Wednesday, December 19, 2007

‘Mahram Not Reachable’ Keeps Them Worried

Syed Faisal Ali, Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

One of the preconditions for a woman, regardless of her age, to perform Haj is that she be accompanied by her mahram (a male relative such as a father, son, brother or husband). However, every year, many women come from distant countries to perform Haj without mahram. They pay hefty sums to their travel agents to arrange a “mahram”. This practice is prevalent in many parts of the globe but is especially common in South Asian countries. The “arranged mahram” then abandons the woman halfway through Haj and thus she finds herself in trouble and difficulties ... One Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia website says: “Women traveling without mahram and wishing to perform Haj with a group, must be over 45 years of age. The leader of the group must be recognized by an Islamic association and his wife must accompany the group on the same journey and the group must not have less than five women.” It further says that women under the age of 45 must be accompanied by a mahram and provide a certificate from the authority concerned. The mahram should not be younger than 15. It is the responsibility of female Haj applicants to specify clearly the legitimate mahram accompanying them on the application form. Islamic scholars generally try to persuade women not to come for Haj without a proper mahram.

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