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10 Essential Islamic Etiquettes for Traveling

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”

Dalai Lama

Ah, traveling fills the soul and nourishes the spirit to explore the hidden beauty of diversified cultures worldwide. Islam has taught us the essential Islamic etiquette when traveling for us to be the best version of ourselves when we set foot in a foreign place. How wonderful is that? SubhanAllah.

From the two Easts and Wests, Allah Almighty has Created people of different ethnicities, religions, and cultures to widen our weltanschauung, practice humility, and spark our curiosity to learn beyond borders. 

Have you traveled anywhere in the world before? If so, what was the experience like, and did you learn something new? Oftentimes we look forward to having a fantastic experience when we travel.

We can’t wait to indulge in the atmosphere, take Insta-worthy pictures to share with our friends, and try out their unique cuisines. But have we ever reflected on whether or not we practice specific etiquette when traveling according to the Islamic teachings as mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah?

If you have never thought of it — and it’s normal to overlook this! — here is some essential Islamic etiquette when traveling the next time with your family and friends, InshaAllah. 

1. Fulfil Your Responsibilities and Settle Your Debts if Any

Before you begin your journey, fulfill whatever responsibility is required for your role. If you are a parent and will be leaving your children, ensure that your children are left with money and a trusted caretaker. If you are a student, make sure that your assignments are complete prior to your hiatus. If you have any debts to pay, settle them as soon as you can before leaving for an adventure.

It has been reported on the authority of ‘Amr b. al-‘As that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “All the sins of a Shahid (martyr) are forgiven except debt.” [Sahih Muslim]

2. Travel with Good Intentions

Everything begins with the right intention, so what is yours? Have you ever pondered on why you engage in traveling in the first place? Is it to seek knowledge from saints and sages in another country? Is it to find inner peace? Whatever reason you have decided must be beneficial for you and should not be blameworthy. Remember, there are a lot of rewards — tenfold in fact — for those who rectify their intentions before performing deeds, InshaAllah.

It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), say “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

3. Find Good Company to Travel with

It has always been a dream for some people to travel alone. Just like in the movie Eat, Pray, Love, the main character found wisdom and gained experience traveling alone…but unfortunately, it is not encouraged for Muslims to embark on a journey alone for safety reasons. There’s a lot that could go wrong when we travel to a foreign place we’ve never set foot on!

Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Were people to know of what I know about the dangers of traveling alone, no rider would travel alone at night.” [Al-Bukhari]

Instead, find good company to travel with. This way, it will be easier for you and others to navigate your way safely, and gain a much more insightful experience, InshaAllah. 

‘Amr bin Shu’aib (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) 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 Dawud]

4. Do Not Go Overboard with Your Expenses

Sometimes our desires get the best of us. We buy things from overseas for the sake of sentimental value. You think to yourself that you never know when you’ll get a chance to visit this country again and justify your splurging.

What started as a “little” treat can quickly become enough silverware, souvenirs, t-shirts, and touristy items to fill a suitcase or two. You might not regret buying all of those…until you look at your bank account.

Is it worth buying all of those things just for the sake of sentimental value and proof that you have gone to this country? You can buy a thing or two, but going overboard with spending is not an encouraged practice in Islam. Islam encourages spending modestly.

To practice essential etiquette when traveling, set and categorize each budget before you embark on your journey. This way you won’t exceed your card limit. For instance, budget set amounts for food, transportation, accommodations, and spending money. With proper planning and execution, you will always have enough money for rainy days, InshaAllah.

“وَءَاتِ ذَا ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُۥ وَٱلْمِسْكِينَ وَٱبْنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَلَا تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيرًا

Give to close relatives their due, as well as the poor and ˹needy˺ travelers. And do not spend wastefully.” [Quran 17:26]

5. Bid Your Family Members Farewell

Death is inevitable, so Islamic teachings are preparing Muslims for the worst-case scenario. One of the proper etiquettes, before we set to travel, is bidding our family members farewell for we do not know what the future holds.

Take this opportunity to gather all our family members, ask for forgiveness and their blessings, and bid them goodbye before you begin your adventure. At the very least, when you have done this, you have already made amends with your family and relatives; let bygones be bygones before you leave. 

 يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُوا۟ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَٰحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَآءً ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِى تَسَآءَلُونَ بِهِۦ وَٱلْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.”

