Praise be to Allah.
As a Muslim traveller, we have to plan ahead so that we can happily travel without dampening our mood, from getting halal food to the ways to perform our prayer in places with limited space and different time zones.
Alhamdulillah, one of the beauties of Islam is the fact that it provides alternatives that ease all our obligatory duties. Islam alleviates difficulties while preserving the well-being of humanity. Allah mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah,
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ
“Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.”
Surah Al-Baqarah (2: 185)
Don’t be too worried. Here are some helpful hacks that we have prepared for you to ensure your travel will be hassle-free.
As Muslim travellers, while we are enjoying our vacation, we should still make prayers our topmost priority. Praying is the most basic form of showing gratitude to our Creator, who has granted us the wealth, time and health to travel. (2 Tips to Make Your Travel a Spiritual Experience, 2019).
Reported by Ibnu Umar r.a., the Prophet s.a.w. was asked about praying on sailing ship, he answered:
”Perform your prayers onboard it (in a standing position), unless you fear sinking/drowning”.
[Hadith narrated by Imam Al-Hakim]
Image credit: Giphy
Combining and shortening prayers are defined by the terms; Jama and Qasar respectively. Combining and shortening prayers in travel are concessions that Allah s.w.t has granted us. Jama prayer means combining two different fardhu prayers in one time, either by performing it in the timing of the first prayer or the second prayer. Zohor can only combine with Asar prayer and vice versa, while Maghrib can only combine with Isyak prayer and vice versa.
Qasar prayer means shortening the number of rakaat prayers, particularly from 4 rakaat to 2 rakaat prayers. The following are conditions to be fulfilled in performing the Jamaa Qasar prayers:
1. The travel distance should be no less than 2 Marhalah. Scholars vary on the actual distance of 2 Marhala in the measurement of kilometres. Generally, it is understood to be between 82-89 km.
2. The Jama or combination of the first and the second prayers must be performed in orderly and without intervals. Such that the second prayer must be performed immediately after the first prayer, as according to the major view in the Syafie Mazhab.
3. If the Jama prayer is intended to be performed in the timing of the second prayer, the intention to perform the Jama must be made in the timing of the first prayer. For example, if the Jama of Zohor and Asar prayers is to be performed in the timing of the Asar prayer, the intention must be made in the timing of the Zohor prayer, before the call of the Asar prayer.
The number of days for the concession, according to Syafie Mazhab, is five days. The five days include the day of arrival (1 day) and day of departure (1 day). However, there are other views that allow the extension of more than three days excluding the day of arrival and the day of departure.
It is very important for you to plan and know when you will be travelling and the prayer time during your journey to the destination. Always plan your prayer beforehand especially when you are taking a long haul flight. By planning, you can roughly prepare alternatives and ways to ease your prayer.
For those who will be travelling by plane, it’s time for you to use your phone to the fullest. There are so many mobile travel apps that can help you to know when you’re supposed to pray by simply include the time and place where you will be departing and your arrival destination.
Some of these apps provide the approximate prayer time depending on your departure and arrival timing. You may use the in-flight information screen to double-check the timing that the application provides.
However, if you do not have any access to in-flight entertainment as well as the application, you can always observe the sun path.
Here’s a graphic for which can help you to determine the prayer time.
Image credit: Muis ADIL Traveller’s Fiqh Module
But do note that once you have arrived at the destination, you should follow the timing prayer of that country throughout your stay there.
Image credit: Giphy
When travelling by car, we would have the chance to stop at the Rest and Recreation (R&R) pit stops along the highways. However, when travelling by plane or train, we have no stopovers and will eventually need to perform our prayers on the flight. Before we start to perform our prayer, we have to take Wudu’ (Ablution) as per the rule. Since water is accessible in flight, we do not need to perform the tayammum. Most importantly, do not waste water while performing your ablution and make sure that the toilet area is clean after you use it!
Scholars agree that we should perform the five obligatory (Fardhu) prayers standing whilst facing the Qiblah. However, due to the limited space that we have on a plane or train, it may not be possible for you to do so. Also, due to dire circumstances and also safety purposes, you may opt to face the Qiblah (prayer direction) only during the ‘Takbiratul Ihram’ and continue performing your prayer facing any direction afterwards whilst sitting. (How to Pray When You Are Travelling on a Plane, 2019)
If all efforts fail to determine the location of the Qiblah, one is permitted to face the most precise direction to do your prayer. ‘Imran Bin Husain narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. said to him:
“Pray while standing and if you can’t, pray while sitting and you cannot do even that, then pray lying on your side."
According to the Syafie Mazhab, if one is unable to perform the fardhu prayer whilst facing the Qiblah, it is obligatory to perform the fardhu prayer according to the circumstances, in respect of the prayer time, and to therefor repeat the fardhu prayer again (Qadha), after arriving at the destination.
Image credit: Giphy
One of the most difficult challenges that we face as Muslim travellers is to find halal food overseas. There is no problem for us when we are in our country, as we have established halal certification from the Muslim authority. But the common question that we always get while travelling is “Where and how can we find Halal food?”. Here are some tips for your frequently asked questions.
يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ ۖ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ
They ask you, Prophet, what is lawful for them. Say, ‘All good things are lawful for you.’
Surah Al-Maidah (5:4)
When you travel, always do some research beforehand on the Halal or Muslim-owned restaurants around you. However, when travelling to some countries, and there is no halal restaurant available in the area, in this case, non-halal restaurants will be the next option. You can consider the following tips:
For any options that you are choosing, you may wish to double-check with the restaurant on the ingredients of the food before you purchase. In some countries, generally, they will be more than delighted to share the ingredients with you!
When choosing food, it depends on personal discretion and choices. Thus, whatever standards you choose should not be imposed on others.
Airbnb is another alternative accommodation when we are overseas aside from hotels and it has become a trend to book shared accommodation where you share the main facilities. We always have doubts especially when using the kitchen equipment and utensils provided to us, “Should we do ritual cleaning, sertu before using it?”. There are a few things that you can look out for!
You can use a shared fridge or microwave. If you are very particular, you can ensure there is no direct contact of your food with the non-halal food by place your food properly wrapped in the fridge.
You can still use the utensils provided, just make sure that it is clean. According to Imam Annawawi, there is no need for you to do ritual cleansing (sertu) if you are confident with the cleanest of the utensils. However, if you are not comfortable with that option, you may wish to bring the sertu soap. It is so easy now that you can find it at selected supermarkets in Singapore! You may wish to refer to Contemporary Irsyad Series for a more detailed explanation.
If you would love to know more about the fiqh of travelling, do sign up ‘Traveller’s Fiqh course by ADIL SG. It’s free! Now, you are ready and set to go! Hope that these guides help you and ensure your travel will be a hassle-free experience.
And Allah knows best.