Safar (travel) linguistically means leaving the residence, and is called that because when a person comes out of his house, he becomes apparent (visible) to others, instead of being hidden.

It is said that Safar (travel) is called that because it shows (reveals) the characters of the people.

If anyone praised another person in the presence of ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), he (‘Umar) (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) would say to him: “Did you travel with him? Did you deal with him?” If the man answered in the affirmative, ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) would accept that from him and if the man answered with “No”, then ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) would say: “You have no knowledge of him.” [Al-Baihaqi and authenticated by al-Albaani in Irwaa al-Ghaleel no. 2637]

Types of Safar

Safar (travel) is of three types: dispraised, praised, and allowed.

1. Dispraised travel:

It is travel which involves disobedience to Allaah, such as: the travel of a woman alone without a Mahram (the husband or any other relative to whom she is prohibited to marry), or travel to commit sins and evil deeds (e.g. any kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.). Dispraised travel includes travelling without the permission of the parents (or the husband) or travelling to or from a land of plague.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: If you hear of the prevalence of plague in a land, do not go there; and if it (plague) breaks out in a land where you happen to be, do not run away from there.” [Agreed upon]. Of the disliked travel is to travel alone.

 2. Praised travel:

It is travel which is for seeking Allaah’s pleasure, and is divided into:

a) obligatory travel, such as travelling to perform Hajj (for the first time), or traveling to acquire knowledge which is obligatory on every Muslim. Many of our Predecessors (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to travel to acquire knowledge as mentioned by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi in his book “Ar-Rihla fee Talab al-Hadeeth.”

b) Desirable travel: to set out on a journey for visiting the three mosques, i.e. Al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah), Masjid al-Nabawi (the mosque of Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in Madinah), and Masjid al-Aqsa, (in Jerusalem). This also includes visiting the ‘Ulama’ (scholars) to adopt their manners and morals and to benefit from their knowledge.

3. Allowable travel:

It is travel for earning one’s livelihood and wealth so that one will be able to abstain from begging or asking others. Travelling for employment is sometime necessary to make one self-sufficient, thereby protecting one’s family. Spending on them and using the remainder or excess is a charity. If one has this intention then the allowable travel is converted into desirable travel (one will be rewarded for it), according to the statement of the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “The reward of deeds depends upon the intention.” [Al-Bukhaari]

Another kind of allowable travel is travelling for amusement or rest and recuperation. As long as it is within the boundaries that Allaah (Azza wa Jall) has ordained and allowed for His slaves, it is allowed. If the intention behind one’s travel is to regain energy and strength for doing good deeds, then one will be rewarded for that (travel).

Shaikh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) said: “If looking at trees, horses and cattle is in the manner of admiration of life, leadership, or wealth, then it is dispraised, because Allaah (Ta’ala) said in Surat Ta-Ha (20:131):

And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah), the splendor of the life of this world, that We may test them thereby. But the provision (good reward in the Hereafter) of your Lord is better and more lasting.

If it is in a way which will not harm one’s religion, and therein is only self rest, such as looking at the flowers, i.e., for enjoyment, then this is a kind of falsehood which is used against truth.” [Mukhtasar al-Fatawa al-Masriyyah]

Moreover, a tour or journey which is devoid of any intention or aim (goal) is a waste of time, a distraction of the heart, an exertion (straining) of the body, and it is not free of extravagance in spending money.

Imaam Ahmad (Rahimahullaah) said: “Going on a journey, or taking a tour is not part of Islam, nor was it practiced by the Prophets or the righteous people. Travelling should be for acquiring knowledge or to meet a Shaikh (scholar) to follow or learn from him because travelling distracts the heart.” [Adaab Shar’iyyah by Ibn Muflih]

Abu Umamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that a man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, allow me to go to travel.” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, the travel (that is ordained) for my Ummah is Jihad (to go and fight) for Allaah’s Cause.” [Abu Dawoud and al-Hakim with a correct Isnad]

The Etiquette of Travelling

1- One should perform Istikharah (i.e., perform the Istikharah prayer to consult with Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) and seek His help and guidance as to the best of two matters.

