A practical travel guide for Muslim business travelers
Modern-day business travel is harrying enough for professionals. In this article, we are sharing some practical experiences, resources, and tips on observing the tenets of Islam during extensive travels.
All of the practices discussed here are not new. They all are based on the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAW) in the etiquettes of travel. This is simply an articulation of how to adapt the Sunnah of the Prophet in the context of modern business travels. May Allah guide us and make it easy for all of us.
How to keep up with the Salah during your travel
Let’s start with the most important topic of Salah. Generally speaking, this is the topmost concern and priority during travel.
Firstly, you have to observe the principle of qasr Salah (shortening and combining of prayers). This is major mercy from Allah during travels to ease the traveler’s affairs. This provides travelers with a broader window of time to offer Dhuhr and Asr Salah together as well as Maghrib and Isha. So, plan your workday so that you free yourself up once between Dhuhr and Maghrib and once after Maghrib.
Planning is the key to travel. Always set your goal with prayers in front of you.
To be prepared, you can look-up the prayer times in the cities that you are visiting or transiting through. SalamWeb is one of the app that you can use.
There are narrations where the Prophet (SAW) recommended traveling at night unless one is alone, then it’s not advised.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said,
“Keep to traveling by night because the earth is folded during the night to travel easily.” (Abu Dawud).
However, this is not recommended if someone is traveling alone. As the Prophet (SAW) said:
“Were people to know of what I know about the dangers of traveling alone, no rider would travel alone at night.” (Bukhari)
A couple of key points for your travel we’d like to include:
1. Praying at airports
You can plan to pray at airports – either during travel or transit. Alhamdulillah, most major airports in the world have some form of a facility for worship.
Most of the airports have prayer rugs, so you can use them. When praying at multi-faith airport facilities, please be respectful of others who may be there.
In airports where there are no worship facilities and it is impossible due to circumstances to pray while standing, you can pray either sitting down or on a portable prayer mat if you get appropriate space and privacy. The recommendation for mandatory Salah while seated (due to circumstances) is to make them up while standing later.
2. Praying at work/office
Sometimes, you may have day-long meetings, which requires you to pray at work. Some offices offer additional privacy for prayers. If there is no prayer room, you can find an empty meeting room where you can pray during a break.
3. Prayer direction
If you fall in doubt to correctly determine the Qibla direction, then you can use mobile apps like SalamWeb to determine the Qibla.
4. Praying inside the airplane
Sometimes, the only opportunity to offer Salah is during the flight. In such cases, you can pray sitting on your seat, regardless of the direction of travel. To calculate the correct time of prayer while on a flight, you can use the inflight prayer time calculator on the SalamWeb app. There’s another useful website for this, Halaltrip.
5. Dhikr during travels
Traveling is a great time for the greater remembrance of Allah. As we are all armed with connected mobile devices, we feel we can be productive every minute even while we are traveling. However, you may find great opportunities to do Dhikr rather than idly thumbing through your smartphone. This will make your journey cheerful.
How to Find Halal Food (Pure & Lawful Food) while on travel
Food is generally the second biggest concern during travel especially in places like airports or in the workplace. Typically, you use to eat fish or vegetarian foods in such places, but such veggie/seafood may not necessarily be halal – they may contain alcohol or other meat by-products like chicken stock or may be contaminated by other haram foods through the use of common utensils.
Outside airports and the workplace, you can look up halal restaurants using SalamWeb, which is a great resource (online or mobile app). However, it is always a good idea to call the restaurant first to verify the halal status.
Islamic Behavior while Traveling
Finally, we would like to discuss how we have to behave during travels. This is not usual guidance and restrictions on how Muslims need to carry themselves in public but focus more on how we have to behave in the modern workplace.
Some circumstances in the workplace are of concern. For example, we often have to attend get-togethers where alcohol is served. So, you have to make it well known to your colleagues and as well as customers that you do not drink, and they should always respect that.
Interacting with members of the opposite sex in workplace contexts is also something we have to very careful about. You have to maintain a philosophy to keep such interactions to a necessary minimum without being disrespectful or awkward.
Communication about our Islamic practices in non-Muslim societies is a key point so that they don’t misunderstood us, especially in professional circles.
This is a short guideline for those who usually travel a lot. May Allah grant us to obey these rules to be a practicing Muslim in all contexts of life.