The simple act of being grateful has immeasurable rewards for our mental well-being, peace, life’s…
Ready, Set, Travel!
Living during the Covid-19 pandemic has given us the opportunity to truly count all the blessings and privileges we had prior to these unusual circumstances. Among the opportunities that we had was the ability to travel and experience different sights, communities, and cultures. The chance to visit and experience unique places is exhilarating and contributes to our cultural understanding of others. It also has many benefits. The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) states, “Travel, for it will make you healthy and wealthy.”1
Benefits of Traveling
There are numerous advantages to travel including, but not limited to, mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. Traveling to areas that we have not visited before proves to have many mental and physical health benefits. Experts say visiting new places can “create stronger antibodies and boost your immune system significantly.”2 Taking time off from work for a few days also proves to reduce chronic stress and depression and lowers the chances of sudden death and heart diseases.3
Furthermore, going on vacation forces us to get in some much-needed exercise. By going to new places, we want to see the tour sites, local markets, and nature all of which allow us to walk or hike.
Moreover, traveling allows us to uplift our spiritual health by finding a connection with God. Going to places with beautiful scenery, for example, makes us reflect on God’s fascinating creation. God states this in numerous verses in the Holy Quran that command us to contemplate and reflect on His signs—the mountains, oceans, and other scenic sights. For example, He states, “The creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and the night are evidence (of the existence of God) for people of reason. It is these who speak of God while standing, sitting, or resting on their sides and who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and say, ‘Lord, you have not created all this without reason. Glory be to you. Lord, save us from the torment of the fire.”4 Travel is a great opportunity to find connection with the Creator.
Etiquette of Traveling
As we know, the religion of Islam and teachings of our beloved Prophet and his family (pbut), provide us with advice for just about every dimension of our lives, from recommended prayers and supplications to table manners to encountering challenges in relationships, the words of the purified household give us comprehensive direction in terms of how to live our life—including the etiquette of travel. For example, traditions report that in one of his travels, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) ordered his companions to slaughter a sheep. One of his companions said, “I will slaughter it,” another [companion] said, “I will skin it,” another [companion] said, “I will cut it,” another [companion] said, “I will cook it,” The Messenger of God (pbuh&hp) said, “I will collect firewood.”5 Delegation of responsibility in a trip eases the burden of important tasks. Designating a leader or a guide is a simple and practical step to make our journey more enjoyable.
Moreover, giving charity has numerous benefits such as increasing sustenance and removing calamities; it also has the power to protect us during our trips. Imam al-Sadiq (p) states, “Commence your journey with the giving of charity, and leave when the time seems right, for you buy the safety of your journey [by giving charity].”6
Finally, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) encourages us to bring back souvenirs for our families upon our return. He states, “When you go away on a journey, you should bring back a gift for your family, even if it is just a stone.”7 Naturally, giving our family, friends, and loved ones even a small token of remembrance contributes to increasing love, affection, and friendship.
Bits of Advice
1. Reflect and appreciate: The Holy Quran has numerous verses that command us to ponder the sights He has blessed us as they are all a manifestation of His reality.
2. Give charity and bring gifts for loved ones: As per the advice from the infallibles mentioned above, we should start any journey by giving charity and end it by bringing back gifts for our loved ones, because that is a kind gesture that will leave them feeling happy and joyful.
3. Set aside time for obligatory and recommended travel: While visiting new places has numerous benefits, we should not forget our obligatory and recommended journeys such as hajj and ziyarah (the visitation to the mausoleums of our Prophet [pbuh&hp] and Imams). These are not only enjoyable experiences but also feed our hearts and souls.
1. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 73, p. 221.
2. “Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Traveling Abroad,” The Yale Tribune, July 12, 2020, https://campuspress.yale.edu/tribune/scientifically-proven-health-benefits-of-traveling-abroad/.
3. “Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Traveling Abroad,” T1he Yale Tribune, July 12, 2020, https://campuspress.yale.edu/tribune/scientifically-proven-health-benefits-of-traveling-abroad/.
4. The Holy Quran 3:190–191, Muhammad Sarwar translation.
5. Al-Tabrasi, Makarim al-akhlaq, p. 286.
6. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 100, p. 103.
7. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 76, p. 283.
1. روي عن النبي (ص): “سافروا تصحوا، وجاهدوا تغنموا، وحجوا تستغنوا”
4. قال الله تعالى:)(إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ﴿١٩٠﴾ الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَـٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ((
5. روي عن النبي (ص) أنه أمر أصحابه بذبح شاة في سفر فقال رجل من القوم على ذبحها، وقال الآخر: على سلخها وقال آخر: علي قطعها وقال آخر: علي طبخها فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: علي أن القط لكم الحطب.
6. روي عن الإمام الصادق (ع): “افتتح سفرك بالصدقة واخرج إذا بدالك فإنك تشتري سلامة سفرك”
7. روي عن الإمام الصادق (ع): ” إذا سافر أحدكم فقدم من سفره فليأت أهله بما تيسر ولو بحجر”
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