Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I want to attend a 2 weeks Islamic retreat which is around 200 miles away from my home.
Unfortunately I have been unable to arrange for a mahram to accompany me. Is it permissible for me to attend this retreat?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
You may attend such an event without a mahram provided the journey is safe, which is generally the case.
The ruling of the Hanafi school is stricter on this issue since it stipulates a mahram for any travel undertaken by a woman exceeding the travel-distance, which is 48 miles. Two-hundred miles would be included in this as it well exceeds such a distance.
However, the position I have seen adopted by my teachers and other scholars, is allowance of such a journey if there is: (a) need or benefit, and (b) the travel is safe. This has been mentioned as fulfilling the major conditions of the Maliki school according to Shaykh Rami Nsour who adds the condition that the actual journey itself should last less than 24 hours. Most travel today lasts less than this.
This position of permissibility is also lent support by some scholars in other schools, such as the Hanbali and Shafi’i schools. [Ibn Muflih, al-Furu (3:236); al-Nawawi, al-Majmu (8:342); Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (4:76)]
Due to the difference of opinion on the issue, a number of contemporary scholars have permitted women to travel without a mahram for educational purposes, visiting parents, and so forth when the conditions of safety and security are met, which are generally fulfilled by modern modes of transportation. These scholars include Shaykh Qara Daghi, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and the European Fatwa Council.
And Allah alone know best
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani