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Hajj 2021: KSA allows women to perform hajj without mahram

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has allowed women to register for the pilgrimage this year without a male dependent.

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Under the previous law, any woman under the age of 45 wanting a hajj visa was only allowed to travel with a mahram—a male “guardian,” generally related by blood. Women over 45, however, were granted permission to perform Hajj with an “organized group”, provided they were able to present the Saudi embassy with a “no objection letter from her husband, son or brother authorizing her to travel for Hajj with the named group,” according to a Saudi government website.

However, in a landmark decision, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has permitted women to register for Hajj 2021 without a mahram (male guardian). According to its Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, women who want to register for Hajj this year will be part of the Women’s League.

The ministry has announced three Hajj packages. The first category costs 12,113 riyals; the second is priced at 14,381 riyals and the third — and most expensive category — costs 16,560 riyals excluding taxes.

In 2020, Saudi Arabia appointed 10 women in senior roles at Islam’s two holiest sites, authorities said Sunday, as the conservative petro-state sought to boost female employment.

The appointment of women in senior positions at religious institutions is rare in the Islamic kingdom, which is in the midst of a wide-ranging liberalization drive spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Read More: Reforms sweep across Saudi Arabia: More & more women are entering the workforce

The women were appointed in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina across various departments, including administrative and technical, according to a statement released by the general presidency for the affairs of the two holy mosques.

The recruitment drive was aimed at “empowering Saudi women with high qualifications and capabilities”, the statement said.

Recently, Saudi Arabia has also amended part of a law to make it legal for single, divorced and widowed women to live independently without legally needing permission from their family or male guardian.

The law, part of Article 169 of the Law of Procedure before Sharia, was scrapped and replaced by an amendment that permits adult women, of rational mind, to live in separate housing, Gulf News reported on Wednesday, citing Makkah newspaper.

The law was changed as part of a landmark ruling in favour of 32-year-old Mariam al Otaibi, a writer, who won her case in Saudi courts to live alone

These new regulations are history in the making as for the longest time the women in Saudi Arabia were excluded and remained deprived of the fundamental rights that the modern day women have.

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