Introduction: Honoured Status Of A Traveller
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Three supplications are answered without doubt – the supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the parent for his son.” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud) If such be the lofty status of a traveller, it must only mean that travelling in Islam has a higher purpose. If that is so, we must exemplify some adab (etiquette) while travelling as a form of responsibility and accountability to ourselves, to those whom we leave behind and to those whom we will meet on our journeys. This is to ensure that Allah’s Blessings accompany us throughout.
In this small effort, surely we cannot exhaustively list all the adabs and etiquettes of a traveller, but suffice for us to share some practical tips with you.
Do note that this is an opinion piece by Uztad Saif-ur-Rahman (Alchemy of Hippie-ness).
Etiquette #1: Fulfill All Your Responsibilities Before You Travel
Before embarking on your journey, ensure that all your responsibilities are fulfilled until the day you return. This could be in the form of any outstanding debt you may owe to someone, or any outstanding job at work that needs to be completed while you are away, or for students who have any assignments and homework due while they are away. Importantly for parents, to ensure that they leave behind enough sustenance for those under their charge while they are away.
The point is, do not make your absence of travel be an excuse for you to escape your responsibilities. It will not only affect your reputation personally but also the reputation of Islam.
Etiquette #2: Intent And Purpose Must Not Be Blameworthy
Generally, as in any deeds in Islam, ensure that the intent and purpose of your travel is not blameworthy. When travelling, do not find loopholes for doing things that are otherwise prohibited when you are not travelling, such as smoking weed.
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Etiquette #3: Do Not Be Extravagant In Your Preparations And Expenses
In line with establishing proper intention, we advise you not to be extravagant in your preparations. From our experience, we find some travellers spent an unnecessary amount of expenses on new luggage, clothing and the like for each of their travels. Such excesses are not limited to only quality but also quantity. For example, by bringing a large-sized suitcase when a medium-sized one is sufficient. This will also help you to curb from unnecessary shopping spree expenditures.
Etiquette #4: Seek Blessings And Forgiveness. Bid Family Members Farewell
It might seem cliché but it is important before you travel to ask for blessings and forgiveness from your parents, your spouse, your children or anyone who is responsible for you. While seeking the blessings of Allah is paramount, the blessings and prayers of those who are close to you are equally important.
Even on a daily basis, do not leave your home unannounced as you may meet with your death along the way. On the day of your departure, it is also important to bid your family and loved ones farewell.
Etiquette #5: Recite Doa For Protection
As you leave your house, step out the door with your right feet first and take heed of the following:
“If you recite ‘Bismillāh, tawakkaltu ‘ala Allāh, wa lā ḥaula wa lā quwwata illā billāh’ (In the name of Allah, I seek help from Allah, there is no strength nor means but with Allah) while leaving the house, then you will be told: ‘You are protected and saved. The Satan will leave you’” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)
Etiquette #6: Appoint A Leader
If you travel in a group, you should appoint a leader from amongst you. This does not distract from consensus decision-making, but it is to facilitate and provide leadership during your travel. Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet as saying: “When three persons set out on a journey, they should appoint one of them as their leader.” (Abu Dawud)
Etiquette #7: Prior Preparation
We advise that you to do some homework on the places that you will be visiting so that you can maximize your benefits. Some recommendations would be to read up a little of the history of your destination, find out which currency you will need (transits included), plug adapters and the prayer times. All this will take unnecessary stress away from your travels.
Etiquette #8: Perform 2 Raka’ah Of Sunnah Musafir
Before you leave the house, you are also encouraged to perform 2 raka’ah of Sunnah Musafir. At the end of it, you can recite whatever doa you wish in your own language.
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In addition, you may also recite the following: “Allahumma inni ataqorrabu bihinna ilaika fakh lifni fi ahli wa maali (O Allah! Verily I am near myself to you with this 2 rakaat of prayers. Replace it thus by watching over my family and my property)”
Etiquette #9: Be In A State Of Ablution
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Another advantage after performing Sunnah Musafir is that you will leave your house in a state of ablution. There are many merits to always be in a state of ablution, but on a more practical note, it would make it easier for you to re-perform ablution during your journey, particularly with limited water, when you have started the trip with an already valid ablution.
Etiquette #10: Doa For Protection When Visiting A New Place
Khaulah bint Hakim reported that the Prophet said: “Whosoever alights somewhere and says: ‘A’udhu bikalimatil laahit tammati min sharri maa khalaq (I seek refuge with the Perfect Words of Allah from the evil of what He has created), nothing will harm him until he leaves that place.” (Muslim) So we urge you to memorize and recite this whenever you go to a new place and may you be protected by Allah.
Etiquette #11: Behave And Dress Modestly
We also advise travellers to dress and behave modestly when they travel. It is not only out of respect for the place and people that you visit, but it is to maintain our personal duty to Allah. Avoid comparisons and claiming that only Singapore is the best. Avoid commenting that things are cheaper and worst off in the places that you visit. If you do so, you will never expand your horizons and it will curb your learning process. You will also lack appreciation of the diversity in Allah’s Creations.
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Always remember that wherever you go and to whomever you speak, you are always an Ambassador of Islam, whether you are conscious of the fact. Be at your best!
Etiquette #12: Buy Gifts Or Souvenirs
A final note on Adab: whenever possible, buy some gifts or souvenirs for your family members, close friends or colleagues who have to cover your absence at work. It represents a warm gesture of goodwill of your appreciation for them.
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The Prophet said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love for one another.” (Bukhari)
This post was written by guest blogger, Uztaz Saif-ur-Rahman, the director of Alchemy of Travel Pte Ltd. Find him online at: