Ustaz Irwan Hadi Mohd Suhaimy

A member of the Asatizah Youth Network (AYN)

2 Ways to Make Your Travel a Spiritual Experience


With the coming of December, many of us will be packing our bags and travelling all around the world. Some will be going on solo trips while others will be with their families. Some will be embarking on a long, planned trip to exotic lands, while others may be embarking on a spiritual journey to sacred lands. All of us are sojourners seeking respite from the wear of the daily demands of work and school, and seeking to spend some quality time with our loved ones. Whatever the reasons may be for our trips, there are a few things that we may wish to consider as we embark on our journey:

1. Remember Allah and His Messenger
As we travel and leave our troubles behind, don’t forget to keep Allah SWT and Rasulullah PBUH in our hearts and "bring" them along with us. What do I mean by this?

Throughout the year, our daily work and school activities would have occupied our minds and take their toll on our physical, mental and even emotional states. So heavy the weight of the demands of our daily lives may be, that we may not have even been able to fully focus our minds, hearts and souls on our worship and remembrance of God, except during the occasional breaks that we may have.

Thus, the trip that we will be or are already embarking upon would be an opportune time to also "catch up" with God and Rasulullah SAW. As we sit on the beautiful shores of beach resorts, or as we observe the sunrise or sunset atop the hills or mountains, let us not forget the Creator that has given us such beauty.


One of the things I would recommend is to do dzikr, and to meditate as we observe the beautiful sights of nature unfolding before us. As we are travelling on our long flights, train rides or even drives, other than watching movies (of course!), I would recommend that some time to be set aside for us to send selawat on our Prophet PBUH.

In a hadith narrated by Ubay bin Ka'ab, may Allah be pleased with him, he once asked the Prophet PBUH,
"O Prophet, how much of my supplication should I dedicate to you?"
He replied, “As you desire.”
I said, “A quarter of it?”
He said, “As you desire, but if you were to increase upon this, it would be better for you.”
I said, “Half of it?”
He said, “As you desire, but if you were to increase upon this, it would be better for you.”
I said, “Two-thirds of it?”
He said again, “As you desire, but if you were to increase upon this, it would be better for you.”
Finally I said, “And if I dedicate my supplication in its entirety to you?”
He said, “Then your needs will be satisfied, and your sins forgiven.”

(Narrated by Imam Ahmad and Imam Tirmidzi)

Another recommendation is that before you leave for the day's activities, it would be a good time to perform the Dhuha prayer, which we would otherwise not be able to perform during normal working days.


Additionally, where possible, since the holidays is a time to catch up with our families, why not also pray in congregation as a family? After all, as the saying goes, “A family that prays together, stays together.”

2. Find out more about the culture and history of the place we are visiting
If museums are not the places for some to go on holidays, the history and culture of the people can also be found from getting to know their daily lives. As we visit places, we can strike up conversations with our tour guide or people on the streets.

We can ask them how they lead their lives, and about the unique cultures and history of their country. You may be surprised that people are actually more than willing to share about their homeland and cultures.


Such an endeavour is in fact a celebration of the Quranic value of ta'arafu, as mentioned in the Quran Al-Hujurat verse 13,
"O humankind, 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."

But then comes the question of why is it important to know the culture and history of the place and people that we are visiting? I just want to go on holiday!

Little do we know that such an act has the capability to actually nurture in ourselves, and our children, an appreciation for the vast diversity of God's creations. The realisation of different languages, cultures and nuances in how different societies lead their daily lives - whether they are in agreement with our beliefs or level of comfort or otherwise - has the ability of expanding our horizons and enriching our holidays further.


To understand the challenges and tribulations of the residents of the places that we visit would invoke in us empathy for the people hosting us, gratitude for things that we may already have but they have been deprived of, and even love for different cultures. And with that, we may learn to embrace diversity and have confidence whenever we are confronted with any acts, practices and even beliefs that are alien to us.

So, as you experience the food and meet the people from various cities, do strike up a conversation. Our realisation of vast, diverse cultures is, in fact, a realisation of God's greatness.

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