Etiquettes of traveling
Praise be to Allah the Lord of all the Worlds, and peace be upon our Prophet
Muhammad, his family, and his Companions.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Traveling is a kind of torture, as it prevents one from sleeping and eating! So when one has finished his job, he should return quickly to his family." [Reported by Al Bukhari Muslim].
From the etiquettes of travel:
1- Desirability of seeing off a traveler:
It is desirable for a traveler to see off his family, kinship and Muslim brothers. Ibn `Abdul-Bar said: When someone of you go on a journey, he should see off his Muslim brothers because Allah shall make their supplications a blessing (for him). He said: Ash-Sha`by said: It is part of the Sunnah if someone comes from a journey, his Muslim brothers come to greet him. If he is going on a journey, they have to come to see him off and benefit from their supplications. There is another abandoned Sunnah in seeing off a traveler which only few people do which is seeing off a traveler with the supplications reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Qaz`ah reported: Ibn `Umar said to me: Come so that I can see you off as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saw me off: "I am entrusting to God your religion and your trust and the end of your actions." [Reported by Abu Dawud].
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: a man wanted to travel, so he came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and said: "O Messenger of Allah, advise me. He (the Messenger of Allah) said: I advise you to fear Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) and say, "Allah Akbar" [Allah is the Greatest] on each high place. When he went, he (the Messenger of Allah) said: "O Allah, make the distance short for him, and make his journey easy for him." [Reported by Al Baghawy].
Undesirability of traveling alone: Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If the people knew what I know about traveling alone, then nobody would travel alone at night." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
The Hadith is full of benefits:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not inform his nation about the harms that take place as a result of a person's traveling alone. This is a kind of exaggeration to warn his nation against traveling alone.
Second, prohibition includes traveling during daytime or at night but he only mentioned night in the Hadith because it contains more harms and bigger dangers.
Third, prohibition includes the one who travels on mounts and the one who travels on foot. Perhaps the meaning of the Prophet's saying: "nobody would travel alone at night" that he meant the most cases, the one who travels on foot takes the same ruling of the one who travels on a mount. And Allah knows best!
There is another Hadith in the same context of forbidding traveling alone which is the Hadith of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "A single rider is a devil, and a pair of riders are a pair of devils, but three are a company of riders." [Reported by Abu Dawud].
3- Desirability of assigning a commander during travel if the travelers are three or more:
Shari`ah called for, urged to, and exhorted to staying in groups and not to be alone. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudry (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "When three are on a journey, they should appoint one of them as their commander." [Reported by Abu Dawud]. When travel was one of the things that combine people, it was made desirable for travelers -who are three or more- to assign a commander for them to lead them and command them with things which are useful for them. They have to obey that commander as long as he does not command them with disobeying Allah. If they do so, their words will be united and their hearts will be combined and thereby they will fulfill their needs without any troubles in between. The Prophet's exhortation to assigning a commander for travelers who are three (or more) is a reference to the Great Gathering, And Allah knows best!
4- The prohibition of taking dogs and bells during travel:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) prohibited people from taking dogs and bells in their journeys. Abu Hurayrah reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: "Angels do not accompany the travelers who have with them a dog and a bell." [Reported by Muslim].
The reason of prohibiting bells is: they are the instruments of Satan. This was mentioned in the Hadith which Imam Muslim and others reported from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah who narrated: The Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: "The bell is the musical instrument of the Satan." [Reported by Muslim].
5- Forbidding women to travel without Mahram (spouse or unmarriageable relative):
The purified Shari`ah forbade a woman to travel without Mahram because of the sedition that may cause to other men. The reported Hadiths in this regard are authentic and there is no room for calling them weak or interpreting them. Al Bukhari, Muslim, and others reported from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel for one day and night except with a Mahram." The wordings of Hadith Muslim are: "It is not lawful for a Muslim woman to travel for one night journey except when there is a Mahram with her." [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim]. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: "It is not permissible for a man to be alone with a woman, and no lady should travel except with a Muhram (i.e. her husband or a person whom she cannot marry in any case for ever; e.g. her father, brother, etc.)." Then a man got up and said: "O Allah's Messenger! I have enlisted in the army for such-and-such Ghazwa and my wife is proceeding for Hajj." Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Go, and perform the Hajj with your wife." [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim]. As you can see, the prohibition is clear in forbidding women from traveling for a day and a night without Mahram whether that Mahram is a husband, a father, a son, a brother, or any of her unmarriageable relatives. Moreover, the command of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the person who enlisted his name in the battle to go and join his wife in Hajj is a hard evidence to the prohibition of women's traveling without Mahram. An-Nawawy said: The Hadith contains arrangement of important matters because when the participation in battles was in contradictory with going to Hajj with one's wife, the Prophet overbalanced Hajj because participating in battles was opened for everyone but it was not the case in regard of going with his wife for Hajj. [Commentary on Sahih Muslim].
6- Desirability of traveling on Thursday morning:
From the Prophet's Sunnah during his journeys is: he loved to travel on Thursday morning. Ka`b ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) set out on Thursday for the Battle of Tabuk and he used to prefer to set out (i.e. travel) on Thursdays. [Reported by Al Bukhari]. Imam Ahmad reported: "Say that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) never set out for journeys - if he wanted to travel- except on Thursaday." Sakhr Al Ghamidy (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "O Allah, bless my people in their early mornings." When he sent out a detachment or an army, he sent them at the beginning of the day." Sakhr was a merchant, and he would send off his merchandise at the beginning of the day; and he became rich and had much wealth. [Reported by Abu Dawud].
Question: What is the ruling on traveling on Friday?
The answer is: The view of our Madhhab [the Hanbali school of Fiqh] is: It is not permissible for a person to travel after the decline of the sun. If it is said: what about traveling after Adhan (call for Salah) of Friday Salah, it will not be permissible either because Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) commanded people to go to Friday Salah after Adhan and abandoned trade (in that time), so he connected forbiddance with Adhan. Allah (May He be Exalted) says: "O you who believe (Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salât (Salah) on Friday (Jumu‘ah Salah), come to the remembrance of Allâh [Jumu‘ah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salât (Salah)] and leave off business (and every other thing). That is better for you if you did but know!" [Surat Al Jumu`ah: 9]. However, it is said: the decline of the sun is the reason for the establishing the Friday Salah, by declining, the time of Salah has come. [Ash-sharh Al Mumti` by Ibn `Uthaymain].
7- Supplications and Adhkar (invocations and Remembrances said at certain times on a regular basis) to be said during travel:
The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is full of supplications and Adhkar which a traveler says since he rides his mount until he gets back home, of which:
A- Supplications for riding the mount of travel:
`Ali ibn Rabi`ah said: I saw Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) pulling a mount to ride. When he placed his foot in the saddle, he said: "Al Hamdulilah" (praise be to Allah). Then he said: "In order that you may mount on their backs, and then may remember the Favor of your Lord when you mount thereon, and say: “Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could have never had it (by our efforts). (13) And verily, to our Lord we indeed are to return!” [Surat Az-Zukhruf: 13-14]. Then he said: "Al Hamdulillah" (praise be to Allah) three times. Then he said: "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is the greatest) three times. Then he said: "Allahumma inni zalumtu nafsi faghfirli fainnahu la Yaghfiruz-Zunuba Illa Ant" (O Allah! I have wronged myself, so forgive my sins for none can forgive sins but You." Then he laughed. It was said to him: O commander of the believers, what made you laugh? He said: I saw the Messenger of Allah did as I did then he laughed. Thereupon, I asked him: O Messenger of Allah, what made you laugh? He answered: "Your Lord (Glory be to Him) is pleased when His Servant seeks His Forgiveness. He (the servant) has firm faith that none except Allah Alone can forgive sins)." [Reported by Abu Dawud and Al Albany graded it as authentic].
B- From the Prophet's supplications also upon his journey and after his return is:
Ibn `Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that whenever Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) mounted his camel while setting out on a journey, he glorified Allah (uttered Allahu Akbar) thrice, and then said: “Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could have never had it (by our efforts). (13) And verily, to our Lord we indeed are to return!” [Surat Az-Zukhruf: 13-14]. O Allah, we seek virtue and piety from Thee in this journey of ours and the act which pleases Him. O Allah, lighten this journey of ours, and make its distance easy for us. O Allah, You art (our) companion during the journey, and guardian of (our) family. O Allah, I seek refuge with Him from hardships of the journey, gloominess of the sights, and finding of evil changes in property and family on return. And he (the Holy Prophet) uttered (these words), and made this addition to them: We are returning, repentant, worshipping our Lord, and praising Him. [Reported by Muslim].
`Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: Whenever Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) returned from a battle, Hajj or ‘Umrah, he used to say Takbir thrice at every high palce of the ground and then would say, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah; He is One and has no partner. All the kingdoms is for Him, and all the praises are for Him, and He is Omnipotent. We are returning with repentance, worshipping, prostrating, and praising our Lord. He has kept up His promise and made His slave victorious, and He Alone defeated all the clans of (non-believers)." [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].
C- Saying Adhkar upon going up or coming down in valleys:
`Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated at that end of his previous Hadith: The Prophet (peace be upon him) and his armies said: "Allah is Most Great" when they went up to high ground; and when armies said: "Allah is most Great" when they went up to high ground; and when they descended, they said: "Glory be to Allah." So the Salah was patterned on that. [Reported by Abu Dawud and Al Albany graded it as authentic].
