We love travelling at every chance we get, but being a Muslim traveller in these challenging times can be daunting, and that’s a fact we can’t deny. It is also difficult at times to write about travelling and seeing the world when new conflict situations seem to be occurring regularly. In spite of the odds that you might face on your journey, we’re here to encourage you to keep on exploring the world, no matter the circumstances.
1. Travelling gives hope
One of the first things to take a blow in times of crisis is the tourism industry. I travelled to Bali not long after the first bombing occurred, and to New Zealand a few months post the earthquake that hit Christchurch in 2011. On both occasions, the cities were like ghost towns – a shadow of its usually vibrant personalities. It was truly heartbreaking. Continuing to travel to destinations that have faced crisis not only helps to boost its economy, no matter on how small a scale, but also gives hope to those who live there – hope that their lives will resume to the way it was, hope that things will get better, and that their businesses can weather the storm.
2. Travelling connects us to the world 🌏
Fear, both of being in the middle of a crisis situation and of discrimination is very real (extra long checks at the airport, the trouble that comes with having a Muslim sounding name, discrimination when wearing the hijab, etc.), but if we keep on staying in the comforts of our homes, we would never be able to empathise with our brothers and sisters who are living these realities on a day to day basis.
We are a community of diverse ethnicities and cultures. Meeting Muslims from different backgrounds, other travellers and new people on our journeys creates a bond that connects us deeply. There are so many ways in which people can surprise us with their kindness towards others, if only we let them show it to us and show it to them in return.
3. Travelling is a responsibility
It is unfortunate that what is portrayed in mass media is usually a skewed perception of what Islam is and who Muslims are. It is now more important than ever to show the world what Islam truly is, that it is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness, empathy and so much more.
We cannot expect others to know what Islam is all about if we as Muslims do not demonstrate what a Muslim should be. The responsibility of learning beyond what is presented by the media lies not just with non-Muslims but even more so on us as well. We cannot blame others for not knowing when we do not take it upon ourselves to learn and educate. It is our responsibility to learn more about our religion ourselves, if we want people to view us in a positive light. There’s nothing like the experiences you gain when travelling that helps us to learn, broadens our perspectives and bridges gaps. Tolerance and respect needs to be cultivated both ways 💕
4. Travelling is part of Islam
We wouldn’t have guidance on how to travel and how to make things easier when travelling if it wasn’t a part of our religion. Stopping ourselves from seeing the world, even if it’s just locally, denies our ability to experience the flexibility that has been given to us, like being able to combine or shorten prayers.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) also encouraged knowledge seeking, and one of the best ways to do this is by seeing the world. There is a hadith reported by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) that says: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah makes the way to Jannah easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge.” [Muslim]. Knowledge is borderless and travelling is a great way to learn and experience new things. We can go to mosques in other countries, listen to lectures relevant to their society, and gain ideas on how to improve our communities back home 😊
5. Travel to help others
As with everything that we do, having the right intentions is always important. Our intentions to travel can be to learn something new, to spend quality time with loved ones, to enjoy the blessings in this world that God has given us, or it can also be about serving others. Now is the best time to volunteer yourself to any causes that speak to you.
By now, many know the story of Rayyan Haries, a Malaysian traveller who found himself volunteering to feed Syrian refugees on the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos. Mas Qistina Saharudin, author of Wachaa the Adventure wrote about her volunteer experiences in Kenya, where she taught English in a small Christian village when she was only 22 years old. There are wonderful individuals like these and so many more out there who are able and willing to travel and help the community wherever they are. If there were more Muslims stepping out of our comfort zones to reach out to others, wouldn’t the world be a better place? 😊 Sure, not everyone has the capacity to volunteer for weeks or months on end, but even the small gesture of helping someone carry their groceries across the road is a big help to someone else.
Being Muslim should open up your worldview, and we hope to keep inspiring you to keep travelling while holding on to your faith 💪
If you know of an inspiring traveller whom you would like us to feature in #HHWT Explorers or if you would like to share your experiences, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or a message through Facebook! We’d love to hear from you 😊