سفر (safar) is the definition of “traveling, journey, trips, exploring & adventure in Arabic & Islamic literature. And مسافر is someone who travels across different lands and explores different places and cultures. From special activities like Hajj & Umrah to businesses and job search, there are so many reasons why Muslims should travel but the word ‘safar’ (سفر) in Arabic itself means showing, uncovering, revealing and it reveals what is essential for humans.
Traveling has always been one of the best sources to learn more about this world and the purpose of its existence. Not only that but traveling also does have lots of great benefits and beneficial effects on mankind. When traveling is done in search of knowledge it changes the way we think of this world and its existence. And it changes our thoughts about ourselves, our thoughts about our creator, and it changes our lifestyle as well.
And when it’s done in search of food it opens the doors of different opportunities for humans. And it provides them the path to path to what they are looking for. From learning and understanding the divine messages to making your daily arrangements for living, traveling has lots of benefits in life. And this fact is a little hard to understand and accept that Muslims of this century avoided traveling and exploration until the recent boom in halal travel. But The Muslim Traveler thinks there is a need for Muslims to travel and here are the top 15 reasons why should Muslims travel.
(1) Reading the meaning of Allah’s oneness, Understanding the creations and their functions.
When someone travels to different lands and finds different people, different wonders, different animals and creations, He becomes able to understand the real meaning of (التوحيد) the oneness of Allah. He starts reading the divine messages in the book of the universe. And by reading and seeing the Ayats (signs) of his creator he begins to understand how he (Allah) created every single thing in its best form, and how he kept everything perfectly designed and well-balanced. He understands the purpose behind all creations for mankind on this moving planet. He becomes able to understand and accept the existence and oneness of his creator. He who created everything (Allah) the Lord of the worlds.
Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran “Say, [O Muhammad], “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah, over all things, is competent.” (Al-Ankabut – 20)
When someone explores the Ayats (signs) of Allah He begins to say “How one can disobey his creator? how non-believers can make the argument that God does not exist When everything is testifying that He (Allah) is the only one. Allah is he who was before everything, and he who is ever-living and self-sustaining, the first of the first, and last of the last. And he created not this planet but the whole universe in six days. For Muslims it becomes a source to secure more Imaan in their hearts, to build a great and strong foundation of their Imaan if they are traveling with the right intentions. And this is the most important reason for a Muslim to travel and the understanding of Touheed is the greatest benefit of traveling for Muslims.
(2) Understanding the value of this world and life
Traveling is a reminder to mankind. Whether you do it just to explore, or to do businesses and religious activities, it always reminds you that you don’t belong to this place where you’ve come, neither you belong to these paths. But, there is one thing that it keeps reminding you and that is, There is a place where you came from and you have to return to your home where you belong.
When a journey is completed and the traveler has already done his work, He has to return back home. And this is the example of travel and human life. Traveling helps you to realize that it won’t always be living as it is now, one day you came here and one day you have to leave. It won’t always be walking and walking again and again but there will be an end from where you will be returned to the final destination. It gives an understanding of the cycle of life and describes how worthless a human life can be if it is wasted without completing the recommended duties given by the creator.
That’s why our beloved prophet (Muhammad – peace, and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave an example of life with travel to Ibn Umar taking him by his shoulder and saying “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” And Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “In the evening do not expect [to live until] the morning, and in the morning do not expect [to live until] the evening. Take [advantage of] your health before times of sickness, and [take advantage of] your life before your death.” Al-Bukhari.
(3) Finding the Halal Rijq, and the source of halal income
Allah Said about traveling in search of food and Halal income
“And others among you are traveling through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty (rijq) (Al-Mujjammil – 20)
“It is He who made the earth tame for you – so walk among its slopes and eat of His provision – and to Him is the resurrection” (Al-Mulk – 15)
“And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed. (Al-jumuah – 10)
Yeah, It helps people find their source of Rijq and halal income. And this isn’t just the modern travel that offers people jobs in different countries but the old days were also the same. People used to travel across different lands in search of food, clothing, and halal businesses. People used to come to cities like Mecca, Madinah, Misr, Sham, Yamen, finding their source of living and making halal businesses and trades of their choices in the term of our prophet, and his companions. And millions and billions of people before them used to travel for their needs in the history of mankind.
