Travelling is a part of human life. Whether it be a religious trip like ‘Umrah and Hajj, a trip to visit family and relatives abroad, a business or work-related trip or a recreational one, we all encounter the need to travel at various junctures of our lives. Being the complete and comprehensive Dīn of Allāh S, Islām provides us with teachings and guidance when it comes to travelling too.
Following these teachings and guidelines will save us from many possible mishaps and further make our journeys fruitful and rewardable in the Court of Allāh S too.
A Sound Objective
Journeys should only be undertaken with a sound objective. This is because along with the positive and enjoyable aspects, journeys also entail certain risks and hardships. In order to save us from these, Rasūlullāh s said,
Journey is a type of hardship; it prevents one of you from his food, drink and sleep; thus when one fulfils his objective [of travel] he should hurry back to his family. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
During the time of our beloved Nabī s, journeys would entail much difficulty and discomfort, as people would travel on animals having to pass through deserts and jungles for days and weeks. Even today, where we travel by plane, train or car with comfortable seats and ample facilities, journeys are still a means of discomfort: not being able to eat, rest or move about as and when one desires; the long process before boarding a plane; being separated from one’s family, relatives and friends, etc. Even a person staying in a luxurious hotel or villa becomes homesick after a few weeks.
Similarly, whilst on travel, many dangers lie ahead: one could become sick; a fatal accident could take place; one could lose all his belongings; one could be falsely accused in a foreign country; etc. It is for this reason Nabī s advised to return home as soon as the objective of travel is fulfilled.
Hence, according to the Islamic perspective, travel is not an objective in itself; rather it is a means to achieve objectives. Therefore, it should only be undertaken when required. Islam does not agree with the concept of travelling for the sake of merely travelling. Thus, we should not travel without a real need or sound objective; and when we do travel, we should try to return as soon as possible after our purpose is fulfilled.
Travelling and Disobedience to Allāh
Whilst at home and in our own localities, we are able to be more productive individuals. We are able to stick to a daily routine, complete daily adhkār, tend to family needs, attend the masjid to perform the five daily ṣalāh in congregation, visit the sick, console the bereaved, etc. Thus, Islam encourages us to be more home-centred people. Nabī s said:
Your home should become spacious for you. (i.e. you should remain within the confines of your home when there is no need to go out). (At-Tirmidhī)
One great danger of travelling, particularly in this day and age, is disobedience to Allāh S. Some people travel with the intention of spending extravagantly simply because they are wealthy or so that they may indulge in enjoyments without keeping check of lawful and unlawful. Some travel with the intention of engaging in activities that make them neglectful of Allāh S, thus they disregard their daily adhkār and sometimes the compulsory ṣalāhs too. Some even travel with the sole purpose of disobeying Allāh S, as they know that being far away from home they will be able to commit sins they are unable to commit whilst near home.
It should be borne in mind that all such journeys embarked upon with the intention of disobeying Allāh S will decrease and demote one’s spirituality and will be regarded impermissible.
At times, a person travels with a good intention and objective, but due to bad travel-companions, the objective of the journey changes. Sometimes, people travel in a group of friends and end up doing things that land them in the Displeasure of Allāh. Bad travel companions even deprive one from the spirituality which can be acquired from religious trips such as Ḥajj, ‘Umrah and Da‘wah and Tablīgh. Similarly, travelling alone could also put one in danger of sin. A person may embark on a business trip, but because of being alone and free, he may end up doing things that he is not supposed to. Again, the journey will become a means of punishment and discomfort in the hereafter.
We should only travel with a genuine objective and choose good travel companions with whom we are sure that we will not engage in something that will be detrimental to our worldly life or our Hereafter.
Guidelines for the Traveller
It has become clear from the above that journeys are not free from inconveniences, risks and dangers - both worldly and Dīnī - and hence we should adhere to the following guidelines whenever we intend to travel:
1. Only travel when there is a real need or genuine objective.
2. Before leaving, meet family, associates and the pious, and ask them to make du‘ā for you.
3. Before the journey, make sure to gather all the resources that will safeguard your dīnī and worldly interests.
4. Travel with care from all aspects. We must look after ourselves, our health, wealth and most importantly our Dīn. Our beloved Nabī s would supplicate with the following words for the person who was about to embark on a journey:
أَسْتَوْدِعُ اللّٰهَ دِيْنَكَ وَأَمَانَتَكَ وَخَوَاتِيْمَ عَمَلِكَ
I entrust to Allāh your Dīn, your (Dīnī and dunyāwī) trusts and your final deeds. (Abū-Dāwūd, At-Tirmidhī)
Entrusting the traveller’s Dīn, valuables and final deeds of life into the trust and protection of Allāh S, indicates that these things are of specific concern during a journey.
5. Focus on the objective behind the journey and do not allow distractions to prevent you from achieving it in a proper manner. This will make the journey productive and worthwhile.
6. Do not spend extravagantly by aimlessly squandering the wealth that Allāh S has blessed you with.
7. Choose your travel companions wisely. We must not travel with such people who will encourage and support us in disobeying Allāh S or breaking the law of the country. We should travel with such people who will be a means of carrying out good and safeguarding our dīn.
8. Be wary not to disobey Allāh S at any juncture. Nabī s would make the following du‘ā at the beginning of a journey:
اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنَّا نَسْأَلُكَ فِيْ سَفَرِنَا هٰذَا الْبِرَّ وَالتَّقْوٰى، وَمِنَ الْعَمَلِ مَا تَرْضٰى
O Allāh! We ask from you in this journey righteousness, taqwā and (the ability to carry out) those deeds which You are pleased with. (Muslim)
9. Beseech Allāh S for your needs of this world and the Hereafter, as the du‘ā of a traveller is readily accepted by Allāh S. Similarly, dhikr of Allāh S whilst on a journey is more effective than dhikr carried out whilst at home, thus we should use the opportunity to regularly engage in dhikr too.
10. Return home as soon as the work or purpose is accomplished.
11. Whilst returning, especially from a religious journey like ‘Umrah or Hajj, frequently show gratitude to Allāh S for the good we were able to carry out and seek forgiveness for not being able to fulfil the rights of the journey according to the Wishes of Allāh S.
12. As per the Sunnah of our beloved Nabī s, upon returning, if possible, we should first go to the Masjid and perform two raka‘āt of Ṣalātul Qudūm before going home. This is like a thanksgiving to Allāh S for returning us home safely.
May Allāh S grant us the tawfīq to learn the beautiful teachings of our Dīn, remember them and practise upon them. May Allāh S grant us the tawfīq to inculcate the Islamic teachings with regards to journeys, and as a result make our journeys fruitful for both, our dunyā and ākhirah. Āmīn.
© Riyādul Jannah (Volume 31 Issue 7)