اللهم إني أستخيرك بعلمك، وأستقدرك بقدرتك، وأسألك من فضلك العظيم، فإنك تقدر ولا أقدر، وتعلم ولا أعلم، وأنت علام الغيوب. اللهم إن كنت تعلم أن هذا  الأمر خير لي، في ديني ومعاشي وعاقبة أمري، أو قال: في عاجل أمري وآجله، فاصرفه عني واصرفني عنه، واقدر لي الخير حيث كان، ثم أرضني به

O Allaah! I consult You as You are All-Knowing, and I appeal to You to give me strength as You are Omnipotent, and I ask You for Your Great Favor, for You have power, but I do not, and You know all hidden matters and I do not. You are the Knower of the Unseen. O Allaah! If You know that this matter (mention the matter here) is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter (or say: for my present and future life), then ordain it for me and make it easy for me, and bless me in it; and if You know that this matter is evil (not good) for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter (or say: for my present and future life), then keep it away from me and take me away from it, and choose what is good for me wherever it is, and help me to be pleased with it.”

The one who seeks guidance and consults Allaah (Azza wa Jall) in all his affairs never fails. This is because nobody knows where the good is, and in the Istikharah is complete submission and placing of one’s trust in Allaah (Azza wa Jall) to choose for the person what is good for him.

 2- One should repent from all sins, give back the rights of the people, fulfill the debts, prepare the expenditure for those who are dependent on him, and take the lawful means for his travelling. Let one take enough provision to broadly entertain his companions. During travel, one should display a good attitude towards others by speaking good words, giving food, and showing good character. One of the effects of travel is boredom; therefore, whoever exhibits good conduct during travel is regarded as a good mannered person. Of perfect conduct of the traveller is being good to the one who hires a ride or means of conveyance, helping one’s companions as much as one can, and helping one’s one who has no means of transport or provision. In addition, being humorous on certain occasions without committing sins or vulgar talk will help overcome the feeling of boredom and hardship associated with travel. [Maw’idhat al-Mu’mineen PP. 239]

 3- Taking permission:

One should take permission from his parents for travelling, because the desirable and the allowable kind of travel are not permissible without their approval. And the married woman should take permission from her husband.

 4- The prohibition of women travelling alone:

Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allaah and the last day to travel for one day and night except with a Mahram (the husband or any other relative to whom she is prohibited to marry).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

A woman is not allowed to embark on a journey unless she is accompanied by her husband or a Mahram.  Some other scholars believe this command applies only to an unnecessary journey.  They maintain that she can even travel alone if she is to perform her unavoidable duty like Hajj.  However, some scholars stand for a total ban on women with regard to travelling alone, whether for Hajj or any other purpose and this is the most correct point of view. [Bulugh al-Maraam]

Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that he heard the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: “It is not permissible for a man to be alone with a woman, and no lady should travel except with a Mahram.” Then a man got up and said:  “O Allaah’s Messenger, I have been enlisted in the army for such and such Ghazwa (battle) and my wife is proceeding for Hajj.”  Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Go, and perform Hajj with your wife.” [Al-Bukhaari]

 5. The desirability (excellence) of travelling in the company of a group of three or more and appointing a leader and obeying him:

Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If the people were aware of what I know about (the dangers of) travelling alone, no rider would travel alone at night.” [Al-Bukhaari]

This narration indicates that travelling alone, whatever its form, is inadvisable at night, and can cause many inconveniences which may affect both one’s worldly welfare and one’s religion. [Bulugh al-Maraam]

E.g. one may become sick or someone may attack him and so forth, while he has no companion to help or defend him.

‘Amr ibn Shu’aib (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: A single rider is (accompanied with) Satan and two riders are (accompanied) with two Satans.  Three riders form a group.” [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawoud]

This Hadeeth tells us that at least three travelling companions are preferable, because if they are only two, one may drop out due to some emergency and then the other will remain alone.  One or two riders (travelers) have been described in the Hadeeth as being “accompanied by Satan” and this means that they can hardly escape the devil.  However, in the case of a trio, they will remain immune from satanic insinuations.

Abu Sa’eid and Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When three people set out on a journey, they should appoint one of them as their leader.” [Abu Dawoud with a good Isnad)

Shaikh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) said: “He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) obliged the appointment of a leader for a small group occasionally in  matters such as travelling to draw attention to the importance of implementing this rule for other types of meetings.”

