Etiquettes of Traveling


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Sabah Merchant

Most people do travel throughout there lives, whether it be for short distances or long distances. The beauty of a Believer’s life is that he/she takes advantage of the guidelines provided in Islam to shape his/her life and make each action an ibadah (act of worship).

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has provided guidelines for not just the spiritual realm of our lives but also the worldly realm. Therefore, a part of human life is the ability to move around to explore and benefit from the earth. This includes learning from the experience of travel.

Just like drivers are given certain regulations to follow each time they drive, it is also important for a Muslim to know the manners and etiquette of traveling that are often ignored, forgotten or not taken seriously. By following this etiquette, not only does the trip become blessed but it even becomes a form of worship, Insha’Allah.

Mentioned below are some points to follow when one travels:

1. Pray Salat-ul Istikharah and seek Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)’s Guidance

Before any matter is decided, it is preferable and Sunnah [way of the Prophet  (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم)] to seek Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)’s guidance.

Istikhara Du’a:

“If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِيَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ ارْضِنِي بِهِ

Allâhumma inni astakhiruka bi ilmika wa astaqdiruka biqudratika wa as’aluka min fadlikal-azimi, fa innaka taqdiru walâ aqdiru wa ta’lamu walâ a’lamu wa anta allamul ghuyâbi. Allâhumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra khayrun li fi dini wa ma-ashi wa aqibati amri faqdir-hu li wa yassir-hu li thumma barik li fihi wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra shari-un li fi dini wa maâshi wa aqibati amri fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdir liyal-khayra haythu kâna thumma ardini bihi.

“O Allah, I ask of You the good through Your knowledge and I ask You to grant me ability through Your power and beg Your favour of infinite bounty, for surely, You have power and I have none, You know all and I know nothing and You are the Knower of all that is hidden. 0 Allah if in Your knowledge, this matter be good for my faith (Din), my livelihood and the consequences of my affairs in the world and the Hereafter, then ordain it for me and facilitate it from me and grant me blessing in it. But, if in Your knowledge this matter is bad for my faith, my livelihood and the consequences of my affairs in the world and the Hereafter, then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and ordain for me the good wherever it be, and cause me to be pleased with it.(Al-Bukhari)

2. Travel with a purpose

قُلْ سِيرُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ ثُمَّ انظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ

Say: “Travel through the land; then observe how was the end of the deniers.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-‘An`ām (The Cattle): 11]

قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ يُنشِئُ النَّشْأَةَ الْآخِرَةَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Say: “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah , over all things, is competent.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-`Ankabūt (The Spider): 20]

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has mentioned the act of traveling several times in the Qur’an. In the above verses Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) highlights the purpose of the travel being the quest for knowledge and to derive ‘ibra (lessons).

3. Pay off debts, return anything you owe someone and seek forgiveness

It has been reported on the authority of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “All the sins of a Shahid (martyr) are forgiven except debt.”

It is necessary for people to clear off any debts while traveling because they may never return home.

4. Remembering Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and thanking Him

We must remember that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) makes several different factors come together, which we are unaware of, in order for it to be possible for us to travel. Therefore, we must thank and praise Him for giving us the opportunity to seek benefit from His earth in ways that do. Not everyone gets the opportunity to board a car, train or an airplane so we need to consider ourselves fortunate to be able to afford such luxuries.

5. Take enough provision and money along

It is important to carry enough money with you on a trip to be sufficient for you and those with you.

6. It is mustahabb (liked) to bid farewell to one’s family, neighbours, friends and loved ones.

The one who is traveling should say to those he leaves behind:

أَسْتَـوْدِعُكُـمُ اللَّهَ الَّذي لا تَضِـيعُ وَدائِعُـهُ

“I leave you in the care of Allah,as nothing is lost that is in His care.”(Ahmad,Ibn Majah)

The one who is staying behind should say to the traveler:

أَسْتَوْدِعُ اللَّهَ دِينَكَ وَأَمَانَتَكَ وَخَوَاتِيمَ عَمَلِكَ

“I place your religion, your faithfulness and the ends of your deeds in the trust of Allah.”(Ahmad,Ibn Majah)

زَوَّدَكَ اللَّهُ التَّقْوَى وَغَفَرَ لَكَ ذَنْبَكَ وَيَسَّرَ لَكَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كُنْتَ

 “May Allah bless you with taqwa (Fearing Allah) and forgive you your sins and make goodness easy for you wherever you are.”(At-Tirmithi)

7. Du’a when setting out of the house

One must recite:

بسم الله تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ

Bismillaah, tawakkaltu ‘ala Allah, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah.

