Crossing Boundaries

Written by L.S. Rodrigues

In this article, Rodrigues shows us that life is not limited to daily routine.

 

The Roadblocks & The Solutions

Within Islamic boundaries lay many rules and regulations for women traveling with limitations and expectations. These two women knew no boundaries when it came to ensuring they experienced the world and what it provides. Although many may fear  traveling the road without a man by their sides and taking along seven children with them, this would probably put any woman off from venturing further out than their local cities.

This challenging load didn’t deter these two Muslim women. A road trip across Europe is what they set out to do all the way from London to Italy and back. Although traveling alone was a challenge they also did it in a car.

No doubt there was going to be challenges and hardships along the way and they were fully aware that it most certainly would happen. However, they planned and executed what would be theirs and their children’s first experience of traveling around Europe.

As a Muslim woman, we are constantly being told of all the boundaries, the impermissible acts and what we are not allowed to do. This becomes a set of imprints in most Muslim women’s mind of restrictions which inevitably stop them from doing anything that is permissible or even risky.

There are always ways around some of the rules pertaining to traveling. For example, the age of the woman allows one to travel without a mahram if she is over the age of 45 years, as she is considered mature. This doesn’t only allow her to travel on her own but even allows her to do the obligatory act of hajj on her own if she wanted to. Common sense would say that if women are travelling in groups the logic of being unsafe would be decreased yet even some would go to the extent of saying it is not permissible to do this and ultimately it is down to the individual to decide for themselves and you have to ask, how much is from Islam and how much is from allowing ourselves to place limitations on what we do, what others expect of us and fear of judgement.

Urwah Bablola and I traveled alone with no mahram, just us women, and our children, fully equipped with the baggage of clothing, food, and activities for the road ahead but fully aware that our husbands were just a call away if we needed their help or if we came into danger. We ensured there was insurance on our car in case anything happened while on the road and researched every area in each country we were traveling to for all necessities and activities to do, that was within our budget or free but most of all safe. We ensured that we did everything we could to make sure we were organised and knew daylight hours and when it was unsafe to be out in each country.  We tied our camel and placed our trust in our Rabb Allah ﷻ.

We had a variety of opinions and expressions from women, specifically of how shocked they were at what we were about to do. Some even went to the extent of trying to explain the rulings of traveling as if we weren’t already aware. However, this is something we wanted to do and had to do and we did it and now having experienced it, I advocate it as something that most families should try to do for the sake of experience.

There is no feeling like the feeling of traveling around the world and seeing with your own eyes the beauty of the creations of Allah . Not every woman is able to travel with a mahram nor have a mahram due to being single, divorced, widowed or having no male siblings around. What is she to do then? Never travel for the rest of her life? There is a way to try to find it and do it and even if it means you can only travel within the same country you live in.

Then go and travel there.

Our Experience

Traveling around Europe by car was an amazing experience for all of us, the places you see and visit on the way to your destination are vast. Perhaps if we had traveled by train or plane, this would have been missed. The people from all these countries you meet and interact with on the way that you wouldn’t have met, the food you get to taste are tripled as you pass so many destinations with different cultures and languages. It is a trip full of adventure and a view into so many different ways of life.

The scenery you are embraced with from mountains to animals, to architecture and land is amazing to watch, the difference between city to city or country is Huge. You can actually see the visual differences when entering a new border, for example when we left Italy to enter Switzerland on the way back to London was astonishing! A complete turn in weather and view, from acres of lands filled with grape vines, sun blazing and animals grazing to entering Switzerland with views of mountains with snow splattered across the land, high scotch pine trees everywhere you gaze at. It’s an experience your eyes and mind can easily become overwhelmed with the emotion of excitement and joy that you go through at every border you cross. You can’t get this by traveling in any other mode of transport, you are literally limited on everything and to one country.

Of Course, there are some cons to traveling by road such as your car breaking down and the long drives but honestly if planned properly even if you encounter problems with your car, a positive attitude, a good car insurance provider and a get back up attitude will help you continue your journey and enjoy it. The long drives can be a bit daunting but lots of breaks on the way, entertainment for the children reduce the intensity of it and it also allows you as a family to interact and bond, which allows this journey to become special and lots of fond memories being established in just this one trip.

We were created with a purpose and a goal of attaining paradise but this does not mean we don’t enjoy the amazing things Allah  has placed here on earth for us. It doesn’t mean we lock our doors and limit ourselves to the kitchen sink for the rest of our lives. We fulfill our duties, we work hard, we stay obedient slaves of Allah ﷻ but we also have a balance and allow ourselves to take some risks, to enjoy this world, to have adventures and to experience new things that sometimes may push us outside of our set boundaries. This, however, is growth in every sense of being.

Muslim women everywhere, start travelling today to see the beauty of the creation!

 

Bio: L.S. Rodrigues is from Portuguese and Angolan descent. Rodrigues is also a poet and an author of children and adult books. Visit her website at www.lsrodrigues.co.uk

 

Muslimahs’ Picture Credit : The Big Reconnect Sleepover

 

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