Hajj is one of the most important religious pilgrimages for Muslims. They dream and strive to be able to perform it at least once in their life; since it is obligatory provided the believer is physically and monetarily able.
Moreover, for Muslim women, there is an additional requirement of a male guardian or ‘Mahram’ with whom they can visit the Holy Lands. However, according to Arab News, Saudi Arabia is exploring options that will allow women to go on the pilgrimages alone.
Saudi Arabia is exploring various solo visa options for women
Saudi Arabia slowly and steadily is moving forward. Although the Kingdom has a long way to go in terms of catching up to other countries, allowing women the freedom and liberation to work, drive and participate in various activities alongside men.
Surprisingly, the many changes made recently giving women the right to carry out basic activities independent of their male counterparts have made its way into the laws governing female pilgrimages.
Saudi Arabia is contemplating on introducing visas for tourism and Umrah for solo female travelers. This will enable Muslim women across the globe to perform Hajj and Umrah without having to depend on a Mahram.
Under the current law, any female below 45 years of age seeking to perform religious pilgrimages in Saudi Arabia needs to be accompanied by a man, related to her by blood.
Furthermore, women in the above 45 years of age bracket can travel alone in a group setting, only if they are able to produce a ‘no objection’ letter from her husband, son or brother allowing her to travel with the said group. Also, the letter should be notarized. If in any case, they are unable to meet these policies, they will be deported.
This particular development if approved and made active will enable so many women to finally make the obligatory pilgrimage that they couldn’t because of not having a male guardian or not finding availability of one.
Moreover, this move will also accelerate the Hajj business that is already quite lucrative for Saudi Arabia.
Hajj and Umrah sector suffered due to reforms and regulations
The Umrah firms raised their concerns about the negative impact certain regulations were having over their businesses; warning that nearly 200 companies in this sector will have to leave the market if authorities don’t step in and do something.
Ministry brings several updates for pilgrims
The updates include providing transport flexibility for the worshipers by introducing various options that can be accessed through a portal called Maqam; A digital set-up allowing Muslims from around the world to apply for various Umrah packages. Pakistan also took charge and introduced five Hajj related mobile apps.
Whether independent visas for women are allowed by the Kingdom or not, it is a great step not only towards booming their own business but also enabling the Muslim women the independence to take charge of their religious and tourism plans in the Kingdom.
Will they pass this decision or not? Let us know in the comment section below!