[Qur’an 4:1]

6. Recite Essential Du’as before Traveling

There are several du’as you can recite before you leave your home and begin your travel. Always ask Allah Almighty for His Divine Blessings, Protection, and Heavenly Care. Here are some of the du’as you can practice:

Du’a for traveling:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ وَإِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا لَمُنْقَلِبُونَ.

“Glory unto Him Who created this transportation, for us, though we were unable to create it on our own. And unto our Lord we shall return.”

[Qur’an 43:13-14]

Du’a when returning from traveling:

ا للهُ أَكْـبَر، ا للهُ أَكْـبَر، ا للهُ أَكْـبَر،لا إلهَ إلاّ اللّهُ وَحْـدَهُ لا شريكَ لهُ، لهُ الملكُ ولهُ الحَمْد، وهُوَ على كُلّ شَيءٍ قَـدير، آيِبـونَ تائِبـونَ عابِـدونَ لِرَبِّـنا حـامِـدون، صَدَقَ اللهُ وَعْـدَه، وَنَصَـرَ عَبْـدَه، وَهَزَمَ الأَحْـزابَ وَحْـدَه.

“Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner. To Him belongs all Sovereignty and Praise, and He is over all things Omnipotent. We return, repent, worship and praise our Lord. Allah fulfilled His Promise, aided His Servant, and single-handedly defeated the allies.”


Du’a for protection:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

“In the Name of Allah with Whose Name there is protection against every kind of harm in the earth or in heaven, and He is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.”

[Sunan Abi Daud]

7. Offer Sunnah Musafir Prayer

If you do have the time before you travel, offer two raka’ah of Salatul Musafir to ask Allah Almighty for protection, safety, and ultimately His Blessings. You can refer to the du’as above to recite after you’ve completed your prayer. This is recommended and not obligatory for every Muslim.

8. Observe Your Manners and Dress Appropriately

When you visit a foreign place, you should do your best to observe your manners, be humble, and wear appropriately to blend in with the locals. Some of the unfavorable acts include talking or laughing loudly, making insensitive or racist jokes, littering…and the list goes on and on.

When you visit a new place, especially if it is underdeveloped or considered a poor country, do not be arrogant! Always practice humility, and humbleness and do your part to share your wealth with those in need. Remember, whatever you say or do reflects the image of Islam, so do and act your best, InshaAllah.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be Pleased with him) related that the Prophet ﷺ said: The Lord’s commandment for every one of His slaves is, ‘Spend on others, and I will spend on you’.

[Bukhari, Muslim]

9. Don’t Forget to Buy Souvenirs

Fancy some unique trinkets to give your loved ones? Buy them and give them as gifts to your friends and family! Little acts of kindness go a long way, and this act will let them know you are thinking about them and appreciate their existence, mashaAllah. 

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love for one another.” [Bukhari]

Asmah (may Allah be Pleased with her) related that the Prophet ﷺ said: Spend, and do not count, lest Allah counts against you. Do not withhold your money, lest Allah withholds from you. Spend what you can. [Bukhari, Muslim]

10. Learn Something New

Explore the world with an open mind. Begin the first step with the right intention; to gain knowledge for the sake of Allah Almighty and His Messenger, Peace, and Blessings be upon him. Sometimes, all we care for is the thrill to experience a whole different world in another country and nothing more. Does that really fully satisfy us as Muslims? Do we not want to seek anything else other than the thrill?

This is a great time for us to learn something new from someone or something we observe in another country. Just like the saints and sages in the past who have embarked on spiritual and insightful journeys to explore new realms of knowledge in the hidden parts of the world, we too should emulate such excitement to embark on the quest for ‘ilm. 

Abu Huraira (may Allah be Pleased with him), reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

“The best of you in Islam are those with the best character if they have religious understanding.”

[Musnad Ahmad]

In retrospect, going on a journey to travel and explore the beauty of the world is in fact recommended and encouraged in Islam. It is a means to open our eyes to new possibilities, widen our perspective and sharpen our wisdom to become more virtuous and knowledgeable Muslims.

If you were given an opportunity to go somewhere around the world, where would you go? Why? What are some of the places you would like to go at that particular place? How do you think you going to that country would benefit you? Ask these questions yourself and you will find an answer within you, InshaAllah.