Do you know the real meaning of traveling? The difference between a travel and a stay. Islam is a religion of some rules and principles believers follow to lead a graceful life.
These rules and privileges also apply to people while traveling. To fully understand these rules, first, we must comprehend what traveling is in Islam.
In this article, we will explore some of the most important Islamic rules about travel.
Meaning of traveling
Travel is a journey; one takes for research purposes, gaining knowledge, studying, leisure, or doing business.
If an individual decides to stay in another city/ country for more days or settles there, he is now a resident. The rules and conditions of travel are no longer applicable.
Since there is a principle that the Islamic rules embody: it is, ”Difficulty begets ease,” which means that with each difficulty, there is ease.
Therefore, when a person is in a state of travel, they are allowed to shorten their prayers, combine them, and break the fasts of Ramadan.
According to this Hadith, as narrated by Ibn`Abbas: “The Prophet (ﷺ) once stayed for nineteen days and prayed shortened prayers. So, when we travel led (and stayed) for nineteen days, we used to shorten the prayer, but if we traveled (and stayed) for a longer period, we used to offer the full prayer.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1080)
This Hadith indicates that the shortening of prayer (qasr) is Sunnah and hence, preferable.
And according to another narration by Ibn`Abbas: ”The Messenger of God (ﷺ) used to combine the noon and the afternoon prayer while traveling, and also to combine the sunset and the evening prayer.” (Mishkat al-Masabih 1339)
The concept of shortening the prayer (qasr) and combining them (jam) is crystal clear. Now, let us move forward with the most important thing to begin your journey with; a supplication.
The dua for traveling in Quran is:
سُبْحَانَ الذي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هذا، وَما كُنَّا له مُقْرِنِينَ، وإنَّا إلى رَبِّنَا لَمُنْقَلِبُونَ
Subhana-alladhisakh-khara la-nahadhawa ma kunna la-hu muqrinin. Wainnaila Rabbi-na la munqalibun. (Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:13-14)
And another one is from Surah Al-Isra:
رَّبِّ اَدْخِلْنِيْ مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَّاَخْرِجْنِيْ مُخْــرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَّاجْعَلْ لِّيْ مِنْ لَّدُنْكَ سُلْطٰنًا نَّصِيْرًا
Rabbi AdkhilneeMudkhalaS’idqiwWaAkhrijneeMukhrajaS’diqiwWaj-a’l Lee Mil LadunkaaSult’aananNas’eeraa (Al-Isra: 17:80)
Starting your journey with these supplications will ease your journey and protect you from any obstacles that come your way.
The Intention for Travel
Before embarking on a journey, it is important to have the right intention. Muslims should make the intention to travel for a valid reason, such as seeking knowledge, performing Hajj or Umrah, visiting family or friends, or doing business. The intention should be sincere and for the sake of Allah (SWT).
Follow the Prayer Times
Muslims are required to perform the five daily prayers at their designated times, no matter where they are. When traveling, it may be challenging to find a suitable place to pray, but Muslims should make an effort to find a quiet and clean place to perform their prayers.
If it is not possible to perform the prayers at the designated time, they can be combined and performed later in the day.
Kinds of Traveling
In Islam, there are four different kinds of voyages:
- Traveling to perform Hajj or Umrah is known as Pilgrimage travel. And on the days of Hajj (including the day of Sacrifice and the days of at-Tashreeq), we have a concession of shortening prayers.
- To gain knowledge or study. A person who sets out on a journey to another country to study; is a traveler as long as he is a student there.
- Witnessing the beauty and ruins of this world strengthens our Imaan and faith in Allah. While glimpsing this glorious world also provides a feeling of relaxation necessary to lead a stress-free life.
”Say, O Prophet, Travel throughout the land and see how He originated the creation, then Allah will bring it into being one more time. Surely Allah is Most Capable of everything.” (Al-‘Ankabut 29:20)
- Lastly, to call people to Allah and Islam. It is the most known kind of traveling. The Messenger, the Prophets, and their companions (May Allah be pleased with them) used to do this to spread the word of Islam.
They traveled across the globe to teach people about goodness and warn them of evils.
Travels Prohibited in Islam
Very few of us are familiar with the sorts of traveling; prohibited in Islam. Yes, not all types of traveling are permissible, and you cannot travel to do forbidden acts and shorten your prayers, viewing it as a charity from Allah.
- You cannot consider any travel as ”religious” as long as it does not involve any of the three Masjids, that is Masjid-al-Haraam, the Mosque of the Messenger (ﷺ), and the Mosque of al-Aqsa.
As narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques i.e., Al-Masjid-Al-Haram, the Mosque of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, (Mosque of Jerusalem).” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1189)
Apart from these three Mosques, any place considered sacred and performs worship, expecting blessings from is shirk and haram.
Hence, traveling in any such place is haram. However, it does not mean that you never step into a foreign Masjid as prayers in congregation and Friday prayers are blissful deeds.
- Not to visit a foreign place that is into haram acts of parties, mixed gatherings, drinking alcohol, corruption, and other immoral acts of sins.
If a person has no relevant reason, such as business or studying, and visits a non-Muslim land for fun, there could be a risk of harming their faith and Emaan.
Therefore, avoiding places that can harm your faith is suggested.
- To visit the places of those who wronged themselves and hence met with calamity. Talking about the people of Hijr (Thamud), ‘Abdullah bin Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
”Do not enter but weepingly (the habitations) of these people who had been punished by (Allah), and in case you do not feel inclined to weep, then do not enter (these habitations) that you may not meet the same calamity as had fallen to their lot.” (Sahih Muslim 2980a)
- And a commonly known fact is that a woman should not travel without a mahram. They are not allowed to perform Hajj or Umrah without the presence of their mahrams; setting out for leisure tourism alone is a far bigger no.
As narrated by Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him); The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to make a journey of one day and night unless she is accompanied by a Mahram (husband or any other relative to whom she is prohibited to marry).” (Riyad as-Salihin 989)
Is it permissible to travel for leisure purposes in Islam?
Yes, it is permissible to travel for leisure purposes as long as the purpose of the journey is permissible in Islam, and it doesn’t involve any sinful activities.
Can I fast during travel?
Yes, you can fast during travel, but it’s not obligatory. If fasting causes hardship or difficulty during travel, you can skip it and make up for it later.
Can I shorten and combine prayers during travel?
Yes, Muslims are allowed to shorten and combine prayers during travel to make it easier. However, this is only applicable when you’re travelling for a distance of more than 55 miles or 88 km.
Nowadays, traveling can involve many sites where immoral acts are taking place. From drinking alcohol to the far worse imitation of the kuffaar and embracing their culture and traditions.
We, as Muslims, are aware of our culture and traditions, what is permissible and halal and haram. Therefore, we must stay true to our religion and avoid such acts that can harm our faith.
It means to travel as long as it benefits you, in terms of knowledge or business or spreading the word of Islam. But return to your lands when your Imaan is at risk & you no longer have any reason to stay.
And may Allah protect all of us from the haram and evil and keep us on the right path of our religion.