Going on a Journey:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Travel and be sound in health, and fight (in the cause of Allah) and be enriched." (Ahmad. Almanawi considers this a sound hadith)
Leaving One's House for What is Dear to Allah:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "No one leaves his home without two banners waiting at his door, one of them in the hands of an angel and the other in the hands of a devil. If he intends to do what pleases Allah the angel will follow him with his standard, and he will remain under the banner of the angel until he returns to his house, but if he sets out for what displeases Allah the devil with his banner will follow him about, and he will remain under the devil's banner until he returns to his house." (Ahmad and At-Tabarani. Its chain of authorities is sound)
Consultation and Istikharah Before Setting out on a Journey:
Istikhara (Arabic) means to ask Allah to guide one to the right thing concerning any affair in one's life, especially when one has to choose between two permissible alternatives. A traveller should consult good righteous persons before setting out on a journey, because Allah says, "And consult them (O Prophet) in affairs (of moment)," (Qur'an 3.159) and one of the characteristics of the believers is that "they (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation" (Qur'an 42.38).
Qatadah said, "Every people who seek the pleasure of Allah and consult with one another are guided to the best course in their affairs."
The traveller should also make istikharah and seek guidance from Allah. Sa' d ibn Waqas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Istikharah (seeking guidance from Allah) is one of the distinct favors (of Allah) upon man, and a good fortune for the son of Adam is to be pleased with the judgment of Allah. And a misfortune of the son of Adam is his failure to make istikharah (seeking Allah's guidance), and a misfortune for the son of Adam is his displeasure with the judgment of Allah." Ibn Taimiyyah said, "He who seeks guidance from the Creator and consults the creatures will never regret it."
How to make Istikharah:
For this purpose one should pray two non-obligatory raka'at of prayer, even if they are of the regular sunnah prayers or a prayer for entering the mosque, and so on, during any time of the day or night. One should recite in them whatever one wishes of the Qur'an, after reciting al-Fatihah. Then one should praise Allah and invoke blessings upon the Prophet, peace be upon him. After this one should supplicate to Allah with the following supplication, which Jabir Ibn 'Abdullah has reported from the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he related, "The Prophet, peace be upon him, taught us how to make Istikharah in all (our) affairs, just as he taught us various surahs of the Qur'an. He told us, 'If anyone of you considers doing something he should offer a two-rak'at prayer other than the obligatory prayers, and then say (after the prayer), "Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi'ilmika. wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, wa as'aluka min fadlika al-azimfa-innaka taqdiru wala aqdiru, wa ta'lamu wala a ' lamu, wa anta 'allamu-l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta ta' lamu anna hadhaI-amra khairun lifi dini wa ma'ashi wa aqibati amri (or 'ajili amri wa'ajilihi) f aqdirhu li wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li fihi, wa in kunta ta'llamu anna hadha-l-amra sharrun lifi dini wa ma'ashi wa-aqibati amri (orfi'ajili amri wa ajilihi) fasrifhu anni was-rifni'anhu. Wa aqdir li al-khaira haithu kana thumma ardini bihi (O Allah ! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, and Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this thing is good for my din and my subsistence and for my Hereafter - (or say, If it is better for my present and later needs) - then ordain it for me and make it easy for me to obtain, and then bless me in it. If You know that this thing is harmful to me in my din and subsistence and in the Hereafter--(or say, If it is worse for my present and later needs)--then keep it away from me, and keep me away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it)."' The Prophet, may peace be upon him, added that then the person should mention his need."
There is nothing authentic concerning anything specific that is to be recited in the prayer nor is there any authentic report concerning how many times one should repeat it.
An-Nawawi holds that "after making istikharah, a person must do what he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he had desired to do before making the istikharah. And if his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do, for otherwise he is not leaving the choice to Allah, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allah's power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah's choice, means that one should completely abandon what one desired oneself."
Travelling on Thursday is Preferred:
Bukhari reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, seldom set out on a journey except on Thursday.
Offering Two Raka'at Before the Journey:
Al-Mut'am ibn al-Miqdam reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "No one leaves anything behind with his family better than the two raka'at of prayers that he offers with them while intending to go on a journey." (At-Tabarani and Ibn 'Asakir as a mursal hadith)
It is Preferred to have Companions for the Journey:
Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, forbade loneliness, i.e., that a man should sleep alone at night, or go on a journey alone. (Ahmad)
Umar ibn Shu'aib reported from his father and he from his grandfather that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "A single horseman (traveller) is a devil, two are two devils, but three are a caravan."
Bidding Farewell to One's Relatives, Asking them for Prayers, and Praying for Them:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Anyone intending to go on a journey should say to those staying behind, 'I commend you to Allah Whose trusts are never lost'." (Ibn As-Sinni)
'Umar reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "When something is entrusted to the care of Allah, He guards it." (Ahmad)
It is reported from Abu Huraraih that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "When one of you intends to go on a journey, he should bid farewell to his brothers, for Allah will make their prayers a means of good."
It is sunnah that the members of the family, as well as the friends and those who see the traveller off should pray for him as in the following prayer transmitted from the Prophet.
Salim reported that when someone wanted to leave for a journey 'Ibn Umar would say to him, "Come over to me so that I may bid you farewell as the Prophet, peace upon him, used to bid us farewell," and that he used to say, "To Allah I commend your din (Islam), your trust (That is his family, those he leaves behind, and his property), and the conclusion of your deeds."'
In another report we read that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, bid farewell to a man he would hold his hand and would not leave it until the man himself dropped the Prophet' s hand. The rest of the hadith is similar to the one given above. Tirmidhi considers this a sound (hasan sahih) hadith.
Anas reported that a man came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said, "O Allah's Messenger, I intend to go on a journey, so please give me provision for the journey." The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied, "May Allah provide you with piety (taqwa)." The man said, "Give me some more provision." The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "And may Allah forgive your sins." The man said, "Give me still more." The Prophet, peace be upon him, then replied, "And may Allah facilitate good for you wherever you may be." Tirmidhi considers this a sound hadith. (Reported by Abu Daw'ud and Tirmidhi, who considers it to be a sound, hasan sahih, hadith)
Abu Hurairah reported that a man said to the Prophet, peace be upon him, "O Allah's Messenger, I intend to proceed on a journey, so give me some advice." The Prophet, peace be upon him, said to him, "Fear Allah, the Mighty and the Exalted, and glorify Him on every elevated piece of ground." When the man turned away to go, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "O Allah, make the distance short for him, and make his journey easy for him." Tirmidhi considers this a sound hadith.
Asking the Traveller "Pray for Us":
'Umar ibn al-Khattab reports, "I sought permission of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to perform 'umrah. He gave me permission and said, 'My brother, do not forget me in your prayers' ." 'Umar reported further, "This was a word more pleasing to me than the entire wealth of the world." (Reported by Abu Daw'ud and Tirmidhi, who holds it to be a sound hadith)
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