Counsels on Travelling
You must hold fast to all the acts of devotion which you perform regularly when you are not travelling. Do not make light of leaving any of them. You should make up any acts of devotion which you are unable to perform due to travelling when you are able to do so, if they are of the sort which can be made up. If it is not possible to make them up, then remember that Allah has made things easy for people travelling. The hadith states: “If a believer travels or becomes sick, Allah orders His angels to record for him the same actions that he would perform when he was not travelling and was in good health.”1 This is a blessing, a mercy and ease from Allah. All praise be to Allah – He is so merciful and kind to His slaves!
Beware of belittling the dispensations of shortening and joining one’s prayers when it is permissible to do so, for “Allah loves for people to take His dispensations just as He loves people to perform that which has normally been made compulsory for them.”2
Be consistent in reading the supplications that it is recommended to read while travelling, such as the supplication you read upon mounting (your horse) or dismounting,3 or the supplication you read upon entering a town. You will find a large amount of these in al-Adhkar [of Imam al-Nawawi] so look for them and memorise them.
When you travel, make your spiritual ambition drive your feet forward and make your heart travel with your body. Let reliance upon Allah be your provision, having a good opinion of Him your support, truthfulness your vehicle and neediness and brokenness your inner and outer garments. Let your contentment with Him to the exclusion of all others be your companion.
You must purify your intention to go to Allah’s Sacred House, to perform the rights of hajj, to venerate the things which He has made inviolable and sacred and to visit the grave of His Prophet ﷺ. In your journey to those places you should have no other purpose or aim except this and any other praiseworthy intention connected to this. Beware of combining these noble intentions with the desire for recreation or trade.
You must make tawaf (circumambulation) of the Ancient House in abundance, for the one making tawaf is immersed in mercy. While you are doing so, your hearts should be overflowing with veneration and magnification for the Lord of the House. Do not busy yourselves with anything other than recitation of the Qur’ān, remembrance of Allah and supplication. Beware of idle speech.
Be consistent in reading the adhkar and supplications which should be read during tawaf and sa`i and in other places on the hajj. You should also have the utmost concern for visiting all the sacred places.
You should perform `umrah in abundance, especially in the month of Ramadan, for performing one `umrah in Ramadan is equal in reward to performing hajj with the Prophet ﷺ.
You must have veneration for the two Sacred Precincts and observe the correct etiquette in them. You must also honour those living there, and give them the right due to them for living in proximity to those blessed places. Maintain a good opinion of them specifically and of the Muslims generally. If you see or hear something you dislike, be patient and remain silent. However, if you are able to openly speak the truth then do so, for no one has any excuse to remain silent unless he is absolutely certain he is unable to change a wrong that is being committed.
One of the best states to be in is to focus fully on Allah and on worshipping Him such that you are unaware of the state of those around you, since the people of this time have contravened the way of the pious predecessors and left behind their praiseworthy teachings. The one who Allah guides is rightly guided; but the one who Allah causes to go astray – for him you will find no protector to guide him.4
You must perform abundant pious acts in the Sacred Precinct in Makkah, for one good deed therein is rewarded one hundred thousand times over. This multiplication is narrated specifically regarding the prayer by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ but some scholars regard it to apply to all acts of obedience. Just as the reward for acts of obedience is far greater in the Sacred Precinct, likewise acts of disobedience are far graver therein. One of the pious predecessors said: “There is no place where someone is taken to account for wishing to commit an act of disobedience other than Makkah.” The scholars use as evidence for this Allah’s saying: If Anyone wishes therein to do wrong out of deviance We will cause him to taste a painful punishment.5
Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: “I would prefer to commit seventy sins outside the Sacred Precinct than to commit one sin in Makkah.” May Allah protect Makkah, and increase it in greatness, stature and nobility.
When you reach His inviolable House and your eyes gaze upon it, make your heart gaze upon the Lord of the House. Ḥajj has an outer element and an inner element. The outer element is the Sacred Law (shari`ah) and the inner element is reality (haqiqah). Do not focus on one element to the exclusion of the other, but rather combine the two.
