Etiquette Of Travelling

1. The travels which are permissible and those that are not permissible; the days which are good for travel and those that are not:

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), it is written in the ‘Science of Al-e-Dawood’ that one should travel only for three purposes:

a) If one is going to get salvation from that travel

b) To look after the affairs of economy (livelihood)

c) For recreation, provided it is not non-permissible

In another tradition the Imam (a.s.) has stated that one should travel to gain health, one should do jehad (participate in Holy War) that one may be blessed with rewards of this world and the world to come and perform Haj that one may get wealthy and is not dependent on others any more.

In a reliable tradition it is stated that Mohammed ibne Muslim enquired of Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq that he wanted to visit a place where there was only snow and how then should he perform wuzu (ablutions for prayers) in such a place. The Imam (a.s.) answered that if he was in a hurry he should perform tayammum and guided him not to visit that country where the faith will deteriorate, implying that a place where one cannot carry out the orders of one's religion.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), one should travel on Saturday if one wants to go on a journey; as if on Saturday the stone moves away from a rock then God will definitely return it to the rock and when there is a difficult task ahead, one should travel for the purpose on Tuesday as the Almighty God had softened iron for Hazrat Dawood (a.s.) on that day.

In a reliable tradition it is stated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to travel on Thursday and say that it was the day of the Almighty God, His Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and creatures of the sky (heaven).

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), it is inadvisable to travel and to go for purposes of livelihood on Friday as one would not be able to say one's Friday prayers. After the prayers it is good to go anywhere on any rewarding work. In another tradition he has stated that one can travel on Thursday night.

If the date is good but the day is bad or the date is bad but the day is good, then one should follow the tradition related to a day over that of a date and many reliable traditions have been stated about Saturday.

In another tradition it is stated that a person who will travel or perform nikah (get married) when the moon is in aqrab, then its result will not be happy.

2. The warding off of unlucky travels with the help of prayers and charity (sadqa):

A reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that if one gives charity (Sadqa) at the time of travel then one can travel on any day. In another tradition people enquired of the Imam (a.s.) if they could travel on days like Wednesday etc., as it was considered makrooh. The Imam (a.s.) replied that one should give charity at the start of a journey and then one can leave for the journey at any time.

A tradition states that Ibne Abi Amir, who was an astronomer, inspite of his knowledge of astrologyy, had doubts about performing of tasks at fixed moments. At last he went to Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) and expressed his doubts. The Imam (a.s.) replied that if any time he felt like doing anything in particular, then he should give charity to the first poor man whom he meets after his decision and then go on his work; the Almighty God will keep such a person away from harm.

In another tradition it is stated that whenever Imam Zainul Aabedin (a.s.) decided to visit one of the orchards, he used to give charity in the name of God for his welfare. He used to offer this charity when he used to keep his feet in the stirrups and when he used to return safely, he used to give away in charity whatever he could get hold of.

In a reliable tradition it is stated that Abdul malik complained to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that he had become involved with astrology and whenever he had to perform a certain work, he looked it up in his astrology and if the moment was not auspicious then he would refrain himself and would only go somewhere when, through his knowledge, he would come to know that the moment is right. Then the Imam (a.s.) asked him if he comes to the conclusion about the fulfilment of a certain task through his knowledge of astrology. The man replied in the affirmative. Then the Imam (a.s.) asked him to burn his almanac.

A tradition from Syed ibne Taoos (a.r.) states that if a momin has to travel at a time when it is makrooh, then before he starts his travel he should recite Sure Alhamd, Qul Aao'zo Be Rabbil Falaq, Qul Aao'zo Be Rabbin Nas, Qul Howallah, Ayatul Kursi, Inna Anzalna and the last verse of Sure Ale Imran.

