In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, 'Selawat' (blessings) and 'salam' (peace be upon) Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me." (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51: 56-57)
STUDENTS of local universities are now observing a long break - it began last June and undergraduates would only registered back in early September. To kill time, one of my daughters who was at UIAM with her two girlfriends who were at other universities recently planned a four days three nights holiday in Langkawi.
The girl informed about the journey (seeking permission) to her mother (my wife) who then passed the message to me. I kept quiet, thinking they would read my mind of not approving for such a journey...well I was in the thinking that 'this is an era of my father - when he disapproved something he was totally silent on the matter'.
But I was totally wrong and was caught off guard when a few days before the journey, my daughter told me she would leave on the stated time and date and 'reminded me' that the plane ticket and hotel reservation had been booked and paid!
My throat dried; my mind raced back to a few 'tazkirah' (lessons) by an 'ustaz' at the 'masjid' near my house, who reminded that no 'Muslimah' (Muslim women) should travel to faraway places without being accompanied by her husband or 'mahram' (unmarriageable kin).
He said even to perform hajj, which is the fifth article in 'Rukun Islam' (Articles of Faith), Muslim female must be accompanied by her husband or 'mahram' then whats more to lesser important obligations such as working, studying and of course holidaying which is totally out of question.
When the 'ustaz' opened the floor for questions; I raised up this issue: "Say my wife who is government servant is required to attend a course in Langkawi (we are staying in Melaka), then what options do we have?"
The 'ustaz' was 'strict' in his answer. First, he said my wife must seek permission from me (her husband) but if I gave my consent, it does not mean that she could go with her group of male and female colleagues.
He said if permission is not given of course she cannot attend the course; and if the husband gave his consent, then she must have her husband or a 'mahram' accompanying her. The general understanding is that it is prohibited in the Shariah for a female to travel without a 'mahram' under all circumstances.
Regarding the 'mahram' issue, I searched in the internet and found the site www.central-mosque.com
which discussed a question from a reader that might give an insight for me and readers.