The Hadeeth indicates that if a leader is appointed, the others must obey him (regarding the affairs of travelling). However, regarding personal matters, there is no need to obey him. [Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen in Riyadh-us Saliheen]

The leader should consult the others, as Allaah orders in Surat Aal-‘Imran (3:159):

“And consult them in the affairs.”

Abu ‘Ali ar-Rabat narrated that he accompanied ‘Abdullaah ar-Razi, and he (the latter) said: “Shall I be the Amir (the leader) or you?”  The narrator (Abu ‘Ali) said: “You.”  ‘Abdullaah ar-Razi said: “Then you have to obey.” Then at night, rain fell.  He stood till morning holding a garment over my head protecting me from the rain… and I was saying to myself: “I wish I died and did not say that you are the Amir.”

 6- Seeking righteous and good company in order to help one in doing good and reminding him (of good) if he forgets.  Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) ordered (us) to accompany the good and righteous people when He (Azza wa Jall) addressed His Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in Surat al-Kahf (18:28):

واصبر نفسك مع الذين يدعون ربهم بالغداة والعشي يريدون وجهه ولا تعد عيناك عنهم تريد زينة الحياة الدنيا ولا تطع من أغفلنا قلبه عن ذكرنا واتبع هواه وكان أمره فرطا.

“And keep yourself [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] patiently with those who call on their Lord (i.e. your companions who remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, etc. and other righteous deeds, etc.) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lust, and whose affair (deeds) have been lost.”

Also, Allaah (Ta’ala) said in Surat at-Tawbah (9:119):

“O you who believe! Be afraid of Allaah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).”

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not accompany except a believer, and let not your food be eaten except by a righteous person.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawoud and at-Tirmidhi with a good Isnad]

7- What to say when you bid farewell to someone who is travelling (supplication of the resident for the traveller). Saalim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) narrated that when a person was to set out on a journey, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) would say to him: “Draw near so that I may bid farewell to you as Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to bid farewell to us.  Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say:

استودع الله دينك، وأمانتك وخواتيم عملك

‘I entrust to Allaah your religion, your trust and your last deeds.’” [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawoud]

Here, “trust” means religious obligations, his family and who he will leave behind, as well as his wealth and property which he will also leave behind with someone whom he has appointed as a surety and trustee. Religion is mentioned together with the trusts because travel could be a precursor (lead to) of neglecting some of the religious matters. Therefore, one invokes for help and guidance concerning them, as mentioned by al-Khattabi and others.

It is preferable and an act of Sunnah, if one is setting out on a journey, to bid farewell to his brothers; verily, Allaah (Azza wa Jall) has made in their invocation for him a blessing. [Bahjat al-Jaliseen by Ibn Abd al-Barr]

A man came to Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! I intend to undertake a journey, so supplicate for me.” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “May Allaah grant you (the provision of) piety.” The man said: “Please supplicate more for me.” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “May He forgive you your sins!”  The man repeated: “Please supplicate more for me.”  Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “May He facilitate (make easy) for you the performance of good wherever you are.”  [At-Tirmidhi]

Ash-Sha’bi said: “It is an act of Sunnah that when a man returns from a journey, his friends go and welcome him and when he goes on a journey, he should go to bid them farewell and take advantage of their invocation for him.” [Adaab Shar’iyyah by Ibn Muflih]

Isa ibn Ja’far said: “I bid farewell to Ahmad ibn Hanbal when I intended to go to Babylon. He (Ahmad) (Rahimahullaah) said: “May Allaah not make this occasion the last thing between us.” [Adaab Shar’iyyah]

The traveller should say to the one who is residing (resident) (not travelling):

أستودعك الله الذي لا تضيع ودائعه

“I place you in the trust of Allaah, Whose trust is never lost (or misplaced).” [Ibn Maajah with a correct Isnad]

8- The desirability or the excellence of setting out for a journey on Thursday and in the early part of the day:

Ka’ab bin Malik (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) set out on Thursday for the expedition of Tabuk, and he liked to go on a journey on Thursdays.  [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Sakhr ibn Wada’ah al-Ghamidi (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) scarcely set out for a journey on a day other than Thursday. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

And Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say: “O Allaah! Bless my people in the early part of the day (morning).” Whenever he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) dispatched a detachment or any army, he would dispatch it at the beginning of the day (soon after dawn). [Ahmad, Abu Dawoud, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah]

The narrator Sakhr (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was a merchant, and he used to send out his goods at the beginning of the day.  So his trade flourished and he made a good fortune. [Abu Dawoud and at-Tirmidhi]

9- The preference of travelling at night (for the one who it has been written for), according to the following narration:

Anas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Keep to travelling by night because the earth is folded (shortened – traversed more easily) during the night.” [Abu Dawoud with a good Isnaad]

Abu Dawoud and others took the following narration as an evidence for the dislike of travelling at the early part of the night:

Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not let your Fawaashi (i.e., animals like camels, goats, etc.) graze at sunset until night. This is because the devils come out at sunset until the darkness of the night.”  [Muslim]

10- Supplication when leaving the house:

One may say the following supplication upon leaving the house:

بسم الله توكلت على الله، ولا حول ولا قوة الا بالله

(I get out of my house) “In the Name of Allaah, I put my trust in Him: it is only Allaah who grants me power to be saved from committing sins or grants power to do good.” Then this man is shown the right path and is protected, and the Satan withdraws from him.  [As reported by Abu Dawoud, at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasaa’i]

Abu Dawoud added: “One Satan says to another, ‘How can you subdue a person who is guided, sufficed (covered) and protected (saved)?’”

11- Supplication of travelling (while riding)

Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated: Whenever Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mounted his camel for setting out on a journey, he would recite: ‘Allaahu Akbar’ (Allaah is the Greatest) three times, then he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would supplicate:

سبحان الذي سخر لنا هذا وما كنا له مقرنين وإنا الى ربنا لمنقلبون

‘Glory be to Allaah, Who has subjected this to us, and we could never have it (by our effort). And verily to our Lord we indeed are to return.’

اللهم إنا نسألك في سفرنا هذا البر والتقوى ومن العمل ما ترضى، اللهم هون علينا سفرنا هذا واطو عنا بعده، اللهم أنت الصاحب في السفر والخليفة في الأهل، اللهم إني أعوذ بك من وعثاء السفر وكآبة المنظر، وسوء المنقلب في المال والأهل.

‘O Allaah, we ask You during this journey of ours for righteousness, piety and such deeds as are pleasing to You.  O Allaah, make easy for us this journey of ours and make the distance short for us.  O Allaah, You are our Companion during the journey and the Guardian of the family and the property in our absence.

O Allaah, I seek refuge in You from the hardships of travelling, of hearing or seeing displeasing things and evil turns in property and family.’”

Also when he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) returned from his journey, he recited this supplication, adding these words:

آيبون تائبون، عابدون، لربنا حامدون

“We are those who return; those who repent; those who worship and those who praise our Lord.” [Muslim]

Commentary:

This is a very comprehensive prayer.  Man is not safe from risks during a journey and in his absence the safety of his household becomes problematic (a cause of concern) to him, too.  In this prayer, Allaah is entreated to ensure the safety of these two (family and wealth) in the most effective words.  And none can harm that person who comes under the watch and protection of Allaah.  This prayer should be recited upon starting a journey as well as returning from it.

Subhaan-Allaah means, to free Allaah from all defects or need. A person should feel that he needs this ride or means when he rides, therefore, he praises Allaah Who is in no need of anyone or anything. Therefore, saying Subhaan-Allaah is better than saying al-Hamdullillah, in this case. Saying: “Verily to our Lord we indeed are to return”, is a reminder for the person of his last journey from this life, of which its destination is to Allaah (Azza wa Jall) when one dies and is carried by the people, so the return is to Allaah.

12- Glorification of Allaah by the traveller while ascending and descending:

Jaabir (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “When we ascended (a height) we used to say, ‘Allaahu-Akbar’ (Allaah is Great) and when we descended from a height we used to say, ‘Subhaan-Allaah’ (Glory be to Allaah).”  [Al-Bukhaari]

Ibn ’Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated that whenever Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his army ascended a height, they used to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar) and when they came down they would say Tasbeeh (Subhaan-Allaah).” [Abu Dawoud – with a correct Isnad]

Commentary:

Based on the aforementioned  Ahadeeth, when one is ascending a mountain or the plane is taking off, one may say “Allaahu Akbar” once, twice, or three times. Likewise when one is descending a mountain or the plane is landing, one may say, “Subhaan-Allaah,” once, twice or three times.

Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said that this is because when one ascends and sees himself in a high place, he may think high of himself, so he says “Allaahu-Akbar” to remind himself, that Superiority and Exaltedness belong to Allaah (Azza wa Jall). To remind oneself that no matter how high one reaches, still there is One Who is above all His creation and higher than him, and He is Allaah (Azza wa Jall), the Exalted. And when one goes down, one says: “Subhaan-Allaah,” freeing Allaah (Azza wa Jall) from being low or having any defect, because Allaah is absolutely above everything.

Although it is mentioned in an authentic Hadeeth that Allaah (Azza wa Jall) descends to the lowest heaven, His descent is in a manner that suits His Majesty and it is not like the descent of anything in this life, because there is nothing like unto Allaah (Azza wa Jall).

13- Avoid pitching a tent on the road when one wants to rest or sleep.

Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When you travel through a fertile land, you should go slow and give the camels a chance to graze in the land. When you travel in an arid land where there is scarcity of vegetation, you should quicken their pace lest your camels grow feeble and emaciated for lack of fodder.  When you halt for the night, avoid pitching your tent on the road for it is the abode of harmful insects and beasts at night.” [Muslim]

Imaam Nawawi (Rahimahullaah) said:

“This is one of the manners of travelling and settling in a place which Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) guided us to, because harmful insects and beasts walk on the road at night for their ease, and they scavenge for food that falls from the people. Therefore, if a person wants to rest at the end of the night, he should avoid staying on the road.”

14- If one is travelling and decides to stop somewhere to rest or to eat or for any other reason, let him say the following supplicationhe Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If one settles in a place, and says:

أعوذ بكلمات الله التامات من شر ما خلق

‘I seek refuge with Allaah’s Most Perfect Words from the evil of all that He has created,’ nothing will harm him until he departs from that place.” [Muslim]

15- If it is not an inconvenience to anyone,then it is desirable to stay together when settling in a place not separate from one another.

Abi Tha’labah al-Khashni (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “When the people used to disperse and scatter in the valleys and mountain passes, the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, your dispersion in the passes and valleys is from Shaytaan.” After that occasion, whenever they settled in a place, they stayed together.” [Abu Dawoud with a good Isnaad]

16- Virtue of supplicating during the journey:

Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Three supplications are to be granted without doubt. The supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the parent (father) for his son.” [Abu Dawoud and at-Tirmidhi]

 17- Preference of early return of the traveller to his home after the accomplishment of his mission:

Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A journey is a kind of torture as it prevents one from eating, drinking and sleeping. So when a person has accomplished the purpose of his journey, he should return home quickly.”  [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

18- The preference of returning home in daylight and the abhorrence of returning home at night when not necessary:

Jaabir (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If anyone of you remains away from home for a long period, he should not return home at night.”

In another narration, Jaabir (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prohibited us from returning back to our families at night.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

It is also forbidden to enter upon one’s family all of a sudden without informing them of his arrival.

Anas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never returned to his family from a journey at night. He used to return either in the morning or in the afternoon.” [Agreed upon]

Jaabir (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade going to one’s family at night (on return from a journey), lest he should find something which might arouse his suspicion as regards his family or lest he should discover their defects.” [Muslim]

The statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “If anyone of you remains away from home for a long period,” indicates long journeys. To the contrary, going out in the morning for a need and returning at night is not included in this prohibition. This is because the one who returns after a long journey without informing his family may find his family in a situation that he dislikes of not being prepared, beautified, adorned or clean, and this may cause aversion between the spouses. This is especially the case since the Islamic law encourages us to conceal our defects and prohibits spying, as the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Lest he should find something which might arouse his suspicion or lest he should discover their defects.” Whoever informs his family in advance about his arrival, then this prohibition does not apply to him as is reported by Ibn Khuzaimah after quoting the Hadeeth by Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma): “When the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) returned from a Ghazwah (battle) he said: ‘Do not enter upon your women at night, and send someone who will inform the people about your arrival.’” [Al-Fat-h 9/340]

Jaabir (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) also reported: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘If you enter (your town) at night (after coming from a journey), do not enter upon your family till the women whose husband was absent (from the house) shaves her pubic hair and the woman with unkempt hair combs her hair.” [Al-Bukhaari]

However, an arrival with prior notice will not be counted as obnoxious. In today’s world there is nothing unusual about a phone call or email message.  Yet, if such a contact is not feasible, one’s arrival home at night would be considered as undesirable.  However, one can do so if necessity demands.

