“Safar” (سفر) in Arabic refers to traveling, going on a journey, or transportation. It is also the name of the second month in the Islamic lunar calendar. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), it was common for people to travel for trade, gathering provisions, or for other reasons during the month of Safar.
In addition to its general meaning of travel, Safar is also associated with certain supplications (duas) and practices according to the hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him). Muslims often recite specific duas for protection and blessings when embarking on a journey, regardless of the mode of transportation, be it by airplane, car, or boat. These supplications are meant to seek Allah’s guidance, protection, and blessings during the travel.
a supplication to be recited upon reaching a destination
اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ السَّبْعِ وَمَا أَظْلَلْنَ وَرَبَّ الَأَرَضِينَ السَّبْعِ وَمَا أَقْلَلْنَ وَرَبَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ وَمَا أَضْلَلْنَ وَرَبَّ الرِّيَاحِ وَمَا ذَرَيْنَ فَإِنَّا نَسْأَلُكَ خَيْرَ هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ وَخَيْرَ أَهْلَهَا وَنَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّهَا وَشَرِّ أَهْلِهَا وَشَرِّ مَا فِيهَا
Allhum rab alsamawat alsbʿ wama aẓlun wa-rab alarḍyn alsbʿ wama aqlun warab alshayaṭyn wama aḍlun warab alryaḥ wama duhryn finna nasalak khayr hudh alqarya wkhyr ahlha wanʿwdh baka mn shrha washr ahlha washr ma fyha.
“O Allah, You are the Lord of the seven skies and all the things that are under these skies, and the seven planets and whatever is over these, and of Satan who misled and all those misled by him, and for the wind and all that it blows. Thus, we seek the good of this town and the good of its members (people) and seek refuge from its evil and the evil of its members and from the evils of whatever is in it.” (Hisnul Hasin from Ibn Habban)
Preferable to Travel with Others:
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) emphasized the potential dangers of traveling alone, especially at night. The advice suggests that traveling with companions is safer and more prudent. Even though modern transportation has made night travel safer, the wisdom behind this guidance remains relevant, as being with others enhances safety and vigilance.
Ascending to Heights (Going on a Plane):
When ascending to heights, such as when boarding a plane, there is a recommended proclamation: “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greatest) when ascending and “Subhan Allah” (Allah is free from imperfection) when descending. This practice reflects the acknowledgment of Allah’s greatness and the expression of gratitude during different phases of the journey.
Shortened Prayer While Vacationing:
The hadith mentions that the Prophet (ﷺ) shortened prayers during a nineteen-day stay while traveling. This indicates the flexibility in Islamic practices, allowing for the shortening of prayers during travel. However, the duration of the stay is a factor, and if the journey extends beyond a certain period, regular (full) prayers are to be observed.
These teachings emphasize practical guidance for Muslims during travel, emphasizing safety, gratitude, and flexibility in religious practices based on the circumstances of the journey.