So, not the modern travel nor the old traditional travel but the method of travel itself in different forms served humanity from day one to the date, and it will continue to do so until the last day of this world. Because human civilization has both the need and greed of wealth, and both require them to travel. And traveling can help Muslims as well to make a living as an individual or as a business.
(4) Acquiring knowledge & the hikmah
When we’ve opened our eyes for the first time we didn’t know a single word about anything, But as we grow we learn from others. Similarly, when it comes to acquiring knowledge and hikmah of Islam or getting into modern studies, it requires a lot of traveling. You have to leave your home to go to the scholars, madrasas, and universities. And this isn’t a new thing, this was the method that is used by prophets and people before us. For example “Musa (Peace be upon him) who was the prophet of Judaism was sent to the ‘Khidhir’ to learn the hikmah.
We are so lucky that we have everything (knowledge) written in the form of physical and digital books. And today we don’t have to travel to acquire knowledge of hadith, Tafseer, fiqh, and other things. But that time was very tough when our scholars did travel from Bukhara to Makkah, Makkah to Bagdad, Misr to Madina, and after months of traveling they reached the destination and listened to lectures of Ahadith, Tafseer, Fiqh, and Ilm Tibb. And some of them have even traveled to several places just to listen to one single hadith from their shaikhs and scholars.
So, there is a connection between travel and education and traveling has always been helping people with studies, learnings, and research. Even today in the modern era of technologies where everything is getting digitalized it helps people for higher studies, research, and career growth. Not only today but it will be a source of education and studies forever.
(5) Representing Islam And giving dawah to Allah’s path
Giving dawah is one of those things that all Muslims must do, and sometimes it requires traveling to different locations. Dawah is only possible by meeting people from other communities, religions in different countries and continents of this world. And it’s one of the main reasons why a muslim should travel because it’s obligatory upon us to give people the right guidance, the guidance towards Allah’s and prophet’s path as much as we can, and as much as possible across the globe.
Like giving dawah it becomes equally important to represent Islam with its original character in today’s world where Islamophobia is rising every single day. A Muslim shouldn’t keep silent but a Muslim must tell the positive side of Islam by his acts and character. We Muslims need to help the world understand that “Islam spread by the message of peace, respect, and love, not by the sword”. And if you stop listening to negative people then you will find out that Islam is the world’s most beautiful religion that gives people their every single right to live in peace and manner.
(6) Exploring the history of the greatest ummah
From the beginning of this world, the time of Prophet Adam (آدم – AS) to the term of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), and from prophet Ibrahim’s term to prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) term, And from the prophet’s term to the golden Islamic age of caliphate of the Ottoman Empire, and from the ottoman empire to the age of today’s modernized Muslims societies, Islam and Muslims have a pretty wide and interesting history.
You will be surprised to know about the footsteps of Islam across different countries, nations, and continents and how it Influenced billions of people to be on the right path. And you will get to know about Islam’s impact on humanity which is unimaginable. By traveling to places significant in Islamic history whether it’s Makkah, Madina, Morocco, Egypt, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and many more, You will be able to explore the old history of this ummah with your modern lenses. You will be closer to your past, culture, heritage, and fearless companions of Islam.
(7) Renewing the faith, and searching the peace of mind.
Traveling as self-punishment doesn’t have anything to do with Islam & Muslims. But traveling as a method of exploring to see the wonders of the world will surely boost your spirituality and faith in the almighty god. When you will see how these animals are created, and how these giant mountains are erected, how this earth is spread out, how these seas are aligned, You will be speechless and you will end up saying “SubhanAllah”. And eventually, your heart will be purified and given more guidance towards the right path. It will bring some original and meaningful taqwa to your soul that is invaluable.
