A Muslim views traveling as a necessary part of his life that he cannot do without. The Hajj, Umrah, Jihad, seeking knowledge, trade and visiting his brethren are either mandatory or obligatory parts of life. Therefore, he is bound to travel. For this reason, the Shari’ah has covered the aspects of traveling and its etiquette. Such concern cannot be denied. A pious Muslim must learn these etiquettes and apply them in his life.

Rulings for traveling

1. The prayers that consist of four rak’ahs become two rak’ahs only, while the sunset prayer remains at three rak’ahs. This begins as soon as one leaves the land in which he lives until he returns to it. Unless he intends to stay in the place he is travelling to four or more days. In that case, he performs the prayer in their regular fashion while he is staying at that locale. Then when he travels back to his home, during the time of actual traveling, he shortens his prayers until he reaches his home. This is based on Allah’s statement in the Qur’an: “And when you travel in the land, there is no sin for you if you shorten your prayer.” (Qur’an 4: 101)

Anas bin Malik (ra) said: “We went with the Messenger of Allah (saw) from Madinah to Makkah and he prayed the four rak’ahs prayers in just two rak’ahs until we returned to Madinah.” (Nasa’i)

2. It is allowed to wipe over the leather socks for three days and nights while traveling. Ali (ra) said: “The Prophet (saw) established for us the limits of three days and nights for a traveler and one day and night for a resident, that is, with respect to wiping (over the footwear).” (Muslim)

3. It is permissible to make tayammum (dry dusting with earth) if water is not available or if it is difficult to get or if it is too expensive. Allah the Almighty has said: “If you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes answering the call of nature or you have been in (sexual) contact with women and you find no water, then take for yourselves clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands.” (Qur’an 4: 43)

4. While traveling, a fasting person is allowed to break his fast. Allah (swt) said: “If any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (of days in which one has broken the fast should be made up) from other days.” (Qur’an 2: 184)

5. While traveling, it is allowed to pray voluntary prayers while riding on the back of an animal, regardless of the direction one faces. Ibn Umar stated that Allah’s Messenger (saw) would pray voluntary prayers in whatever direction his camel was facing. (Bukhari and Muslim)

6. It is permissible to combine the Dhuhr and ‘Asr prayers or to combine the Maghrib and ‘Isha prayers at the time of the earlier prayer if the traveling is taking place. For example, the Dhuhr and Asr prayers are performed at the time of the Dhuhr prayer. And the Maghrib and Isha’ prayers are performed at the time of the Maghrib prayer. Or, one can combine them together at the time of the later prayer. For example, one can delay the Dhuhr prayer until the beginning of the time of the Asr prayer and then pray them together. And one can delay the Maghrib and Isha’ prayers at the time of the Isha’ prayer. This is based on the statement of Mu’adh (ra): “We traveled with Allah’s Messenger (saw) for the battle of Tabuk and he would pray the Dhuhr and Asr prayers together as well as the Maghrib and Isha’ prayers together.

(To be continued)

by Abu Bakr Jabir Al-Jaza’iry