Islamically if you ever browse the web or even speak to people, you come across fatwas and rulings that state various things regarding women travelling.

Some maintain she can’t leave her home without a mahram since “there is much fitnah, and she is liable to be attacked” or “she is at risk of being raped” if out on her own. Of course they further emphasise this by sprinkling references to “maintaning her honour” and “showing gheerah” just to emphasise how “manly” it is of men to accompany her and give their ego’s a good rub in the right direction less they feel emasculated.

Others restrict it to 3 days and 3 nights for a woman to travel alone, longer durations would require a mahram. This original ruling of days and nights have (somehow) have now been translated to a distance of 48km.

Now 48km for most of us people is absolutely nothing. You could cover that in 30mins and beyond if its what comes under “normal” for your work purpose, education or even shopping.

When it comes down to someone explaining how time duration was put down into a restriction of km/miles, no-one seems to be able to do give an adequate response. Some state that within 3days/3nights the average distance travelled back in the day would’ve been 48km and so that is where the figure comes from.

Some maintain that she may travel with a group of women but for important purposes such as attending the funeral of a loved one and not for something frivilous like a shopping spree. (This has been pointed out to be the case in the Shafi madhab and is applicable only for hajj purposes – see Sunnipath) But I dont see why she can’t travel on her own for any purpose, whether it has any importance or not to the observer.

We don’t live “back in the day” nor do we travel on camels anymore (some of us never did!). Methods of transport have changed, safety during travelling varies depending on where you are going and what purpose you are travelling for (for example, I for one would not fathom travelling alone in Pakistan, India, the UAE and other similar places whereas in the UK and other similar places I would, but I wouldnt venture out by myself past midnight regardless of where I am) however overall safety is a lot better than how it used to be. There are also various communication mediums available to keep people informed of where you are, and when you plan to return.

Are these rulings (of 3 days/3nights and/or 48km) entirely realistic for todays era?

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