With year-end comes the inevitable holiday. As with everything a Muslim does, this needs to be in line with regulations laid out by Allah Ta’ala.
Here are a few hints and tips:
Destinations and travel routes need to be chosen to, as far as possible, cater for the spiritual needs of a Muslim traveller in terms of facilities for ablution, prayer and dietary requirements.
Check up on destinations that might be hotspots of prejudice and crime that can be avoided. Look out for alternative destinations that are user-friendly to all religions.
The Qur’aan several times advises us to travel the world and take lesson from the people of the past. Therefore, our holiday should also encompass worthy intentions such as seeing the beauty of Allah Ta’ala’s creation in nature, thereby increasing our faith in Him as we marvel at the wondrous sights.
Be courteous at all times, no matter how ludicrous the requests. Islam teaches patience under trying circumstances.
Request to be present and that a female official conducts body searches if female members of the family are to be searched. Most airports comply with this request.
Holidays can be trying times especially with high traffic volumes on roads and airport checks. Muslims need to adhere to the Qur’anic injunction to repay rude conduct with good character. Obey the rules of the road or airline luggage/check-in regulations. Islam dicourages offending other people even in small things like offensive smells.
Following regulations will save one from unIslamic actions such as offering a ‘gift’ in exchange of favours on extra weight or on being stopped while speeding. Why set a bad example to family members and discredit Islam with such unsavoury actions?
The obligation to perform prayers is not revoked when travelling, but there are concessions such as shortening of prayers, etc.
Ensure that ablution and prayer is done in a manner that gives due consideration to the comforts of fellow travellers.
Be an ambassador for Islam wherever you go in the world.
With the advance in technology has come new methods of food preparation. Do your homework before leaving on holiday to ensure that food and its preparation is in line with Islamic rules.
Food outlets, in particular non-Muslim places, with Haraam food or alcohol on their menus cannot be patronised. There is a high risk of contamination with Haraam ingredients in foods such as breads, soups, etc. Experience has shown that there can exist major flaws in the checks of airline catering kitchens despite designation of meals as Muslim, vegetarian, seafood, etc. Many airlines might not comprehend the true requirements of Halaal and rely on the concept that, ‘no wine-no pork equals Halaal.’
For local flights the safest is a fruit platter ordered in advance. For long haul flights this can be supplemented with a variety of snack type foods such as nuts, biscuits, dried fruit, confectionary etc. What may not be accepted is prepared and certain processed foods. Home cooked meals run the risk of being confiscated and so does fresh fruit and vegetables.
Exotic destinations might spring surprises as well: Did you know that ‘Cricket-lick-it lollipop’ from Texas contains a real cricket? In Japan if you were served ‘hachi-no-ko’ and ‘inago’, you would be eating boiled wasp larvae and fried grasshopper. The ‘red jelly candy cubes’ sold all over Vietnam is made from the blood of pigs, poultry and other animals. ‘Chitterling’ in France are the intestines of young pigs and in China anything that moves is considered fair game.
The food may be Halaal, but it doesn’t stop there: activities you indulge in on holiday need to also be Halaal, as do your dressing and conduct.
Adequate preparation needs to be made so that prayers are not missed. Salaah times need to be worked out in advance, taking into account the variation in latitude and longitude.
The rules regarding determination of Qibla while in an area without a Musjid or on a plane need to also be revised.
This advisory is not conclusive but just a guideline. With a little practice, a Muslim can successfully incorporate Islam’s rules into any situation, anywhere and still have fun.

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