TRAVEL IN THE NAME OF YOUR LORD. - By I.F. Ernesta

“And when the Salah has ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah, and remember Allah much so that you may be successful.” (Q62:10) In today\'s day and age, travel is an everyday occurrence for most people around the world. It may be for studies, work, to visit family or simply for pleasure & recreation. It may be for just a short distance across our own land or a longer journey crossing many lands and cultures. It all leads to the world becoming a smaller place. A more accessible place. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), “International Tourism is expected to reach one billion in 2012”. One billion people that is. Staggering isn\'t it? Recently, it was widely reported in the international media that we have supposedly hit a world population of 7 billion. That means, 1 seventh of the entire global population will travel internationally as tourists this year alone. “International tourism hit new records in 2011 despite the challenging conditions,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “For a sector directly responsible for 5% of the world’s GDP, 6% of total exports and employing one out of every 12 people in advanced and emerging economies alike, these results are encouraging, coming as they do at a time in which we urgently need levers to stimulate growth and job creation,” he added. \'\'So what?\'\', you\'re asking, \'\'What\'s any of this got to do with me?\'\' Well, a lot actually. You may already be planning to be one of that one billion this year. And if not, why? As a Muslim, \'travel\' could and should be an important part of your faith. Travel is mentioned numerous times in the Quran, often in the imperative form, making it, in essence, an order or command from Allah. Otherwise it occurs as a question, asking rhetorically, “Have they not travelled in the land...” He asks us in these various verses to seek out His bounty or in other words, our livelihoods. He also asks us to seek knowledge and to pass it on. Allah asks us to search out his awe-inspiring creations, the wonders of nature and contemplate that He is the One who created it all. He asks us to look at those who have gone before us and remember what happened to those \'great\' civilizations. He even tells us that if we are not free in one part of the world, then the world is vast, and so we can move on to make a life elsewhere%2C as Prophet Mohammed (SAW) himself did. We also know that the traveller is held in high rank by Allah. There are many verses that ask the believers to give charity to travellers. They are generally listed in the verses along with the orphans and the needy. “So give the relative his right, as well as the needy and the traveller. That is best for those who desire Allah\'s pleasure, and it is they who will be the successful.” (Q30:38) If we take a step back, we can turn each journey we undertake into a generator of reward. We can do this by a simple intention. The intention being to fulfil Allah\'s commands. So if you are travelling for work or business, remember the Quranic verse  at the beginning of this article “And when the Salah has ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah, and remember Allah much so that you may be successful.” (Q62:10) If, however, you are travelling to visit relatives or friends, remember Allah asks us to keep good ties with our relatives and friends, so by making this your intention, again you are fulfilling your duties. travel1 Many people, including myself,%20simply travel to take a break or have a new experience. Whether you travel to a historical heritage site such as the Pyramids of Egypt, Machu Pichu in Peru or Petra in Jordan. “Do they not travel through the Earth and see what was the end of those before them? They were greater in number than these and superior in strength and in the traces in the land: Yet all that they accomplished was of no profit to them” (Q40:82) or to a spot of outstanding natural beauty such as the deserts of Arabia, the snow-capped mountains of Asia or the thunderous waterfalls of Niagara Falls in North America, “Say: Travel through the Earth and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things.” (Q29:20) You can turn any and every trip into a way of worshipping the Creator and fulfilling the commandment repeated again and again in the book of Allah.Before you do set off on your next journey, I want to introduce you to a website that I found quite interesting www.crescentrating.com. It is fairly limited at the moment but the more people participating, the better the website will get. It is full of useful hints and tips for Muslim travellers of the world. It has halal-friendly ratings for hotels & a list of the most welcoming countries with the best facilities for Muslims. There are several pages dedicated to travel Hadith, prayers and etiquettes.  It contains guides on most countries including local masjids. Don\'t despair if the country you want to visit isn\'t listed, use the search facility on the home page which is a Google custom search, meaning it is specifically tailored and only brings back articles about the places in relation to Muslims. A great feature I have found very useful. I don\'t just encourage you to use it, I encourage you to participate, which in turn will help other Muslim travellers with any useful knowledge of a place you may have been by writing a review or adding a facility. Insha\'Allah, in the future I will write more about my own travel experiences pass on advice and hopefully share some useful websites but I didn\'t want to start this section without first talking about intention. In the end, we all travel to different places for different reasons but before any of it begins we must think \'Why\'? And I ask Allah to bless all the travellers out there, grant them the good in it and protect from the evil%20in it. Ameen.*ref: http://media.unwto.org/en/press-release/2012-01-16/international-tourism-reach-one-billion-2012 ref: Various English translations of the Quran

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