19- The preference of entering the Masjid near one’s home upon returning from a journey for offering two Nafl (voluntary) Rak’ah prayer:

Ka’ab ibn Maalik (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that whenever Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) returned from a journey, he used to visit the Masjid (before doing anything else) and offer a two-Rak’ah prayer therein and then sit for the people. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The performance of two Raka’ah optional prayer is an expression of gratitude to Allaah that he has safely returned home by His Grace.

20- The preference of bringing gifts for the family and relatives:Since the family is anxious and their hearts are longing for the one who returns from a journey, their heartsfeel happy because of meeting him. Their joy will increase with giving gifts and the person’s heart will turn to their remembrance during the travel.” [Maw’idhat al-Mu’mineen]

The Allowable matters (permissible practices) for the Travelers

It is permissible:

1. To shorten the prayers, i.e. the four Rak’ah obligatory prayers (Asr, Dhuhurand ‘Isha) are offered as two Rak’ah (only during travelling).

2. To offer the Dhuhur and Asr prayers together and the Maghrib and ‘Isha prayers together, at the time of the validity of either the former prayer or the latter one (joined and shortened during travel). However, it is Sunnah to pray every prayer in its proper time.

3.To break the fast in Ramadhan and make up the missed days after Ramadhan.

 4. To offer the Nafl (voluntary) prayer on the back of the (Rahila) mount (carriage) on a journey, facing whatever direction it takes.

 5. To wipe over the Khuffain (leather socks covering the ankles) or the socks and the turban, for three days and nights for the traveler.

Question:   What is the verdict of wiping al-Khimar (head scarf for the woman); is it the same verdict as the turban for men?

Answer: The scholars differed regarding this issue. Some of them allowed wiping over the head scarf for women, while others said: “It is prohibited, because Allaah (Azza wa Jall) ordered us to wipe over our heads in Surat al-Ma’idah (5:6).  If she wiped over the Khimar then this does not mean that she wiped over her head.”

Shaikh Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “If there is difficulty in removing and putting it on again or the weather is very cold, then it is allowed for her to wipe over the Khimar.  Actually there are no correct evidences regarding this issue.” [Sharh al-Mumti’e]

6. To leave the Rawatib (specific voluntary prayers offered after or before the compulsory prayers) during the journey, though it is disliked to leave them (when in one’s residence) for the non- travellers.

The Sunnan al-Rawatib (the voluntary prayers offered after or before the obligatory prayers) are dropped for the travellers on a journey except the two Rak’ah Sunnah of Fajr prayer that are offered prior to the obligatory Fajr (dawn) prayer, which is not dropped whether the person is on journey or in one’s residence.

Regarding the other voluntary prayers (such as the late night prayers, Witr, Dhuha, Tahiyyatul Masjid, the eclipse prayer), it is allowed for the traveller to offer them voluntarily like the non-traveler.  The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never left offering three (kinds of) prayers, when travelling nor in his residence:

  1. The two Rak’ah Sunnah (voluntary) prayer of the Fajr
  2. The two Rak’ah Dhuha prayer
  3. The Witr prayer before sleeping [Al-Irshaad Fee Ma’rifat al-Ahkam]

Offering the Friday congregational prayer is not obligatory on the traveller, and shortening the prayer is affirmed for him.

7. To perform Tayammum (dry ablution with sand) for the traveller, if he could not find water or had water sufficient only for his food and drink.

It is confirmed in Saheeh al-Bukhaari that a traveller is granted the reward similar to that given for his good deeds which he practiced at home as if he is practicing the same while travelling, even though he is leaving them.

Abu Musa (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When a slave (a believer) falls ill or travels, then he will get written to his account (the reward) similar to that which he used to get for his good deeds practiced at home or when in good health.” [Al-Bukhaari]


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