3. The bath, prayers (Namaz) and do'a at the time of departure:

A tradition from Syed ibne Taoos (a.r.) states that when a person decides to go on a journey then at the time of departure he should first take a bath and while bathing he should recite the following doa:

‘I begin with the name of Allah. I rely on Him. No one possesses might except He, the most high, the most great. May theHoly Prophet and his true successors as ordained by God lead the follower. May God shower His blessings on all of them. O Allah! by this bath make my heart pure, my chest broad, my grave filled with light. Make this bath illuminating, pure, a cure for all diseases and a vanguard against all curses, difficulties, evil and all the things I am afraid of; and make this bath purify the part of my body, bones, blood, hair, face, veins, thighs and all my things which the earth is burdened with. O Allah, on the day I may be in need of troubling You with my request, let this pure bath be the witness to Your power over everything. O the Creator of the whole universe.’

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the best caretaker of your family, who will look after them while you are travelling is, that at the time of departure you should offer two rakat prayers and recite:

‘O Allah I leave unto Your care my life, my wife and my children, my merchandise, my generation, my world here and hereafter, deposit under my custody and place my end of life in Your hands.’

4. Complete etiquette of going on a journey:

A tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), states that Hazrat Luqman (a.s.) advised his son that when he was travelling with others, he should consult his companions about his own affairs; he should be happy at the time of his meeting with them and should try to spend with others in the cause of charity; and if they ask him for a meal, he should accept the invitation and oblige them; if they ask him for a loan, he should give them. He should try to be good at the following:

a) In keeping quiet

b) In offering prayers

c) In serving with courage and kindness with whatsoever he may possess; whether it was a means of conveyance, money or food

If they ask him to be a witness in a good offer, he should give the best advice and he should refrain from giving suggestions unless he had fully thought about the matter. Instead, after giving thought to the matter he should go to sleep and after waking up he should again think about it and then take food and again think over it. Then when the time for prayers arrives, he should pray and think over the matter once more, in short, he should not hurry with the decision; but think about the matter at different times and in different situations and utilize his reason and wisdom, for if he did not utilize his reason and wisdom when someone asks for his advice then the Almighty God atrophies his reason and wisdom and takes back what he had given.

If he sees his companions walking on foot then he should also walk with them and whenever he finds them busy with some work then he should join them and also when they are giving charity or loan to someone. If the companions are elderly then he should accept all their sensible suggestions. If his companions should ask him to do some work then he should acquiesce as far as possible for refusing at such a moment and in such situation is an insult of his companions.

If he should lose his way and does not know what to do then he should climb down from his conveyance, then and there and if he is doubtful about the path then he should stand and consult with his companion and think about the best solution. In case he happens to spy a man or two, he should not ask the way but should think twice about it, for the very presence of a single man in a lonely desert is a cause of suspicion, for he may be an agent of dacoits or a devil who wants to create trouble for him; and in the same manner one should keep away from two persons except where there are certain signs which Hazrat Luqman (a.s.) could not think of at that moment. But he further emphasized to his son that an intelligent man, if he uses his reason, will come to know about the appearance and reality of anything and can discern such things existing, which the hidden cannot see. He asked his son not to be lenient about his prayers but to pray at the right time, for prayers are a duty which should be fulfilled at the earliest, that the man feels

light, and to offer Namaz-e-Juma’h even when he was in the range of arrows.

He should not sleep on the back of the animal as the back of the animal will be hurt and there is no wisdom in it.

When he reaches the destination, he should get down from his beast as that beast is his helper and before feeding himself, he should feed the beast with grass. When he would like to alight on the stage, he should select a spot from where the scene (landscape) is beautiful and the sand of that place is soft and where the grass grows. After having alighted at the stage, he should offer (two rakat) prayers before relaxing. If one feels need for urination or excretion hten one should go very far from the caravan. When one has to pack up one's things, one should offer (two rakat) prayers and bid farewell to the part of land where one had rested and salute the inhabitants of that land for there is no piece on earth where a few angels do not reside. If possible, before taking one's meal, one should give away something from the food as charity. As long as one is riding on the beast, one should be busy reciting the Quran and as long as one is not involved in some work, one should go on remembering God and one should go on praying as long as one has no work and is all alone. One should never sleep in the first part of the night, but should stop journeying and find a place for the night's rest. There was however no harm in restarting the journey in the last part of the night. While walking one should not make a lot of noise.

