My mother keeps saying as a Muslim girl I should not travel without a mahram. I am not married and won't be married for a while, why should I hold off my dreams and aspirations for one guy to chaperone me everywhere?! I know it's for my safety. But why is it that non muslims travel everywhere alone enjoy themselves and return not hurt but as SOON as a muslim girl wants to, it's a huge predicament?! Why is it haram!? And if I do travel by myself what is the punishment?! I will protect myself, I already do hijab. And It is not like I'm going clubbing or seeing men. I want to see the world. What's the harm?! I don't understand
"It is not fit for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and Messenger has indeed strayed in a plain manner." (33:36)
So the Muslim must strive to worship Allaah and keep away from that which angers Allaah, for Allaah will not cause the reward the one who does good to be lost:
Allaah has created man in a world of trials and tests, and He has made Paradise the abode of His friends and beloved ones, who preferred His pleasure over their own and preferred obedience to Him over their physical comfort. And He has made Hell the abode of those among His slaves who disobey Him and preferred their own whims and desires to the pleasure of their Lord. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Such is the Paradise which We shall give as an inheritance to those of Our slaves who have been Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”
“But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts.
Verily, Paradise will be his abode”
It is not permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram because of the general meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “It is not permissible for any woman who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to travel except with a mahram.”
It is not permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram, whether she is travelling to do an act of worship such as Hajj or visiting her parents in order to honour them and be kind to them, or travelling for permissible purposes such as going on vacation etc. The evidence for that is as follows:
1 – The general meaning of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “No woman should travel unless she has a mahram with her, and no man should enter upon her unless her mahram is present.” A man stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, my wife has gone out for Hajj, and I want to go out with such and such an army.” He said: “Go and do Hajj with your wife.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1862.
Muslim (1339) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to travel one day’s distance without a mahram.” There are many ahaadeeth which forbid a woman to travel without a mahram; they are general in meaning and apply to all kinds of travel.
2 – It is well known that travel involves exhaustion and difficulty. Because of her weakness, a woman needs someone to help her and look after her. Things may happen to her that make her panic and act out of character if there is no mahram present. This is well known nowadays when there are so many car accidents and other kinds of transportation accidents. Moreover, travelling alone exposes her to temptation, especially since there is so much corruption. Men who do not fear Allaah may sit neat her, and haraam actions may become attractive to her. Similarly if she is travelling alone in her car, she is exposed to other kinds of danger, if the car breaks down or if evil people conspire against her, and so on. It is perfectly wise that she should be accompanied by a mahram when travelling, because the purpose behind the mahram’s presence is to protect her and look after her, especially if something bad happens. Travel exposes her to such things regardless of how long it takes.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The point is that whatever is known as travelling, women are forbidden to travel without a husband or a mahram.
The Standing Committee was asked whether it is permissible for a woman to travel to Hajj without a mahram. They replied as follows: It is not permissible for a woman to travel for Hajj or for any other purpose without a mahram.
And because the purpose for the mahram being there is so that he can protect her and take care of her, especially if any emergency arises, and travel is subject to emergencies regardless of the length of time involved. Whatever people regard as “travelling” is like this, and is subject to the rulings on travelling.