It isn’t permissible for a woman to travel for the purpose of Hajj or Umrah without a Mahram. This obligation imposed due to a tradition in al-Bukhaari, narrated by Ibn ’Abbas (R.A). He narrates that he heard the Prophet (S.A.W) state:
“‘No man should be alone with a woman unless her mahram is present, and no woman should travel unless she has a mahram with her.’ A man stood up and said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, my wife has gone out for Hajj, and I have enlisted for such and such a campaign.’ He said: ‘Go and do Hajj with your wife.’”
Hanafi school of thought doesn’t permit a woman to travel on her own. In regards to distance, a Sahih (authentic) Hadith states the following:
“It is not permissible for a woman to leave the home without the permission of her husband and it is not permissible for a woman to travel the journey of three days (the Safar distance which amounts to 78 kms or more) without being accompanied by a Mahram (as-Sunan al-Kubra by Bayhaqi, Hadith #: 10420, Narrated by Ibn Umar).”
Maalik, al-Shaafa’I, and al-Awzaa’i hold a different opinion: they allow the women to perform Umrah under certain conditions. For instance, if a woman resides in Jeddah, then she can travel to Makkah to perform Umrah with a group of women as the distance between the two cities isn’t long.
Al-Shaafa’i school of thought states that it’s enough for woman to have a mahram with her, a close relative, or two or more women to undertake the pilgrimage for the ritual; hence, it’s important for the women, who desire to perform Umrah, to consult the scholars for a complete opinion on this issue.
So, when can you travel without a Mahram?
Rules as to when one can travel alone without a Mahram are different in different countries. However, certain rules are universal. So, for a lady to travel alone for Umrah from UK (and elsewhere in the world), she need to be at least 45years of age. There is a condition of the lady traveling in an organized group but that is loosely implemented. So, if you are someone wanting to travel without a Mahram, you should ideally wait for the time when you are legally able to go alone.
It can be frustrating and daunting in some cases, where ladies don’t have a Mahram at all or have Mahrams living in another country. The later