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Travelling Islamically

Some etiquettes and guidelinesFor any and all trips, we usually iron out the details and make reservations beforehand. Just as we plan ahead by finding out about flights and hotels to make sure that there won’t be any obstacles preventing our trip from going smoothly, we must also plan ahead to make sure that there won’t be any obstacles keeping us from fulfilling our religious duties. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said, “A man must never go on a journey in which he has cause to fear for his faith or his prayer.” (Bihar al-Anwar)

Some etiquettes and guidelinesWith the summer holidays approaching, it’s not unusual to see people planning out their vacation from now, if not earlier! The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said, “Travel, and you will be healthy and wealthy.” (Kanz al-Ummal) Be it on a short road trip or a flight over the seas – go explore the world that is Allah’s creation, marvel at the beauty He has blessed you to see, and gain lessons from whatever you observe.

Although going on vacation means taking a break from the usual hustle and bustle of life, it does not mean that we take a break from our religion. Even though a recreational trip does not have the same level of spirituality as going to one of the holy lands for Ziyarat does, we are still supposed to be mindful of our identity as Muslims wherever we go.

Setting Out

For any and all trips, we usually iron out the details and make reservations beforehand. Just as we plan ahead by finding out about flights and hotels to make sure that there won’t be any obstacles preventing our trip from going smoothly, we must also plan ahead to make sure that there won’t be any obstacles keeping us from fulfilling our religious duties. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said, “A man must never go on a journey in which he has cause to fear for his faith or his prayer.” (Bihar al-Anwar) Plan the journey while keeping in mind the prayer timings, and don’t forget to pack a prayer mat and Turba. Keep in mind the rules of prayer for a traveler, and figure out which length of prayer is to be performed during the journey. Also, if planning on eating food from outside on the trip, enquire ahead about food arrangements or search online for a Halal place to go to.

Before embarking on a journey, it is customary to make sure all the house doors are locked to keep the vacant building safe during the trip. Right before doing that, we should also remember to give Sadaqa before any journey, so that we may be kept safe during our trip. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) advised, “Commence your journey with the giving of charity, and leave when the time seems right, for verily you buy the safety of your journey [with charity].” (Bihar al-Anwar)

Supplications

Traveling is such a common thing these days, be it a quick walk to school or a plane ride across the country. For this huge aspect of our lives, we have been blessed with an array of short supplications to recite whenever setting out on any sort of journey. For the more common, daily journeys, there are supplications to be recited upon exiting and entering one’s house. For longer trips, there are special supplications specific to starting the journey, boarding the means of transportation, dismounting from it, entering a new town, and starting the journey back home.

It may seem like a lot of supplications to start incorporating into our daily lives, but don’t feel overwhelmed – Allah does not ask of us that which we cannot do. For starters, pick one or two new supplications to get used to every week, reciting them whenever the occasion arises. Each supplication is short and can be recited even while walking or driving, thus heightening our God-consciousness while performing these routine tasks.

To help get into the habit of reciting these supplications with proper pronunciation and to help eventually memorize them, here is a convenient gadget for vehicles that will get everyone else riding in it involved too. After plugging the Travel Supplication Adapter for Cars into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter/power outlet, the adapter will thereafter automatically play one of two supplications for traveling every time the ignition turns on. To read a review about the adapter, click here.

Other ideas for learning to recite the supplications include using stickers or hangings for doors – before heading out of the home, take the time to read the supplication that’s right there at eye level. Such things as supplication stickers and wallet-sized cards provide easy ways to become familiar with these beautiful gems of supplication. However, a note of caution: be careful when deciding where to keep them – for instance, putting the sticker on the bumper of a car, which eventually gets dirty while driving, would be disrespectful towards the names of Allah which are printed in the supplications.

When it comes to the supplications themselves, there are always benefits in reciting them; however, it’s even more beneficial to supplicate to the Almighty with the knowledge of what exactly we are saying. Every so often, recite the translated version of these supplications instead of the Arabic versions – and eventually, even the translations will be committed to memory too! That way, after knowing the meanings of the supplications, we can ask Him for protection with even more sincerity.

The Journey

Not everything always goes as planned, so troubles might arise during a journey. Complications – combined with tiredness from traveling – may put people on edge, but it’s essential to remember to keep calm and to make the best of the situation. Traveling from one place to another requires patience and a will to benefit from the trip, so we must try to maintain good Akhlaq and Insha’Allah that positivity will spread to everyone else.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) advised his son, Luqman, on how to behave when traveling with others: “When you travel in the company of people, consult with them frequently about each of your affairs, make them smile often, and be generous in sharing your provisions with them. When they call you, answer them, and when they ask for your help, assist them. Try to outdo them in three things: long periods of silence, an abundance of prayer, and open-handedness with them with whatever you possess of riding animal, wealth, or food.” (Bihar al-Anwar)

The Imam also said: “The ideal courteousness during a journey entails sharing one’s provisions freely, joking light-heartedly in matters that do not displease Allah, hardly ever disputing with your travelling companions, and never telling tales about them once you have parted company from them.” (Al-Amali)

There is only benefit in acting upon these pearls of wisdom, since the opposite behavior would only bring disgrace to the individual and create more complications during the trip. In the end, it’s all up to each traveler to conduct him-/herself in a manner befitting a follower of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them), and that makes a world of difference in the quality of any journey.

Returning Home

When returning home from a long trip, remember to bring something back for loved ones. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said, “When you go away on a journey, upon your return to your family you should bring them back a gift or a novelty, even if it be a mere stone!” (Bihar al-Anwar) Of course, as the narration says, the gift does not need to be anything of monetary value. The point of a gift from a far-away place is to let others know of its existence and to share details of how life is lived over there – so even a story about the people and places you saw or about the lessons you learned during the journey is a priceless gift!

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4 comments

  1. Excellent and timely piece! I wish something was said about the cost of the trip…and not spending too much money on luxury and extravagance..i am always worried about that.

  2. What a useful article!

    I will be going on a journey in a few weeks with someone, so I’m sure this will come in handy. Thanks.

    • “….and be generous in sharing your provisions with them….”

      ^ just realized…does this also include sharing airplane peanuts?!! :O guess travelling Islamically isn’t going to be such a breeze after all…may He make generosity easier for me!

  3. Bismillahirrahamnirraheem:
    Assalamun’ alaykum w/r w/b:

    U see this is a good article. Knowledgeable, well written, well researched, light, crisp, etc.

    I suggest all articles be written by Nabila Rizvi.

    Nabila, Excellent JOB!!!!

    I hope the rate of articles that you produce won’t slow down now that u have tied the knot. Plz don’t forget us, the readers!!! And congratulations on ur marriage.

    Shukran Jiddan!

    Wassalamun ‘alaykum w/r w/b:

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