Knowledge is borderless and the best way to learn and experience new things is through travelling which is why Islam highly encourages travelling in search of knowledge! ? However, it's not easy being a Muslim traveller and we often come across difficult situations that slow us down or challenge our faith and patience. There’s no better way to bond than through relating to one another, so here are 12 things all Muslim travellers can relate to!
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1. Looking for a prayer space
Finding prayer spaces in countries or cities that don’t typically cater to Muslims can be tricky. If you’re out and about in shopping districts and malls, you’ll have to find a quiet area to get your prayers done! We’ve even heard from our followers that some of them often use changing rooms to perform their prayers. ? Though as travellers, we found that the highest chances of finding a prayer space is probably at the airport if you’re lucky!
2. Feeling relieved when you find a bidet
We know a good bidet when we feel one! ? Everyone knows that washing yourself with water is the cleanest way to get things done and once you’ve experienced a bidet, you probably aren’t too keen on simply using toilet paper. But when there’s a bidet, you need toilet paper to dry yourself too. Find yourself a toilet that provides both and you’ll be feeling relieved (no pun intended).
P.S. Check out these portable bidets to make your travels more comfortable!
3. Explaining what ‘halal’ means to non-Muslims
The definition of halal differs from person to person as it does from region to region. Sometimes when you’re asking someone (who may be a non-Muslim) for halal food places in the area, they might show you to a place that only serves chicken and beef without pork. When halal food is concerned, it's hard to explain that the meat needs to be slaughtered in a specific way for non-Muslims to understand. ?
4. Bringing instant food from home
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Whether you’re a fan of instant food or not, you might not even have a choice while travelling. ? Everyone we've asked about this has had a similar experience but the food they take with them is very different! Our writer tells us she brings Yeo’s halal canned curry while our product manager recommends Kembara Meals - an instant packet rice meal (there’s Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang, Lamb Kuzi with Hujan Panas Rice and more!). #NotSponsored
But the best part about bringing food is that once it’s all finished, you’ll have plenty of room in your luggage at the end of your trip to pack souvenirs! There’s no need to pay extra for more baggage allowance.
5. Double-checking if a certain product is halal
We’re all guilty of this, but if the item we’re trying to buy doesn’t promise us it’s halal or at least Muslim-friendly, it’s going back on the shelf. This is especially so when shopping for food souvenirs. If we’re buying items for friends and family, then we’re likely to be more careful when purchasing food as gifts. ? You can also use applications to check for halal products like Shukran which lets you simply scan barcodes to get confirmation that a product is halal!
6. Packing chilli sauce packets
When someone says, “You need some spice in your life!” Muslim travellers take that very seriously. When travelling to European countries, the thing you need to help make certain foods more palatable is chilli sauce. ? Unless you’re willing to carry a bottle of chilli sauce, these little packets of chilli are priceless and can come in handy whenever you need a little extra kick to your meals. From french fries to chicken pies, it’s all you need.
7. Taking wudu in public toilets
Have you ever shyly taken wudu in a public toilet sink while having people curiously watch what you’re doing? Chances are that you have! Most public toilets aren’t very Muslim-friendly because they don’t have water taps for washing your feet. It’s a little scary to be taking wudu and have people wonder what you’re doing too. However, there is a modern solution for washing your feet and that’s Takva’s Wudhu Socks!
8. Using a qibla finder in hotel rooms
Not all hotels provide a convenient ceiling sticker to indicate the direction of the qiblah. Ask any Muslim traveller and you’re bound to find someone with a qibla finder application on their phone! Unless you’re good at reading compasses, this is the fastest way to find out which direction to face while praying.
9. Being judged for wearing a hijab
Our hijabi readers and colleagues can testify. It’s hard travelling, especially when you look outwardly Muslim. People are not the kindest when they see a lady in a hijab and unfortunately, some of us have experienced uncomfortable and awkward situations during our trips. All we can do is remain strong and resilient against the comments and stares of the public! Remind yourself that you’re travelling for knowledge and experience! ??
10. Getting extra pat downs at the airport
Here’s another uncomfortable experience. With news of Muslims terrorising nations and the innocent, it’s no surprise that airport security is a little more harsh on those of us who look outwardly Muslim. ? We get profiled the second we enter the airport and when we’re going through security, we might even get a little more than we bargained for - extra pat downs at the airport.
11. Booking accommodations with private facilities
If there’s something Muslim travellers appreciate, its privacy. Private pools, private backyards, private onsens, you name it! ? When travelling with family, we often look for accommodations that offer private facilities. Sometimes it's for modesty purposes, other times it's just to enjoy some alone time with our loved ones!
12. Travelling while fasting
This is one that most of us have experienced at least once in our lives - travelling while fasting. Many scholars have differing opinions on whether or not it is permissible to break your fast while travelling. However, for some of us who are a little more cautious, we may keep fasting while travelling to destinations closer to home. Nonetheless, the experience is rather unique and rewarding when you get to take that first sip of water at breakfast.
It’s quite entertaining to look back at all the difficult and frustrating times while travelling as a Muslim! ? These experiences are the reason why we become more knowledgeable and better prepared for the next journey. Not everything can be easily solved but through patience and persistence, we can overcome any hardships.