For the first time, women in Saudi Arabia will be able to apply for a hajj (pilgrimage to the shrines of Islam in Mecca and Medina) without being accompanied by a mahram – a close relative – a man with whom a Muslim woman, according to the norms of the Koran, can remain alone or travel.
This is stated in a message published on Thursday on the official website of the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (small pilgrimage).
The Saudi Ministry announced the possibility of early registration of those wishing to perform the Hajj this season, including Saudi women and Muslim women who have a residence permit in the kingdom. The registration rules say that an accompanying person or mahram (husband, brother, father or son) is added to the electronic questionnaire. However, it also states that the addition of these persons is “selective” and is left to the discretion of the woman filling out the questionnaire.
Abdel Fattah Mashat, Deputy Minister for Hajj and Umrah Affairs of Saudi Arabia, said the country’s authorities have decided “not to require the presence of a mahram for women performing the Hajj this year.” At the same time, he noted that in this case, a Muslim woman should make the pilgrimage “as part of a group of women.”
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, the obligatory pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca and Medina, the main event of which is Eid al-Adha (one of the two main Islamic holidays). The main rites of the Hajj in 2023 will take place in the last week of June.