based East in one life time? I had re-educated myself, and reached out to neo-Islamic sources. I had learnt to use my left-brain hemisphere and studied carefully the differences in interpretations of jurisprudence. I had also learnt to integrate my right brain hemisphere and gave Haque (rights) to my emotions, soul’s needs and allowed my creativity to simply be.
My European Revert journey however, is not isolated, exceptional to the rule neither is it revolutionary. In fact, a profound feeling of being overwhelmed, warned out, depressed and trapped is the dominating vibe in female part of the Ummah today. How do I know that? Look at most motivational Islamic speakers today, they all have one thing in common – inspiring , reassuring and lifting the female heart. Ask any woman with a grey hair on her head about the life wisdom – she will tell you ‘honey look after yourself first’. I also work with Muslim women in the capacity of counsellor and naturopath. The majority of my clinical work evolves around healing from relationships traumas and learning how to establish female Identity again. “The best among you is he who is best for his family. For my family, I am the best of all of you.” (Ibn Majah). Something gone wrong in this community, and the hadiths about looking after vulnerable in the community are not implemented for the benefits of women at all. Women had always supported them selves, shared wisdom and distributed inspiration among their female folk. This phenomena works today as well, only if we find a time and arrange for a place to let it be.
Somehow travelling for women had been a taboo mystically sanctified by mostly male dominated interpretation in the Islam. It’s not difficult to get confused in the scholarly opinions about unlawfulness for women to travel without a Maharam. “A woman who believes in Allah and the Hereafter shall not travel for (a period of) a day and a night unless accompanied by a mahram of hers.” (Bukhari and Muslim). The further discourse of opinion lays in the different analysis of reasons behind the prohibition. Some scholars such as Askalani and Hazam will share the understanding, that such a law was derived from the perspective of protection and safety measures. Evaluating the methods of travel, conditions, as well the state of society during the prophetic times, it should be stressed that such measures were necessary and life preserving. According to the Fatwa of The European Fatwa council a female traveller is permissible in the company of a trustworthy group of men, women or men and women. Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Karabisi supported the Ibn Muflih in Al-Faru`, who said: “Every woman can perform Hajj without a mahram as long as she will be safe. This is directed towards every travel in obedience”. To conclude the permissibility to travel without a mahram will apply in the case of guaranteed safety in case of supererogatory Hajj and other types of travel that is not obligatory, like visiting and trading. Similar universality of the rulings have been made with the Al-Karabisi interpretation of the issue, allowing females to travel by themselves on the roads which are safe in time of Umrah or Hajj, but also any type of travel.