Just like men, women also travel through Umrah packages UK for the holy rituals. Arriving in Makkah, female pilgrims undertake their Umrah pilgrimage in the same manner as male pilgrims. However, some rules, and regulations differ.
Mahram for a female pilgrim; necessary or not?
Women wishing to travel for Umrah can either travel with a mahram or alone as well.
Previously, it was not allowed for female pilgrims to travel alone for Umrah i.e., they necessarily required the company of a male mahram along. Not only mahram was required to accompany her throughout the Umrah trip but also valid proof of his relationship with her was supposed to be submitted to the authorities to obtain a visa.
Who is a mahram for a woman?
For a Muslim woman, her mahram can be a male person with whom marriage is considered haram. However, except for the husband i.e., he is a mahram of his wife as well. The Mahram (or legal guardian) of a female in Islam includes her;
So, a woman was only permitted entry to the kingdom for the minor pilgrimage if any of the above relatives were accompanying her along the journey.
Change of policies under the Saudi Vision 2030 plan.
In late 2019, Saudi Arabia introduced its Saudi Vision 2030 plan in order to boost the economy in the kingdom through better infrastructure, business opportunities as well as tourism in the country. As a result, policies regarding Hajj and Umrah, travel were also revised by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
As per the new rules introduced, women were allowed to travel alone for Umrah i.e., the necessity of the company of a male mahram was abolished. Now, female pilgrims can travel alone to the region and offer Umrah rituals without any legal restrictions for them.
Things to consider when traveling alone for Umrah.
Women traveling alone for Umrah must consider the following things to ensure a hassle-free journey.
Ø Visa Requirements.
There are different types of visas available for Umrah travel, thus, you must know the requirements specific to your visa type as well as the travel region. Additionally, there might be some additional documentation requirements for women traveling alone for Umrah through Umrah Packages 2024 to be submitted to the authorities. Therefore, consult your travel agent or the Saudi Embassy for detailed information in this regard.
The visas available for Umrah travel include;
- Umrah visa.
It is valid for two weeks and specifically issued for Umrah travel purposes. On this visa, female pilgrims are only allowed to travel between the cities of Makkah and Madinah as well as the areas between them.
- Umrah permits.
For the female pilgrims arriving in the region on their tourist visa, business visa, or family visa – umrah permits can be issued in order to allow them to perform Umrah rituals. On such visas, there is usually an extended validity and the liberty to travel anywhere in Saudia Arabia.
That’s why the requirements for each visa type might differ.
Ø Age Restrictions.
Know that certain age restrictions might be imposed on the women traveling alone for Umrah. Also, some regions might have specific requirements or recommendations for minors (female) traveling without a mahram.
Ø Group Tours.
If you are traveling alone on an Umrah visa, it is required for women to opt for group Umrah travel. These organized group tours not only cater specifically to female pilgrims but also all of the travel and accommodation facilities are managed by professionals. All in all, offering a supportive environment to offer Umrah rituals with professional assistance throughout the journey as well.
Ø Safety Considerations.
Safety must be a top concern for women traveling alone for Umrah. Therefore, necessarily take all the precautions to ensure safety. Such as;
- Share your travel itinerary with your family and friends back home.
- Educate yourself on the Umrah dos and don’ts.
- Choose only a reputable travel agency to arrange for your Umrah travel and accommodation needs.
- Always prefer quality and reputable hotels.
- Stay aware of your surroundings.
- Know your rights in the kingdom.
- Follow any safety guidelines and/or rules and regulations imposed on the pilgrims.
Though women can travel alone for Umrah, these are the necessary things to consider when doing so.