According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.), it was considered best of humanity, while staying at home, to recite the Quran, sit in the company of scholars, discuss on different branches of knowledge, offer all the prayers in congregation (Jama'at) and it was best during a journey to utilize one's own things and to help one's companions and to remember God in all ups and downs while moving and alighting.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), the following things are included in the etiquette of journeying:

a) To have necessary things of journey

b) Whatever food one keeps for a journey, should be best cooked

c) To share one's food with one's companions

d) Maintain the secrets of the companion, which he has come to know during their companionship, even after they have parted company

e) To enjoy oneself with all those things which do not incur the anger of God

5. Etiquette of proceeding on a journey and alighting on stages:

Reliable traditions from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) state that if one is tired of walking, then one should walk fast as it cures fatigue.

In another tradition he has stated that one should bind fast one's waist, back and stomach that one may be able to walk easily.

Another tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that one should start one's journey during the night hours, as the distance is shortened comfortable during the night.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), travelling the last half of the night shortens the journey.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), when one has to make a stop during the night, one should not alight by the roadside or near a river or stream as these places are frequented by snakes and animals.

6. Manners of travelling by sea and over the bridges:

Reliable traditions from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) state that travelling by sea during stormy season is prohibited.

A reliable tradition from Imam Reza (a.s.) states that when one is embarking a ship or a boat one should say:

‘Taking the name of Allah I ride, Who causes the ships and the boats to sait and to stay. There is no doubt about it that my Nourisher is the Greatest Forgiver and the Most Kind.’

and if there is a storm at sea, then one should lie on his left side and pointing at the waves with right hand, recite:

‘Learn perseverence from the power of Allah and peace from His peace for except the Almighty God no one possesses any power or might.’

A tradition among the traditions states that when there is a storm at sea, one should recite:

‘I begin with the name of Allah, Hold your peace from the peace of Allah; learn patiennce from the dignity of Allah and take comfort from His order. There is strength and comfort only in the hekp of Almighty God.’

The reporter of this tradition states that whenever there was a storm at sea, he used to recite the following prayer shown by Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.); it seemed that there was no storm at all, as the raging sea would suddenly and certainly go calm.

‘He is Allah Who sent down the Book (Quran) and He guardeth the virtuous one. They have esteemed not Allah, as is His due. While the whole earth shall be in His grip on the Day of Judgement and heavens rolled up (shall be) in His right hand; Hallowed is He, and Exalted is He, high above what they associate (with Him).’

Another tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) asked one to recite the following prayer if one is afraid of drowning.

In another tradition it is stated that whenever one wants to embark on a ship one should recite hundred times ‘Allaho Akbar’, hundred times Durood-e-Mubarak and hundred times

7. Manners relating how to accompany a traveller for a little while when he sets for the journey and welcoming him on his arrival:

A reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that whenever the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to bid goodbye to a momin traveller, he used to say,

"May Allah shower His mercy on you and make piety a part of you kit. May you have all the happiness and may all your desires by fulfilled and may God keep safe your faith and your world and bring you back safe and sound and may you find you wife and children safe on return."

Another tradition states that a group of Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.)'s companions went to bid him farewell. The Imam (a.s.) at that time said,

"O Allah forgive those sins which we have committed for surely we are Your fallible creatures and make us all stick to the path of righteousness in this world and that to come and keep us safe from the mischief You have ordained, in the coming year for Your men and Your kingdom; come to the early help of Aale Mohammed (s.a.w.a.) and their followers and defeat their enemies."

A reliable tradition states that when a momin returns from his journey, he should invite his fellow-momins to a meal.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), when a person returns from a journey, he should bring a gift for his family, even if it may be a stone.

Another tradition states that when a Haji returns from Haj and dust of the journey is still on him, and if a person at that time lays his hands around the Haji's neck with the intention of welcoming him, he will get the reward of kissing Hajar-e-Aswad.

