Travel and Its Islamic Decorum
In Islam, going on a journey is an advisable task. It is considered a key to good health and a motivating factor for acquiring profit.(Bihar al-Anwar, 76, 221).
This is by no means incompatible with the weariness and hardships that come to pass on a journey (this point is indicated in some narrations (hadith) ), because for all the bitterness and difficulty, the good results and advantages of a journey outweigh its trouble, especially when it is performed for the purpose of paying a visit to the Friends (awliya) of Allah.
In order to better undertake a journey__especially a journey for pilgrimage--and to avoid misfortune, there are points of decorum and instructions for travel, some of which will be indicated here:
The Apostle of Allah(S.A.W.) said, "The friend, then the road." This means that you should first find a good and suitable travel companion, and then set out on the journey.
(Bihar al-Anwar, 76, 267).
Travel with someone who shows respect to you equal to the honor and esteem in which you hold him, who returns your respect and does not ignore it.(Bihar al-Anwar, 76, 267).
Give something as charity before setting out on the journey.(Bihar al-Anwar,100.103).
Luqman the Wise advised his son when going on a trip not to forget the necessary gear, such as a water container, medicines as needed, clothes, a needle and thread, a toothbrush and appropriate means of defense.(Bihar al-Anwar,76,270)
Luqman the Wise also ordered his son to make an agreement with his travel companions before setting out on how much distance is to be covered, stops to be made, expenses and anything else relevant, and to consult with his companions about every decision that needs to be made, to accept their suggestions and to treat them with a smiling face and a generous spirit.( Bihar al-Anwar,76,271)
The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said, "If three people are traveling together, they should say their prayers in congregation and place one from among themselves in charge.(Kanz al-'Amal, Vol. 6, hadith 17548, 17549)
The Noble Prophet (S.A.W.) said, "The head of a group is the one who works the most and serves the rest."(Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 76, 273)
Once, during a journey on which his companions accompanied the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.), when the need for food arose, each one took responsibility for doing something, so that one slaughtered a sheep, another removed its skin, a third cut it into pieces, and a fourth got ready to cook it. The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said, "I will bring some firewood."(Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 76, 273)
His companions said, May our fathers and mothers be your ransom, we will do your work. We beg you not to trouble yourself." The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) replied, "God is not pleased with a member of a group who does not do his share of the work." Then he busied himself with collecting the firewood.
You should plan your trip in such a way that your religious duties are performed without a flaw.(Bihar al-Anwar,10,108)
Insofar as possible, women should not travel unless accompanied by a close relative (mahram).
On a trip, you should let your companions make use of your supplies. If there is anything which has caused you bitterness, difficulty or misery, you should not mention it. As long as it does not lead to sin, do not forget to joke and be cheerful.( Bihar al-Anwar,76,266)
When on a journey, nothing should ever be taken as a bad omen. After a trip, bring a gift for your family, no matter how small. On the road, arrange the distance between yourselves so that you do not lose sight of your caravan, or the car ahead and behind. Plan your return so that you do not arrive home at night and wake the others up. If your traveling companions are not able to spend as much as you, try to decrease your own spending and expenses.
These are just a few points of decoram for traveling that catch one's eye among the thing implied by various reports (hadith).
The Purpose of Travel
People travel for various reasons. One may travel to perfrom the duty of hajj, jihad, pilgrimage to the Friends of Allah (awliya), visiting relatives (silah rahim), emigration, or escaping from civil strife. Sometimes travel is for trade, education, gaining experience, helping others, or healthy recreation. The intentions for such journeys are sacred and honorable.
However, sometimes travel is for an unlawful purpose, such as desertion of duty, performance of an unworthy deed or the commission of sin; and sometimes it is just to waste time or for the sake of diversions that ultimately lead to corruption and ruin.