Woman! You cannot travel!

Posted January 30, 2013 from Maldives

This morning I heard a snippet from a radio broadcast “mahramakaa nulaa dhathurkurumakee mulsim anhenaa ah haraam kameh” This in English translates to “it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to travel alone”

The word haraam connotes a meaning that says it is forbidden; it’s against the religion. Drinking (in terms of alcohol consumption) is haraam, extra-marital sex is haraam, any intoxicant is haraam. consumption of pork is haraaam. These I can agree to; “but traveling alone is haraam for women!” That is difficult for me to digest.

I live in a free country where women have a sense of freedom and independence. And I like that, I want that!

We live by our faith, I live by my faith! But lately, I’m starting to get very confused. These so very narrow interpretation of our religion by some so-called scholars just rubs me the wrong way!

In my over three decades of living, I have been lucky enough to have traveled far and near. Many a times traveled alone!

This fatwa I heard today “traveling without a mahram is haraam for women” means I’ve knowingly or unknowingly repeated this haraam act quite a few times.

I’ve traveled to 3 regional areas of my country on work purposes with colleagues, traveled alone; no mahram with me.

I’ve left my home country and returned 20 or more times during the past 1.5 decades. six of these were with hubs & family. two from the rest were with just my toddler son. three of it were with colleagues but not mahrams I should note. the rest of the trips were completed alone; and they were work vacations for me. On some trips I sat next to total strangers , sometimes making small talk, sometimes spent in total silence; but all were civilized.

I’ve managed perfectly well I’ve never been harassed, never been seduced :) I have never been tempted to do anything wrong!

Because I know who I am and I know my boundaries! I do not need anyone to tag along to remind me who I am! We live in a civilized world, and we (most of the time) only get what we ask for.

So I say, I’m perfectly fine traveling myself.

Oh people who call themselves “religious scholars”! have some faith in us woman folk. of course a ‘bodyguard’ would be needed if you go to a barbaric society. Thankfully, it is safe at least for people like me who travel on professional work related matters, there most often is a host institution overseas who are there to take care of us, where needed.

So please don’t call this haraam. That’s a very strong word to be used in this context.

Originally published on my blog @ https://mindblur.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/woman-you-cannot-travel/

Comments 4

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Mistelle Montague
Jan 31, 2013
Jan 31, 2013

Thank you for sharing this. I have learned from your message and agree that using a word like that in the context that a woman cannot travel alone is discriminatory. Good for you for speaking out and raising awareness. Mistelle

Feb 04, 2013
Feb 04, 2013

It baffles me how men can treat women as substandard citizens. A woman is good enough to raise children, to manage a household, to clean after everyone else; but not good enough to take care of oneself... weird and strange logic. It riles me :)

Mar 03, 2013
Mar 03, 2013

I travelled by my self and never had a issue. Recently with the extreme and narrow views of some Islamci scholars things are changing reppidly.

I can't stand when men treat women differently as you mentoined substandard citizens. We have to stand up and take action. Action can only beat inaction.

All the best Amira Amei

Mar 04, 2013
Mar 04, 2013

thanks for the support. The state of affairs here is a bit depressing. And more depressing is the fact that women go behind full veils and support these views about taking a second class status. worse is when they subject their daughters to the same fate. women too needs the freedom to explore the world without restriction.

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