A tradition states that when a person returns from a journey, he should get busy with no work until he has washed himself and offered (two rakat) prayers and has rendered thanks to the Almighty a hundred times.

When Hazrat Ja'far-e-Tayyar returned from Mulk-e-Habash (Africa), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) embraced him with his chest and kissed his eyebrows and it was the custom of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)'s companions to shake hands when meeting each other; and when one of them used to return from a journey, they used to embrace him with their necks.

A reliable tradition states that one should bid farewell to a traveller for sometime and even welcome him for a certain period; as, for this purpose one is allowed to offer his prayers late after the approved time.

8. Mention of the racing of horses and archery:

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), one should ride a horse but should love archery better.

A person who shoots an arrow for the glory of God, God rewards him by forgiving three persons; one who has made the arrow, one who has given the arrow to mujahid and the one who has used the arrow in jehad.

According to Fiqhe Reza, one should never play polo for in this game the shaitan plays with one hand and the angels hate it; and if in this situation someone's horse falls down and dies, that person belongs to hell.

One should be aware that though a certain form of betting is allowed in sword fighting, spear throwing and archery, there are certain conditions for it. Firstly, the number of arrows should be fixed, which will decide the best marksman; secondly, deciding the number of arrows out of the total number being used which should reach the mark.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was above all rivellery and pleasure-seeking, and all this was in the interest of giving strength to Islam and making people inclined towards Holy Wars (Jehad) so that the disbelievers should not be able to conquer muslims and the dissidents of the Shias; and the people may be able to meet any attack on their life, property and self-respect.

During the absence (major Occultation) of the Imam (a.s.), the Holy War (Jehad) implies keeping the Shias of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) safe from the mischief

of dissidens. Jehad and defence are allowed when any group of disbelievers, pagans or dissidents attacks the Shias, and all those who are killed in Jehad are Shaheed (martyrs). If the group being attacked is weak, then all the momineen are bound to come forward with their help and defend it.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), all the good deeds lie in the sword of the martyr and in the shadow of the sword. The sword of the righteous is the key to heaven, and the sword of the blasphemers is the key to hell.

A reliable tradition states that a momin who dies while trying to save his respect and property is a martyr.

Another tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that a door in the Heaven is the Door of Mujahids. All those people who have died for the sake of God will enter from this door and will see the angels opening the door wide for them and saying "Marhaba, Marhaba" (well done, well done).

He further stated that Jibrael (a.s.) had revealed unto him that if any of the followers do jehad in the cause of God and if a drop of blood falls on him or he suffers from a headache, then in his record of deeds will be written the reward meant for martyrdom.

Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that often his followers forget saying ‘Bismilla Hir Rahmanir Rahim’ before they start any work and therefore God puts them to trial, that they may be warned and remember the Almighty and praise him. The Almighty forgives their sins on account of their trials He is making them face. Therefore it is advisable that every person, before starting his work, should say:

‘In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful.’

According to Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.), when God had forbidden Hazrat Adam (a.s.) to eat the fruit of Heaven, he had said "Yes", but had forgotten to say ‘Insha Allah’. The result was that he ate the fruit of that tree and was thrown out from Heaven and the Almighty ordered His Prophet (a.s.).

And say you not (of aught); "Verily I will do it tomorrow", Save (say) "If Allah willeth" and remember thy Lord when thou forgettest.

That is, one should never say one will do some work tomorrow. On the contrary, one should say "Provided God willing" and leave the work unto the will of God. If one has forgotten saying ‘Insha Allah’, one should say it whenever one remembers it, even if one remembers it after one year.

