New Delhi [India]: Delhi Hajj Committee chief Kausar Jahan on Wednesday said that 4,314 Muslim women from India performed the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca, without ‘Mehram’ or male guardian.
Kausar said that after the Mehram obligation was lifted in 2018, barely 3,400 women went for Hajj from 2018 to 2022. However, 4,314 women performed Hajj without Mehram in 2023 alone. “Delightful that the numbers this time are record-breaking. 4,314 Muslim women are returning after Hajj without Mehram. In 2018, when the Mehram obligation was lifted, from 2018-2022 only 3,400 women went for Haj. But in 2023 alone, 4,314 women went on Hajj without Mehram,” said Kausar Jahan.
Jahan also stated that this development was a major step towards women’s empowerment, said officials.
“This is a major step towards women empowerment. This shows our women trust the Indian passport and they feel safe outside the country,” said Kausar Jahan.
Jahan welcomed the woman returning from Hajj at the Delhi Airport on Wednesday.
The Saudi Arabian government in October 2022, announced that (Mehram) a male blood relative with whom marriage is not permissible will no longer be required to accompany a woman pilgrim from any part of the world.
This is the first time that the Ministry of Minority Affairs had received such a large pool of applications from women above the age of 45 years who wished to travel for the Hajj pilgrimage without any male guardian, as per India’s Minority Affairs Ministry sources.
In June, Kerala’s first women-only Hajj flight took off from Calicut International Airport at Karipur after Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla flagged off the flight.
Barla performed the symbolic flag-off ceremony and distribution of boarding passes for the first flight. This was the first time that only women’s flight has been organised for Hajj in Kerala. The pilot and crew of the aircraft are all women.
The Air India Express flight left Karipur at 6.45 p.m. carrying 145 women pilgrims and six women crew marking the first such flight from Kerala for women pilgrims without mehram or a male companion.
Barla said that the women-only flight marked a glorious step for women’s empowerment in the country and requested the pilgrims to pray for the country’s safety and security as well as progress.
Every year, millions of Muslims around the world embark on a sacred pilgrimage known as Hajj. This spiritual journey holds immense significance in the lives of believers, offering an opportunity to connect with Allah, seek forgiveness, and strengthen their faith. The heartfelt desire to be among those walking to Mina, echoing the Labaik with the crowd, and performing the rituals of Hajj is a sentiment shared by countless individuals.
Hajj is a unique manifestation of unity, as Muslims from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and nations gather in the sacred land of Makkah to perform the rituals together. It is a remarkable sight to witness people from different walks of life converging towards a common purpose, setting aside their differences and embracing one another as equals before Allah.