Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prayers for Travel

There's nothing like going on a 2-week road trip to help you learn the du'a of the traveler. My husband and I tried to make it a habit so every day, several times a day, we would repeat this du'a. Unfortunately, we really only would say the short version, which is printed on this little card. A gift from Qabeelat Nurayn, I've kept this card in my car as a reminder, and to help me learn the du'a.

The full version begins with three takbirs ("Allahu Akbar") and then continues as below. The bold bold portion is the only section on the card:

How perfect He is, The One Who has place this (transport) at our service, and we ourselves would not have been capable of that, and to our Lord is our final destiny. O Allaah, we ask You for birr and taqwaa in this journey of ours, and we ask You for deeds which please You. O Allaah, facilitate our journey and let us cover its distance quickly. O Allaah, You are The Companion on the journey and The Successor over the family, O Allaah, I take refuge with You from the difficulties of travel, from having a change of hearts and being in a bad predicament, and I take refuge in You from an ill fated outcome with wealth and family.

So you see, the real du'a in the prayer is the part that comes after what we would read, which is praise and a reminder. The full portion we only read on occasion, when I'd dig out my du'a book. I think it's important to know this du'a and the meaning (translation) of it, to remind us especially while traveling that our welfare is not in our own hands. Firstly, our means of transport has been provided by Allah, whether we are driving, flying, etc. And we should try, regardless of where we're traveling, to continue to do good deeds, and try to maintain a life of righteousness (birr) and God-consciousness (taqwaa.) And it's good to remember that Allah can take care of us while we are traveling and our families left at home.

When arriving back home, we are supposed to read the above du'a followed by an additional line:

We return, repent, worship and praise our Lord.

Why? Repent for any sins committed along the way, maybe, and just as a general rule we should be asking forgiveness. And Allah has made us return so we should praise Him.

There's also a du'a, while traveling, to make upon entering a new town or village. Honestly we didn't make this du'a very much; the only time I can remember making it was in Sedona, AZ, where we planned to stay for a few days. But looking back, I think we should have made this a regular nightly practice, as we pulled in to our hotels. Maybe we should have even said it wherever we stopped for meals, prayers, or shopping.

O Allaah, Lord of the seven heavens and all that they envelop, Lord of the seven earths and all that they carry, Lord of the devils and all whom they misguide, Lord of the winds and all whom they whisk away. I ask You for the goodness of this village, the goodness of its inhabitants and for all the goodness found within it and I take refuge with You from the evil of this village, the evil of it’s inhabitants and from all the evil found within it.

It would have been good to recite this at our stops because we would have know way of knowing what in a town was good or evil, or which of the inhabitants would guide us in one direction or the other. A lot of times we didn't know what was a good or safe part of town, or what kind of trouble we might run in to.

There's another kind of du'a to make for the locals, which I wish I'd been more diligent about making. Honestly, we had a lot of help from locals along our trip: where to find a starbucks, a good breakfast, or a decent hotel, for instance. Also, which places had the best meals, where to buy particular souvenirs, reports on weather and road conditions. Was it too much to ask that we make du'a for them in return? I think not, and so that is one regret from my trip.

Here is the du'a of the traveler for the resident:

I place you in the trust of Allaah, whose trust is never misplaced.

There's also some supplications a resident should make for a traveler, which I hope to remember should I come across anyone traveling:

(1) I place your religion, your faithfulness and the ends of your deeds in the trust of Allaah.

(2) May Allaah endow you with taqwaa, forgive your sins and facilitate all good for you, wherever you be.
Traveling across the country, we drove through a couple mountain ranges, and I wish I had known about this narration:

Jaabir said: While ascending, we would say:
(i)‘Allaah is the greatest.’
…and when descending, we would say:
(ii)‘How perfect Allaah is.’
Driving through Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests, this might have been especially nice--we would have been making dhikr all afternoon! And then come evening, there is a du'a to make while stopping for lodging.

I take refuge in Allaah’s perfect words from the evil that He has created.

This du'a kind of reminds me of the importance of Qur'an and reading it, and again a reminder that we don't know where evil might be lurking on a journey. There's also a prayer for the traveler as dawn approaches--I'm guessing a good time to make this du'a would be right after praying fajr.

May a witness, be witness to our praise of Allaah for His favours and bounties upon us. Our Lord, protect us, show favour on us and deliver us from every evil. I take refuge in Allaah from the fire.
Since it's most likely the traveler would be leaving his loding and accommodations in the morning, this du'a is nice to ask for protection as the beginning of the day. Any given morning we weren't sure exactly who or what we might encounter during the day. And the du'a ends with asking for protection from the worst affliction, the fire of the Hereafter.

These supplication translations are taken from Hisnul Muslim, or in English, Fortification of the Muslim, available online at The supplications about travel are numbers 89-99, although I didn't print them all here, and some I placed in a different order. All of these supplications should be listed there with English translations, and the Arabic forms as well.

I really hope that next time I travel anywhere I remember to make these prayers. Since I have a copy of the du'a book, I'm not really sure what my excuse is for not making them. And if I'm not making du'a, then the only one really losing is me.

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