When a monotonous year-round routine takes its toll on you and when the conscious yearning to bathe in the diversity that Allah has decorated this world with gently nudges you, it is time to officially slide into the holiday mood and enjoy the blessings, benefits and learning Allah has placed therein. Allah says in the 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.” [Qur’an: Chapter 29, Verse 20]
We have all had great holidays at some point in our lives, at times with family or friends and at times in one’s own solitary company. Some of us have traveled more frequently and widely, while others less so. Experience, the most effective teacher, coaches us in making one’s holiday trip not only fun and productive but also free of unpleasant circumstances and worries. Here is a set of things that one should do before embarking on a journey:
Gathering relevant information about your holiday destination is the first step towards planning a good holiday.
How to begin?
Take advice or recommendations from a friend or family member regarding an enjoyable place for a vacation. Make a list of all the locations you find interesting before zeroing in on one specific place.
How to select a good holiday destination?
You will find it useful to prioritize different locations on the prepared list on the basis of how Shariah-compliant these locations are. Don’t forget to take your family members’ opinions on board!
How to gauge the ‘Shariah compliance’ of a location?
Allah enjoins upon us to lead a balanced life. Since you are holidaying and are a responsible Muslim, you should be very mindful of the set of activities that one may encounter and how to deal with their permissibility or impermissibility in Islam.
Some aspects that Muslims should give particular attention to while choosing their holiday destination:
Obtaining halal food
Obtaining halal goods and services
Dining in alcohol-free dining areas
Accessing prayer facilities easily
Finding recreational activities, such as beach and pool activities that women can enjoy with their family
Many countries are investing in halal tourism. Malaysia, for example, has taken the lead in promoting halal goods and services, making the experience more enjoyable for Muslims at any time of the year. Once you have decided on your holiday destination that allows you to practice your deen as well as to spend quality time with your family, the next most important thing you must do is plan and budget!
Plan and Budget
There is a famous quotation, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. With respect to a productive holiday, a Muslim should plan out the following:
The number of days you intend to stay in a place and the places you’d like to visit
Travel with a group of people whenever possible. The Prophet(pbuh) said:
“If the people knew what I know about being alone, no one would ever travel alone at night.” [Sahih Bukhari]
The expenditure you are going to incur throughout the trip. Divide the expenditure into categories of food, shopping, accommodation and recreation. It is pertinent that you follow your budget to avoid unpleasant post-holiday regrets and worries. It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said:
“When a man spends on his family, seeking reward for that, that is an act of charity on his part.”
While budgeting the expenditure, remember that it is best to adopt the middle path – one of balance. It is imperative that we avoid overindulgence as well as miserliness.
Leave behind enough funds for your dependents on whom you are obliged to spend.
Embarking on the Journey
Bid farewell to friends, family and neighbors!
Appoint the wisest among you as the leader: The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said:
“When three persons set out on a journey, they should appoint one of them as their leader.” [Abu Dawud]
Understand the traditions, customs and values of the local people of the country you are visiting and honor them. If they involve something that goes against Islamic teachings, do not indulge in them.
Make dua while you are travelling. Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said:
“Three supplications are accepted, there is no doubt in them (about them being accepted): The supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveler, and the supplication of a father against his son.” [Jami at-Tirmidhi]
Respect for Humanity
The world that Allah has created is composed of a kaleidoscope of all shades of life, of colors and fruits, seasons and rivers, trees and people themselves. Allah has said in the Holy Qur’an:
“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 most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Qur’an: Chapter 49, Verse 13].
Meeting new people from all walks of life is a unique gift of holidays and travelling. Bound in a single web of universal brotherhood, one can do da’wah by being an exemplary Muslim through one’s beliefs, morals and good manners.