“In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah and there is no power and no strength except with Allah.” (An-Nasai)

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَضِلَّ أَوْ أُضَّلَّ أَوْ أَظْلِمَ أَوْ أُظْلَمَ أَوْ أَجْهَلَ أَوْ يُجْهَلَ عَلَىَّ

 Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min an adilla aw udalla aw azilla aw uzalla aw azlima aw uzlama aw ajhala aw yujhal ‘alayya

O Allah, I seek refuge with You lest I should stray or be led astray, or slip or be tripped, or do wrong or be wronged, or behave foolishly or be treated foolishly.”(Abu-Dawud,Ibn Majah)

8. Du’a for setting out on any journey

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ وَإِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا لَمُنْقَلِبُونَ

……Subhaanal-lathee sakhkhara lanaa haathaa wa maa kunnaa lahu muqrineen. Wa ‘innaa ‘ilaa Rabbinaa lamunqaliboon

“….How perfect He is, The One Who has place this (transport) at our service, and we ourselves would not have been capable of that, and to our Rabb is our final destination. “
[Al-Qur’an:Az-Zukhruf (The ornaments of gold):13-14]

9. Du’a when going uphill or downhill

It is mustahabb (liked) for the traveler to say takbeer (Allahu Akbar) when going up a rise in the land and to say tasbeeh (Subhaan Allah) when going down into valleys and the like. (Al-Bukhari)

10. Du’a when entering a village or town

If a traveler sees a village or town that he wants to enter, it is mustahabb for him to say:

“Allahumma as’aluka khayraha wa khayra ahliha wa khayra ma fiha wa ‘a’oodhu bika min sharriha wa sharri ahliha wa sharri ma fiha”

“O Allah, I ask You for its goodness, the goodness of its people and the goodness of what is in it, and I seek refuge with You from its evil, the evil of its people and the evil of what is in it.” (Al-Hakim)

11. Travel in a group
This is important because in a hadith by Umar (رضى الله عنه) where it is said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: If the people knew what I know about traveling alone, then nobody would travel alone at night.” [Bukhari].

12. Appoint a leader
If one is traveling in a group, they should appoint the best and wisest among them as leader. Abu Sa’eed and Abu Hurayrah (رضى الله عنهم)  said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “When three people set out on a journey, let them appoint one of their number as their leader.” (Abu Dawud)

13. Adopt good manners and guard the tongue The best of manners must be adopted by travelers. There should be no fighting, quarrelling, pushing people on the roads, backbiting or cursing due to any obstacle that may befall during the travel.

14. Du’a of a traveler is accepted
Dua of a traveler is always answered, therefore he should continue making it throughout the travel.

15. Tayammum and praying the shortened prayer
The permission of tayammun (Doing wudhu(ablution) in a situation where water is not available) has been given so that Muslims can  pray without any hardships.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاةِ فاغْسِلُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُواْ بِرُؤُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُواْ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاء أَحَدٌ مَّنكُم مِّنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لاَمَسْتُمُ النِّسَاء فَلَمْ تَجِدُواْ مَاء فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُواْ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهَّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“…. and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Mā’idah (The Table Spread): 06]

وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الأَرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقْصُرُواْ مِنَ الصَّلاَةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَن يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ كَانُواْ لَكُمْ عَدُوًّا مُّبِينًا

“And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer, [especially] if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you. Indeed, the disbelievers are ever to you a clear enemy.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat An-Nisā’ (The Women):101]

The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: (This is a) charity that Allah has given to you, so accept His charity.” (Hadith No. 1199, Book of The Traveler’s Prayers, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 1573 (686), Book of The Traveler’s Prayers & Shortening Thereof, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has provided these two forms of ease as gifts for the traveler.

16. Women should travel with a Mahram  It is not permissible for a woman to travel without a non-mahram. Abu Hurayrah  (رضى الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel for the distance of one day and one night except with a mahram.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

17. Prayer of Arrival
The Sunnah when returning home is to start by going to the mosque that is nearest one’s home and praying two rak’ahs with the intention of offering Salaat Al-Qudoom (the prayer of arrival). In a hadith narrated by Ka’b ibn Maalik  (رضى الله عنه), the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would start by going to the mosque when he came back from a journey where he would pray two rak’ah and then sit down. (Bukhari and Muslim)

If followed, these practices will ensure that a trip is blessed, purposeful and includes acts that are pleasing to our Lord, Insha’Allah.

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About Quran Reflections

Al-Huda's branch at Khayaban-e-Sehar is one of the few Quran courses being regularly conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where the mode of instruction and examination is English. The students and teachers have decided to upload their reflections on the Quran and class notes on this blog, in order to be available to a global audience for the latter's benefit and inspiration.
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