Allah (SWT) said,
“Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the Earth, And in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and on their sides; and they reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord, You did not create this in vain. Glory be to You! So protect us from the suffering of the Fire.” (Surah Aali ‘Imran – 190-191)
If you are tired of life for some reason, feeling worried, stressed, and looking for a solution, start traveling with the right intentions and without compromising your Islamic duties. And when you will come across people suffering from the same thing that you are, It will be hard to get stressed. when you’ll come across people who are relying on their creator, who are happy with three times of food and what they are being offered by Allah, it will be hard for you to become depressed. And eventually, you will start thanking for what you have saying “Alhamdulillah. That’s what real traveling and exploration bring to you, and with this form of travel you will find your heart peaceful, and your mind in its best condition.
(8) Performing The Hajj & Umrah
Traveling is required for different purposes in Islam like learning and business. But the most notable purpose for traveling in Islam is the pilgrimage of Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. And similarly, traveling is important for Umrah — a smaller pilgrimage that has been given a lot of importance after the Hajj. To do any of the two pilgrimages a Muslim is required to travel to the holiest city of Mecca. And that’s what can be the reason for you to travel for completing your Imaan with Hajj as a Muslim.
Hajj requires e a series of rituals that include the tawafs (initial and farewell) around the Ka’ba, the walk between Safa’a and Mar’wah, and the journeys to Mina, Mount Arafat, and Muzdalifah. Umrah is something that it is not compulsory but it can be done at any time for the rewards and it also requires Tawaf, And Sa’i, Halaq. Hajj is one of the best forms of worship and is one of the most sublime deeds that Allah sent Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with. And Muslims are obligated to perform the Hajj at some point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so, and have the convenience of traveling to Mecca.
(9) Making dua’s (Supplications), And doing other religious activities
It’s always not necessary to become a traveler (Musafir) to make dua’s or supplications. But it has been mentioned in the books of ahadith that there are three people and their supplications are always considered and never get rejected and a traveler is one of them. Although traveling is one of the best times to make dua to get it considered we should always make dua whenever we get some time.
Besides making dua traveling is really important for other religious activities such as visiting prophet’s masque, masjid-Aqsa, masjid al-haram, because all three are holy places and each has its own different reward for people who pray salah in any of them. And similarly, traveling is important for attending Islamic seminars and programs, giving speeches as a scholar, and so many other things that are related to Islam and Muslims.
(10) Understanding different people and cultures
One of the best things that a traveler can experience is, getting to know different people and learning about their culture. One question definitely comes to our minds here and that is, Is it even important to meet different people and know about their religion and culture? The answer is, Yes it is. Traveling helps you to see the goodness in others, it brings you a positive impact on your social life. And it helps you remove the negativity in your mind for others, helps to gain trust in humanity. And more importantly, If you don’t know about them and their culture you won’t be able to make them understand your culture as well.
Traveling can also help you understand people and their good intentions for each other. And by understanding people it is possible to make this world a better, safer, and more connected place for living. And when you travel to different cultures you learn the lessons of humanity from them or you bring them the lessons of humanity. And it’s very important that’s why Allah (SWT) said,
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Al-Hujurat-13)
(11) Identifying the need & suffering of people, and helping them on the way
There are thousands of Muslims + Non-Muslims who are suffering from food crises, who are homeless, who are medically unhealthy. And being Muslims we need to work for them, we need to do our best that our brothers in Islam and brothers in humanity never sleep without having food. Especially today the Muslim ummah in different places suffers a lot from different crises and needs support from us. So by reaching them we should give them the aid they are looking for.
And traveling can be very effective for you to identify their problems and solve them. And you can also travel to become a volunteer to help them physically. And this can be one of the biggest reasons for you to travel. Another reason for traveling is to make additional zakah and sadaqah of your wealth. Although you can do it with some organizations But by traveling to the people who need your help and being present with them with your helping hands will make a greater impact.
