The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) granted conditional permission for Pakistani women to perform the Hajj pilgrimage without the presence of a male guardian, known as a ‘Mehram.’
This decision aligns with the recent policy change by the Saudi government now allows women from all over the world to undertake the religious journey without being accompanied by a Mehram.
The CII’s response came after the Ministry of Religious Affairs sought guidance following Saudi Arabia’s historic announcement.
The council referred to various Islamic schools of thought, including Jafria, Maliki, and Shafi’i, which permit women to perform Hajj or Umra without a male guardian under certain conditions.
According to these schools, a woman who is married, unmarried, widowed, or divorced must obtain permission from her husband or parents before embarking on the pilgrimage. Once permission is secured, she should be in the company of trustworthy female companions during the journey.
On the other hand, the Hanfi and Hanbli schools of thought maintain that Hajj is not obligatory for a woman if she does not have a male guardian to accompany her.
This nuanced perspective highlights the diversity within Islamic jurisprudence regarding the performance of religious duties.
This development marks a step towards empowering Pakistani women, providing them with greater autonomy in fulfilling their religious obligations.
The decision by the CII reflects a progressive interpretation of Islamic teachings and acknowledges the evolving role of women in society. It also resonates with the global trend of increasing inclusivity within religious practices.