According to Imam Moosa Ibne Ja'far (a.s.), the doing of nine acts makes one forgetful:

a) Eating bitter apple

b) Corriander

c) Cheese

d) Food already eaten by a rat

e) Urinating in standing water

f) Reading epitaphs (or graves)

g) Walking between two women

h) Leaving the lice alive

i) Having blood taken out often from the back of the neck

According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.), three things increase memory:

a) Doing miswak (cleaning teeth with green stick)

b) Keeping fasts

c) Reciting Quran-e-Majid

It is stated from reliable traditions that once Imam (a.s.) was sad and said that he could not decipher why he was sad because he had never sat on the threshold or walked through a flock of sheep, or had put on the pyjama while standing or cleaned his face and hands with the cloth meant for wearing. This implies that all the above acts cause sadness.

According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.), there are certain things which lead to poverty and others that lead to wealth. Things causing poverty and need are sixteen:

a) Having cobwebs in the house

b) Urinating in bathroom

c) Eating in the state of Janabat

d) Cleaning teeth with stick used in sweeping

e) Combing hair while standing

f) To have dirt in the house inspite of having a broom in the house

g) Taking a false oath

h) Adultery

i) Greediness

j) Sleeping between Namaz-e-Maghrib and Isha

k) Sleeping between early morning and sunrise

l) Saying lies

m) Sending away a beggar, particularly in the night, empty handed

n) Behaving badly with relatives

o) Spending more than the capacity

There are seventeen things which lead to wealth or make one well-off:

a) Offering Asr prayers immediately after Zohr prayers

b) Offering Maghrib and Isha prayers together

c) Reciting further prayers and Doas after the Morning and Asr prayers

d) Being kind and generous to one's relatives

e) Going early in the morning to earn one's living

f) Sweeping the house

g) Reciting Istighfar (i.e. ‘Astaghfirullah-a-Waatubo Ilaihe’) often

h) Refraining from misappropriation of other's property

i) Speaking correctly

j) Reciting the words of the muezzin proclaiming the Azaan

k) Keeping silent in the toilet

l) Not being greedy for the material things

m) Thanking for the blessings being received

n) Washing the hands before taking food

o) Eating the remnants of a meal left on the table-cloth

p) Saying ‘Subhan Allah’ thirty times every day

q) A person who will repeatedly say ‘Subhan Allah’ will be kept safe from 70 types of curses by God; one of which is poverty

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), a person who will write a poem or a couplet in praise of Ahlul bait (a.s.), God will make a house for him in the Heavens.

In another tradition it is stated that a person who wants to write a couplet or a poem in praise of Ahlul bait (a.s.), is helped by Jibrael (a.s.), the holy angel.

A reliable tradition from Imam Reza (a.s.) states that a person who will write a poem in praise of Ahle bait (a.s.) will get a city for himself in Heaven by the order of God, which will be seven times bigger than the world he lived in. When he will reach that city, angels will be near him and all the great Prophets (a.s.) will go to meet him.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), a person's stomach filled with dirty blood and pus is better than a person's chest filled with couplets or poems which are not in praise of the Almighty God or Ahle bait (a.s.); but have for their topics, something against the decency of man.

He (a.s.) has stated that mosques should not be used as a way, coming from one door and leaving by another. In case one is forced to go through a mosque, one should offer (two rakat) prayers.

Urinating under a fruit-bearing tree or in the middle of the way is prohibited.

Making a concrete grave and praying (regular prayers) in the graveyard are prohibited.

Urinating, while facing towards the sun or the moon, is prohibited.

Women are prohibited to accompany the dead body when it is taken out for funeral purposes.

Making false dreams is prohibited. If a person does so, he will be asked by the Almighty to make a knot in the water; and when he will not be able to do it, he will be punished.

It is also prohibited to interfere when a momin is selling something and saying that one's thing is better than that being offered by the momin. Also, if a momin is buying something, no other momin should become a customer by offering a better price.

A woman is prohibited to leave her house without the permission of her husband and in case she goes out, all the angels, jinns and people of that place get busy cursing her until she returns to her house.

A woman is prohibited to beautify herself except to please her husband; otherwise it is compulsory for God to burn her in hell and she is also prohibited to talk more than five sentences to those other than her husband or mahrams (mother, father, brother and sister).