(12) Experiencing And Trying new things
There is nothing wrong with traveling and trying new activities whether it is beneficial for your health or it relates to your spirituality unless it doesn’t include any prohibited activities, or acts that are harmful to our soul & iman, or some kind of acts on extreme Sufism. Experiencing and trying different things with halal intention might provide the opportunities that are you looking for.
It might also help you to come up with a problem-solving idea for this ummah. If not then it can at least boost the level of your productivity and creativity. And it is obvious that you can’t experience a lot of things sitting on your balcony, and you don’t have to take a whole year-round trip as well to experience traveling and trying new things. You just go to some places near you or you go outdoor to check out the fresh environment around you.
(13) Appreciating life, what you have, and becoming positive
Becoming The Positive Muslim is one of the hardest things today when we are surrounded by digital life, social media platforms, and most things are designed just to make our minds negative and distracted. And because we are so attached to these things, the self-comparison disease takes a place in the minds of this ummah and it becomes hard for some of us to appreciate our own life, it becomes hard to be happy with what we have.
That’s where traveling can be beneficial, it doesn’t only offers a different perspective of life, it also brings some important life lessons that are unavailable on the internet, some lessons that are given as the “hikmah” by the creator (Allah). And traveling makes this process more smooth for someone to understand and appreciate life even in hard conditions and situations. But a Muslim must not to intend of traveling as a self-punishment leaving his family and starting the acts of Sufism.
(14) Changing life’s path, overcoming the fear, And negativity
We as human beings always fear getting failed in our examination of life. And some people take it very seriously and their fears sometimes make it impossible for them to live. And we see a lot of negative outcomes when such things happen to someone. During the face-off with life’s challenges, If our core (Iman) isn’t properly established it will take pretty much a minute for satan (Shaitan) to make us negative and imbalanced, dominate us and invite us to evil.
Traveling is one of the best methods of fighting inner fears, and overcoming your fear, stress, and negativity. Those who traveled solo have changed their perspective and thoughts about fears, and negativity in life. They like themselves out of their comfort zone, and they take good decisions. They do it in the same way as others do to overcome daily-life problems. And it is also one of the best methods to find the life path for yourself. Traveling helps us to realize that “It is not bad to fail in one thing and explore another one for yourself, but it’s bad to get tired of your life”. And making life a priority is a must for all Muslims.
(15) Knowing yourself, Exploring your own version, Finding the lost you
Traveling starts with exploring yourself, knowing your soul, your own version, your creativity, and your goodness in you. Imam Ghazaly – one of the finest authors In spirituality says’s “Knowledge of self is the key to the knowledge of God (Allah)”. And real self-knowledge consists of understanding your self/soul. And understanding where you came from, what are the purpose of your life and existence, what does happiness means to you, and a lot of things. And traveling helps you get some of these questions answered.
Obviously, sometimes we all go through hard times, we experience heavy turbulence in life. And we eventually lost our own version, because of the bad habits we get failed to recover ourselves. In these hard times, traveling can effectively bring your lost version back to you. But it’s really important to consider what kind of travel it is? Because some travel experiences can even break you and kill your intentions of becoming a happy person. And by exploring and knowing yourself, You will be a better believer in Islam. And you will be able to believe in yourself, your strength, and your weaknesses. And most importantly you will be able to accept yourself.
So that’s it, and now we all know why should Muslims travel and experience different things. In this very first article, we have covered everything about travel in Islam. It includes everything from the basics of travel to some of the most important reasons. We’ve tried our best to describe everything in a way that answers most of the questions for Muslim travelers. And if you think that we haven’t covered something let us know your thoughts on the footer of this post.
— Disclaimer for readers
This post is written by the Editor of The Muslim Traveler and it includes some Islamic religious guidelines for travel and some words from religious contexts. But we as Muslims respect other religions, and this blog is written with the good intention of inspiring Muslims + Non-Muslim to travel and explore. our objective is not to hurt any sentiments or be biased in favor of or against any particular person, society, gender, creed, nation, or religion. We hope you don’t find anything offensive.