Q.The individual is asking, is it permissible for a women to travel without a mahram by plane, train etc?
A.The shaykh said the Prophet (Sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said (as reported in Sahih al Bukhari & other than that) it is not permitted for a female who believes in Allaah and the Last day to travel except with a mahram (male guardian). When that statement was said by the Prophet (Sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) a man who was present stood and said yaa Rasoolillaah, my wife has set upon a journey to perform hajj and I have been registered/ listed to fight in a particular war (jihaad). The Prophet (Sallahu alayhi wa sallam) said go and travel with your wife, so the individual went and travelled with his wife. So this was the order of the Prophet (Sallaahu alayhi wa sallam).
Notice what the Prophet (sallahu layhi wa sallam) said: it’s not permissible for a woman. He did not specify a young woman or a old woman, he said it’s not permissible for a woman. So this shows you any woman. Any and every woman. Whether she is old, whether she is young, whether people are attracted to her or not etc. Regardless of this it is still mandatory that she has a male guardian to travel with her. Because of that the scholars say if a male guardian is not present for a woman then the hajj is not obligatory upon her. The hajj is not obligatoryupon her. Allaah ta’baarak ta wa ta’aala says in the Qur’aan: verily it is mandatory for the people to migrate to the house, to make pilgrimage to the house. The scholars said if the woman does not have a mahram (male guardian) then she falls under the category that cannot perform the hajj.
Shaykh Saalih ibn Muhammad al-Luhaydaan (May Allaah preserve him) (Kitaab-ut-Tawheed Class 01.12.12) Riyadh.