D- Supplications to be said upon entering a village or cities:
Ibn Al Qayyim said: "When the Prophet was about to enter a village, he used to say: “O Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and what they shade, Lord of the seven earths and what they carry, Lord of the satans and those that they misguide, Lord of the winds and what they blow away, I ask of You for the good of this city and the good of its inhabitants and the good of what is in it. I seek refuge in You from its evil and the evil of its inhabitants and the evil of what is in it.” [Al Hakim graded it as authentic and Adh-Dhahaby did too].
E- What is desirable for a traveler to say at night?
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that when Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) set out on a journey in the morning, he used to say: "A listener listened to our praising Allah (for) His goodly trial of us. Our Lord! Accompany us, guard us and bestow upon us Thy grace. I am seeker of refuge in Allah from the Fire." [Reported by Muslim].
A benefit: A traveler should take advantage of his journey and supplicate for himself, his parents, his family, and to those whom he loves. He should exert his best efforts to invoke Allah with inclusive supplications and with persistence and submission. A traveler has an answered supplication which he should take advantage of. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Three supplications are answered, there being no doubt about them; that of a father, that of a traveler and that of one who has been wronged." [Reported by Abu Dawud and Al Abany graded it as good].
8- Offering voluntary Salah during the journey:
Of the abandoned Sunnah is offering voluntary Salah on mounts. So, you should advise anyone you know to offer voluntary or Witr Salah (Salah with odd number of Ruku`) in planes or other transportations. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do that on his mount. It is not obligatory to direct your face to the Qiblah (direction of Salah to Makkah) while offering the voluntary Salah on the mount because it will be difficult to the traveler. However, it is better to direct your face to the Qiblah at the time of commencing Salah. Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet used to offer voluntary Salah on his mount facing its direction by signals, but not the compulsory Salah. He also used to offer Witr on his mount. [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].
Therefore, it is permissible for a traveler to offer voluntary and Witr Salah on the mount or in the transportation as the Prophet (peace be upon him) did.
Question: Is it permissible for travelers to perform the obligatory Salah (Salahs) in cars, trains, planes, or when riding, if they fear for their lives or wealth? Should a traveler perform Salah in whatever direction he is traveling or is it obligatory to face the Qiblah (direction faced for Salah towards the Ka`bah)?
The Answer: the Permanent Committee answered a similar question with the following: When people are traveling in a car, train, plane, or riding and fear for their lives if they leave their means of transport to perform the obligatory Salah and know that if they delay Salah until they reach where they can perform it that the time will have ended, they should perform it as far as possible, according to the general meaning of what Allah (Exalted be He) says: "Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope." [Surat Al Baqarah: 286]. And what He (Exalted be He) also says: "So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can." [Surat Al Taghabun: 16]. "and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship." [Surat Al Hajj: 78]. As to whether Salah can be performed in the abovementioned means of transport regardless of the direction of Qiblah or facing the Qiblah is continually a must, or just at the beginning, it depends on the possibility of doing so. If it is possible to face the Qiblah throughout the Salah, it is obligatory to do so, as it is a condition for the validity of the obligatory Salah, both during travel and residence. However, if it is not possible to do so, those performing the Salah should fear Allah as much as they can due to the previously mentioned evidences. [Fatwas of the Permanent Committee].
9- Supplications to be said when a person takes a rest:
A traveler needs to get off for sleep, eating, and relieving himself. Wilderness is full of vermin, beasts, and devils, so from the favors of Allah upon us that He permitted for us on the tongue of His Prophet (peace be upon him) a supplication to be said to protect us against the evil of all creatures. Khaula bint Hakim Sulamiyya reported: I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: "When anyone lands at a place, and then says: "I seek refuge in the Perfect Word of Allah from the evil of what He has created," nothing would harm him until he marches from that stopping place." [Reported by Muslim].
The Hadith contains many benefits, of which are: This supplication is to be said when arriving at a place or staying in, not only for getting off a mount. The speech of Allah is part of Him (Glory be to Him) and one of His Attributes. It is not created because it is impossible to seek help of a creature; this is the view of Ahl As-Sunnah (the people who follow the Sunnah of the Prophet) as said by Ibn `Abdulbarr. The one who says this supplication when getting off a mount is protected by Allah, so nothing will harm him until he leaves his place.
10. Desirability of gathering when getting off and upon eating:
Allah placed strength, determination, protection, and blessings in holding together, and placed weakness, feebleness, the power of enemies over us, and taking away blessings in separation. When people travel together, it is desirable for them to gather in one place and to spend the night in one place, likewise, in their eating so that they can get the blessings. As for gathering at getting off, Abu Tha`labah Al-Khushany (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Whenever the people encamped during the journey, they would disperse in the mountain passes and valleys. (When) the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) noticed this he said: "Your act of scattering in the mountain passes and valleys is from Satan." Afterwards the Companions kept close together whenever they encamped. [Reported by Abu Dawud, and Al Albany graded it as authentic].
Meeting for food increases blessings. Wahshy ibn Harb (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Some of the Companions of Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "We eat but are not satisfied.'' He (peace be upon him) said, "Perhaps you eat separately.'' The Companions replied in affirmative. He then said: "Eat together and mention the Name of Allah over your food. It will be blessed for you.'' [Reported by Abu Dawud, and Al Albany graded it as good].
11. Taking a nap during travel:
A traveler in wild roads may need to have some rest because of the hardship of travel. When the duty of the purified Shari`ah is to urge people to their —sooner or later— benefit, it was its duty to guide a traveler to the place where he can find some rest without being harmed by vermin and beasts. Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "When you travel through green and lush land, give the camels their due from the ground, and when you travel through a dry and barren land, make them walk quickly lest their strength falters. When you encamp at night, keep away from the roads, for beasts pass there and they are the resort of insects at night.'' [Reported by Muslim]. An-Nawawy said: (This is one of the etiquettes of traveling and staying to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) guided because poisonous insects and beasts walk at night on roads because it is easy for them. They also find there their food such as dead animals. So, when a traveler spends the night in these wild roads, perhaps something of these may harm him, so he must avoid sleeping in these roads). [The commentary of Sahih Muslim].
Whenever a traveler wants to sleep, he has to take actions so that he can catch the Fajr Salah; these means are now available —thanks to Allah— at lowest prices. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take actions for that. Abu Hurayrah reported that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) returned from the expedition to Khaybar, he traveled one night, and stopped for rest when he became sleepy. He told Bilal to remain on guard during the night. [Reported by Muslim]. An-Nasa’y and Ahmad reported from the narration of Jubayr ibn Mat`am (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said in one of his journeys: “Who will guard us tonight so that we do not miss the Fajr Salah?” Bilal said: I am.
Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) encamped at night during a journey, he would lie down on his right side, and when he stayed a little before dawn he would raise his forearm and place his head on the palm of his hand.” [Reported by Muslim].
12- Desirability of returning home after fulfilling a traveler’s need without staying long time:
It is recommended for a traveler to return home quickly after fulfilling his needs without staying for long time. The Prophet (peace be upon him) guided the people to do so. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Traveling is a torment because it deprives a traveler of his food, drink and sleep. So when one of you has accomplished his purpose of journey, let him return home quickly.'' [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim]. Ibn Hajar said: (The Hadith indicates repugnance of being away from one’s family without need and desirability of returning quickly, especially for the people who may be harmed by his long stay. Moreover, staying with one’s family provides him comfort to maintain his religion, worldly affairs, and establishing Salah in congregation as well as getting help for maintaining the acts of worship.) [Fath Al Bary].
13- Undesirability of returning home at night (after a long journey):
Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade a traveler to return home at night.”
Imam Muslim reported: “If one of you comes (back from a journey) at night. he should not enter his house as a night visitor (but should wait) until a woman whose husband has been away from house has removed the hair from her private parts and a woman with dishevelled hair has combed her hair.” Jabir narrated: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade that traveler would return home at night doubting their fidelity or spying into their lapses.” [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].
So, a traveler should not return home at night so that he would not see his wife in bad shape. An-Nawawy said: (It is undesirable for the one who has been in a long journey to return home at night suddenly. As if he has been in short journey and his wife expects him at night, there is no harm to return at night as he stated in one of the narrations: "if a person has been in long journey." If a person is on journey, battlefield, or something like that, his arrival was announced, and his wife and family knew about his arrival, there is no harm to return home whenever he likes because the reason of prohibition was removed. The meaning is that his family gets ready to receive him and this was done because he did not come suddenly.) [Commentary on Sahih Muslim]. I say: it is the same case if they knew about his arrival through communication devices and so on.
14- Desirability of offering two (voluntary) Rak`ah in the Masjid upon returning home:
When he came from a journey, he used to offer two Rak`ahs in the Masjid. Ka`b ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “Whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) returned from a journey in the forenoon, he would enter the Mosque and offer two Rak‘ahs before sitting.” [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].
This is one of the abandoned Sunnah that only few people apply. O Allah, we ask You to support us in following the Sunnah of Your Prophet outwardly and inwardly. May Allah grant us success!
And Allah knows best! Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions. The last of our supplications is Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.