For the first time, women complete Hajj without male guardian

Riyadh: For the first time, Women complete  Hajj without a male guardian (mahrem) under the new rule. The dream of many women to perform the pilgrimage has come true, without difficulties, as it was in the past. 

The ministry of Hajj has officially allowed women of all ages to go without a male relative, as long as they are traveling in a group.

The decision is part of the social reforms of the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, aimed at shedding the kingdom’s hard-line image and opening up its oil-dependent economy.

“We were given special attention by the security forces, Hajj volunteers in the holy sites and by our group leaders who gave us the choice to board the same bus or stay in the same camps with relatives,” Iman, a British citizen, told The National.

She said that women in a similar situation were contacted two weeks before the start of the pilgrimage and communicated with the women who will be traveling with them, most of whom are doing the pilgrimage alone and for the first time.

“Everyone has been so supportive, it did not feel like I am performing Hajj on my own but as if I have found a new family to perform the most spiritual journey of my life. It was very helpful, convenient and comfortable to have women volunteers in the camps that made the pilgrimage easier in every aspect,” Iman added.

Female guides made sure that their groups of women remained socially distant and reached their destination on time throughout the Hajj.

“We have a team of female volunteers and guides to help them personally and even translators who can speak in their languages to make them feel more comfortable,” a female guide told The National.

The widow Nadira said that she never imagined that she would be able to perform the Hajj, as she has daughters and no guardian.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to perform the Hajj without a male guardian was widely welcomed by women around the world.

This year, the Saudi government has set the Hajj for the second year in a row for its citizens, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.