Please note: The answers on constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

The ruling on women riding alone in a taxi car or motorcycle

Salaam. In my country, there is this public transportation service called ojeg (pronounced OH-JACK). It is basically a motorcycle taxi that only counts to 1 passenger per motorcycle unit. In Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) times, he rode a camel together with a woman behind him, with a note that the Prophet and the woman rode the same camel, but the camel hump separates them two. When I took a ride with an ojeg, which majority of them are male riders, is it similar to when our Prophet rode a camel and gave a women a ride with him? The difference is it was then using a living creature with a hump and it is now using a mechanical transportation with nothing to separate the rider and the passenger. I have gotten opinions from several of the local ustadh, but most of them agree that it is not allowed for a woman to take an ojeg ride. They also do not allow woman to take a taxi ride alone. The ojeg riders and taxi drivers in my country are all harmless and take their passenger with utmost manner and no bad intentions at all, but those ustadh are saying that it is not allowed for us women to do a ride alone. I am completely cannot relate to their opinion. How do you perceive of this matter? Thank you very much for your time. May Allah Bless you.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are different opinions on this issue. According to the Palestinian scholar Dr. Ziyad Miqdad this is no a matter in which the ruling of either halal or halam applies (i.e. it is not a black and white issue). In his opinion if the woman’s safety and dignity are guaranteed, then there is no issue with a woman riding alone in a taxi.

Shaykh al-Albani’s opinion is that if the following three conditions are satisfied, then it is permitted for a woman to ride alone in a taxi:

  1. The ride should be “in the middle of the city” (he probably means that the ride should not be to an isolated or out of the way place, or to a different city).
  2. The driver should be a religiously observant person.
  3. The woman should be safe from kidnapping.

According to both al-Albani and the Jordanian Fatwa Authority, a woman’s riding in a taxi is not a form of khalwa (being alone with the opposite sex) that is forbidden, since a taxi is a public place due to not providing much privacy from the public. By bringing these opinions together, I believe we can express the requirements for such rides being permissible as follows: If the woman’s safety and dignity is preserved, and if such a ride is acceptable in her society and culture and is not considered scandalous, then it is permitted.

I believe al-Albani’s requirements that the ride should be in the city center and with a religious person are only heuristic recommendations meant to ensure a woman’s safety and dignity. If her safety and dignity are preserved in another way, then these requirements will not be necessary (for example by riding in a car that belongs to a company that carefully monitors its drivers and perhaps has a video camera inside the car).

As for riding on a motorcycle, the same rulings would apply. If her safety and dignity is preserved, and if such a ride is not considered scandalous in her society, and if there is no physical contact involved, then it may be acceptable.

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