Know that there is a house inside you that belongs to Allāh, which is your heart. He has ordered Ibrahim (your knowledge) and Isma`il (your intellect) to purify it for the angels and spirits who wish to make tawaf (circumambulation) of it, seclude themselves in it, bow and prostrate in it.6 Anyone who possesses neither Ibrahim nor Isma`il is ignorant and foolish, and the Fire will consume him. Anyone who possesses them both but does not allow them to purify the house so that it is fit for those who wish to make tawaf (circumambulation) of it and seclude themselves in it, is a representative of the Devil. An example of such a person is a heedless scholar who does not act according to the dictates of his knowledge and intellect.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Zamzam water is what it is drunk for.” This means that if someone drinks it for a sickness, Allah will heal them; if someone drinks it for hunger, Allah will cause them to be satiated and if someone drinks it for a need, Allah will fulfill that need. This is because the well was brought forth when Allah’s aid was sought and Allah gave relief to Isma`il by it. The great Imams have tried this with their own needs and found the Prophet’s words to be true. However, it requires a correct intention and sincerity and it is not for everyone.
Stories of the Pious
This conclusion is somewhat appropriate to the counsels which preceded it, and someone of intellect and intelligence may derive etiquettes from these narrations which he should observe in those sacred places.
Mentioning the pious predecessors and their lives gives comfort to travellers on the path to the next life, for they are the examples which we should take. Looking at their striving helps seekers to realise their shortcomings. If someone looks at the people of his time and their heedlessness and procrastination, he will most often become proud of himself or harbour a bad opinion of them, both of which are blameworthy. The felicitous one is someone who emulates the pious predecessors, uses them as a proof against himself and drives himself to walk in their footsteps and to follow their straight path.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ made hajj riding on a shabby-looking saddle, under which was a rug worth less than four dirhams. On his return he said: “O Allah, make it a blessed Ḥajj. Let there be no ostentation in it, nor reputation-seeking.”
`Umar made tawaf around the House. He placed his hand on the Black Stone, kissed it and then cried. Then he said: “By Allah, I know that you are a Stone that cannot harm or benefit anyone. Had I not seen the Messenger of Allah doing this, I would not have done it.” Then he turned round and saw `Ali (may Allah ennoble him) behind him. He said to him: “O Abu al-Hasan, this is the place where tears flow.”`Ali said to him: “On the contrary, O Leader of the Believers, this Stone harms and benefits people. When Allah took the covenant with the progeny of Adam and said to them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’, He recorded this and this Stone swallowed this document. It will then bear witness to anyone who touches it with truthfulness.”
A man met `Abdullah bin `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) while making tawaf. He asked `Abdullah bin `Umar for something but he did not respond. `Abdullah bin `Umar met the man again later and said to him: “Perhaps you were upset when I did not respond to you. Do you not know that when we make tawaf we present ourselves to Allah? In any case your need has been answered.”
Taus said: “I saw `Ali (Zayn al-`Abidin) the son of Imam al-Husayn in the depths of the night standing in prayer in the Hijr so I came close to him, saying to myself, ‘This is a pious man from the People of the House. Perhaps I will hear him say something that will benefit me.’ I heard him saying while in prostration: ‘A beggar is at Your door, a poor man is at Your door, Your needy slave is at Your door.’8 Whenever I called upon Allah using these words, my prayers were answered.”
It was said that when `Ali (Zayn al-`Abidin) the son of Imam al-Husayn entered into ihram he wished to say ‘labbayk’, but instead he started shaking, his colour changed and he fell off his camel. When he was asked what happened he said: “I feared that I would say labbayk – responding to the call of my Lord – and it would be completely rejected.”
Salim bin `Abdullah bin `Umar met Hisham bin `Abd al-Malik who was then the governor of Makkah inside the Ka`bah. Hisham said to him: “Ask me, that I may fulfill your need.”
“I would be ashamed to ask other than Him, when I am in His House.” When they were outside the House, Hisham said to him: “You are now outside, so ask what you wish.” Salim said: “Do you mean from the things of this world or the next world?” “All I possess are the things of this world.” “I did not ask for worldly things from the One Who possesses them, so why would I ask them from anyone other than Him?”
A pious man said: “I once saw a man performing tawaf and sa`i. His slaves were around him driving people out of his way to make space for him. I later saw him in Baghdad begging. I asked him what had happened and he said: ‘I showed arrogance in a place where people show humility so Allah humbled me in a place where people show arrogance.’”
