What are the travel manners in islam? What are etiquettes of travelling?
Believer’s travel is similar to merchant marketing merchandise. Just like a travelling salesperson commercializes his product to his clients in every place he goes, a believer always aims to earn spiritual rewards by doing good deeds and giving charity. His only object is and will always be to gain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty in every place he has been before and he travels in the future.
For example we, as Muslims, put our trust in Allah and pray Him during our journeys and thus earn spiritual rewards. We shorten our ritual prayers and benefit from the facilities which we are allowed to use during our journey, but we still earn spiritual rewards. We visit the tombs of Muslim scholars and the friends of Allah, contemplate about their good deeds, life and death, and thus earn spiritual rewards. If there is any scholar, or relatives, or friends living in the cities we stop by, we visit them for the sake of Allah and thus earn spiritual rewards. We observe and take lessons from the memories of the earlier nations that lived in the places we visit. We watch the scenery during our journey and think about greatness of the power and the art of our Lord and make spiritual profit.
The students who travel to learn Islam from the Muslim scholars collect rewards for every step they take and enrich their spiritual world. Even a tradesman who travels just to sell goods and make profit with the intention to spend part of his earnings for the sake of Allah will have done a praiseworthy deed.
To what we pay attention during our journeys?
Allah the Almighty says that:
“…Say: Travel in the earth and see how He makes the first creation, then Allah creates the latter creation; surely Allah has power over all things.” (al-Ankabut, 29: 20)
“…Say: Travel in the land, then see what was the end of the rejecters.” (al-An’am, 6: 11)
We travel with good intentions so that our journey turns into an act of worship.
If it is possible we set out for our journey on Thursday as our Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- used to do. Mondays and Saturdays can also be chosen.
Before we set out for a journey, we learn from the books of Islamic law how to perform our acts of worship (for instance ritual prayers, fasting, or wiping over the socks while performing ablution etc.) during a journey.
In order to get the most out of our journey and our time, we set out for a journey early in the morning, for our beloved Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- prayed saying that “O Allah, bless my people in their early mornings!” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 78)
We do not go out for a journey alone and at night as much as possible. Instead we would prefer travelling with some company.
Upon our Prophet’s advice, if we are travelling along with at least two other people, we choose one of us as our leader to obey his rules.
During long journeys, we choose the safest place if we need camping at night.
We do not make unnecessary stops and hang around.
Because our Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- counted “the invocation of a traveler” among the prayers which will not be refused by Allah the Almighty, we say as many prayers as possible for our family, relatives, friends, and for the entire nation of believers during our journey.
We stop and help those who are experiencing troubles and cannot continue their journey for some reason so that they can continue to travel.
If we have enough space in our vehicle, we offer a ride to our brothers and sisters in Islam whom we come across on our way and who do not have a vehicle.
If one of our travel mates gets sick or tired, we wait for him/her and help him/her to get the necessary medical attention.
We chat with our friends travelling with us whenever we get a chance. And we also help the elderly travelers when it is needed (such as to carry their luggage, and to hold their hands etc.)
We treat our travel mates with patience, compassion, and generosity. We do not tell them such things which may upset them. We especially stay away from actions which may lead to arguments.
We do not make bothersome noises and avoid disturbing behavior especially when we travel with a group of people.
In public transportation vehicles, we give our seat to senior citizens, the old, the sick, the pregnant women, and to those who are very tired in order to make them comfortable.
When we travel in public transportation vehicles, we do not eat or carry foods and drinks which may disturb others with their smell.
When we come back from our journey, we bring gifts to our family, friends, and to our respected teachers even if it is something small and cheap. Because this was our beloved Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- ‘s custom.
When returning from long journeys, we thank Allah the Almighty for bestowing us a healthy trip and allowing us come back to our home and family safe and sound by performing a two-cycle prayer of gratitude.
Our beloved Prophet -peace be upon him- used to recite the following verse from the Holy Qur’an when he was getting on his ride for the journey:
“…in the Name of Allah will be its moving course and its resting (of this animal I am riding). Surely, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Hud, 11: 41)
After he settled on his ride, he would say “Allahu Akbar” three times and then recite the following verses:
“And Who has created all the pairs and has appointed for you ships and cattle on which you ride, that you may be seated on their backs and then remember your Lord’s blessing when you are seated on them, and say, ‘Glory be to Him, who has subjected this to us, and we ourselves were not equal to it.” (al-Zuhruf, 13: 12-13.)
An Exemplary Journey
Full moon reflected on the desert sand and the night opened its gates to its sacred travelers with all its desolateness and tranquility. The companions were resting after a long and tiring journey under the burning desert sun. Then the caravan’s watchman returned and brought back the Prophet’s commands.
Our beloved Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- gave the following commands:
- Allow your camels and horses to graze when you travel through places with abundant grass,
- Ride your camels fast in order to keep their strength and to arrive the destination as soon as possible when you travel through arid and infertile places, (Muslim, Imarat, 178)
- When you intend to encamp at night, keep away from the road and set up your camp on the roadside,
- Unload your mounts and let them rest,
- Allah the Almighty loves leniency and understanding so treat your animals leniently.
That night the companions rested in accordance with the Prophet’s orders. The following day they camped at some place on their way. They scattered and each one of them encamped in different glens and valleys. So the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- said:
“Your scattering in these glens and wadis is only of the devil.” They afterwards kept close together when they encamped and never scattered. (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 97)
“In that journey our beloved Prophet waited until morning and then returned to Medina. As soon as he entered the city, the first thing he did was to go to the mosque and perform a two-cycle prayer. He thanked his Lord.” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 79)
When he arrived his home, he had nice gifts in his bag for the members of his family. (Narrated based on the sayings of the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- eported in the related sources.)