Some scholars are of the opinion that women cannot travel alone. They must be accompanied by a mahram (a relative with whom marriage is prohibited). Therefore, in journeys such as hajj they do not allow women to travel alone. The following hadith are the basis of their view:
It is narrated by Abu Hurayrah:
It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel a distance for one day and one night without a mahram with her.
Abu Sa’id narrates that the Prophet said:
A woman has been stopped from travelling a distance for two days except with her husband or mahram with her.
It needs to be appreciated that there are a number of hadith in which directives have been given by the Prophet for the well-being of the Muslims. However, if the circumstances in which such directives have been given change, then as is the case with all conditional directives such directives may no longer apply in the changed circumstances.
The directives given to Muslim women about traveling belong to the above mentioned category. To ensure a safe journey for a woman and to protect her moral character from any scandalous allegation in the strife-ridden society of Arabia, the Prophet bade them travel with a mahram relation.
Thus, all tours and journeys etc in which the above two bases still exist, the condition of a woman traveling with a mahram must be followed. However, with the changed circumstances of modern times, traveling has become a lot different from what it used to be in previous days. There are some travels in which safety both physical as well as moral is ensured. So, in such cases, the mahram condition no longer applies. As far as the decision as to which journeys have become safe is concerned, the traveler must decide for herself.
Shehzad Saleem writes for Renaissance Islamic Journal