Al-Hasan al-Basri once stood at `Arafat in the sun on an extremely hot day. He was asked: “Why do you not move into the shade?” He replied: “I did not realise I was in the sun. I recalled a sin that I had committed and I did not feel the heat of the sun.” It was so hot that had someone wrung out his clothes, sweat would have run forth from them. This sin that he recalled was probably a mere thought that had it come to anyone else’s mind, they would not have even considered it a minor sin. This is the veneration the pious predecessors had for their Lord and their distance from acts of disobedience.
A man once took seven stones from `Arafat and made them bear witness to his testimony that there is no god but Allāh. He then saw in a dream that he was standing in front of Allāh to be judged. He was taken to account and then ordered to be taken to the Fire. However, whenever he was brought to one of the seven gates of the Fire, a stone came and blocked his entrance. He realised that these stones were the same stones that had born witness to his testimony. Then his testimony was brought and the gate of Paradise was opened to him.
`Ali bin al-Muwaffaq said: “On the eve of the Day of `Arafah I saw in my dream two angels who had descended from the heavens. One said to the other: “Do you know how many people have come to our Lord’s House to perform Ḥajj this year?” “No,” said the other. “Six hundred thousand,” he said. “Do you know how many have been accepted?” “No.” “Six people.” So I remained in a state of sorrow and distress. I said to myself, ‘What chance do I have of being among those six?’ The following night, the eve of the Day of Slaughter, I saw the two angels again. One said to the other: “Do you know what the judgement of our Lord was?” “No,” said the other. “He gave one hundred thousand people to each of the six (and thus accepted them all).” Upon hearing this, I woke up in a state of joy that was indescribable.
Turning to the Messenger of Allah
We round off these counsels with Imam al-Haddad’s address to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ on one of his visits to him.
أَتَيْنَاكَ زَوَّاراً نَرُومُ شَفَاعَةً إِلى اللهِ في مَحْوِ الإِسَاءَةِ و الذَّنْبِ
و في النَّفْسِ حَاجَاتٌ و ثَمَّ مَطَالِبُ نُؤَمِّلُ أَنْ تُقْضى بِجَاهِكَ يا مُحْبِي
تَوَجَّهْ رَسولَ للهِ في كُلِّ حَاجَةٍ لنا و مُهِمٍّ في المعَاشِ و في القَلْبِ
و إِنَّ صَلاحَ الدِّينِ و القَلْبِ سَيِّدي هُوَ الغَرَضُ الأَقْصى فَيَا سَيِّدي قُمْ بِي
عَلَيْكَ صَلاةُ اللهِ يا خَيْرَ مُهْتَدٍ و هادٍ بِنُورِ اللهِ في الشَّرْقِ و الغَرْبِ
We have come to you as visitors, aiming to attain your intercession with Allah in wiping out our sins and wrongdoings
In our souls are needs and requests that we hope to be fulfilled through your status, O Giver
Turn (to Allah), O Messenger of Allah, regarding every need and concern of ours in our worldly lives and in our hearts
The rectification of my religion and my heart is my utmost goal, my Master, so assist me.
May Allah’s blessings be upon you, for you are the best one who guides by the light of Allah in the East and West.
[Taken from Imam al-Haddad’s al-Wasaya al-Naf`iah, from his Diwan and from al-Fuyudat al-Rabbaniyyah by Habib Zayn bin Sumayt]
1 Narrated by al-Bukhari
2 Narrated by Ahmad, al-Bayhaqi and al-Tabarani.Rukhsah is a dispensation; `azimah (strictness) is what Allah initially legislates of general rulings not concerned with one circumstance rather than other, or one individual rather than other. (“Reliance of the Traveller,” N. Keller c6.1-2).
3 In our times this applies to any vehicle which you may board.
4 Al-Kahf, 18:17
5 Al- Hajj, 22:25
6 The Imam is referring to Allah’s saying: We took a covenant with Ibrahim and Isma‘il that they purify My House for those who wish to make ṭawāf (circumambulation) of it, seclude themselves in it, bow and prostrate in it (al-Baqarah, 2:125).
7The hijr is the crescent shaped area immediately adjacent to the Ka’bah. It was originally part of the Ka’bah.
8 The prayer in Arabic is: