- 1 Prior to Departure
- 2 Dua During Travel
- 3 Salah during Travel
- 4 Ihram on the Aeroplane
- 5 Other Things to do on the Aeroplane
Prior to Departure
Before leaving the house, try to perform two Rakats of Nafl Salah. Provided it isn’t one of the forbidden times for prayer, observe the Salah with the intention of performing two Rakats Nafl to safeguard you from harm during your journey.
Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه reports that Rasulullah ﷺ said:
When you intend to leave your house, then perform two Rakats of Salah. These (two Rakats of Salah) will safeguard you from a harmful exit. When you enter your house (after the journey, then again) perform two Rakats of Salah. These (two Rakats of Salah) will safeguard you from a harmful entry.
[Narrated in Musnad al-Bazzar]
No specific Surahs have been prescribed for this Salah, so any Surah may be recited after Surah al-Fatiha.
Although it isn’t obligatory to perform this Salah, there is certainly great merit in its performance and it serves as a safeguard as mentioned by the Hadith.
After the Salah, make Dua for an easy journey and ask for assistance during your journey, as well as any other supplications you would like to make for yourself or friends and family you are leaving behind.
Upon leaving the house, recite the following Dua:
بِسْمِ اللهِ، تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللهِ، وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ
Bismillah, Tawakkaltu ‘Alallah, La Hawla wa La Quwwata Illa Billah.
In the Name of Allah. I put my Tawakkul (trust; reliance) in Allah. There is no power and no might except with Allah.
[Narrated in Sunan Abu Dawud]
Thereafter, the following Dua should be recited:
الَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَضِلَّ، أّوْ أُضَلَّ، أَوْ أَزِلَّ، أَوْ أُزَلَّ، أَوْ أَظْلِمَ، أَوْ أُظْلَمَ، أَوْ أَجْهَلَ، أَوْ يُجْهَلَ عَلَيَّ
Allahumma Inni A’udhu Bika An Adhilla aw Udhall, aw Azilla aw Uzall, aw Azhlima aw Uzhlam, aw Ajhala aw Yujhala ‘alay.
O Allah, I seek protection in You from misleading (others) and from being misled; from causing others to err and from being caused to err; from wronging and oppressing others and from being wronged or oppressed; from behaving with ignorance or (meeting those who) behave with ignorance.
[Narrated in Sunan Abu Dawud]
Dua During Travel
The following are certain supplications you should try to recite at the various junctures during your journey:
After you have boarded your means of transport, whether it is a car, bus or plane, recite the following Dua:
الله أكبر ألله أكبر الله أكبر, سُبْحَانَ الَّذِيْ سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِيْنَ, وَإِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا لَمُنْقَلِبُوْنَ, اللهُمَّ إِنَّا نَسْأَلُكَ فِيْ سَفَرِنَا هَذا البِرَّ وَالتَّقْوَى, وَمِنَ الْعَمَلِ مَا تَرْضَى, اللهُمَّ هَوِّنْ عَلَيْنَا سَفَرَنَا هَذَا, وَاطْوِ عَنَّا بُعْدَهُ, اللهُمَّ أنْتَ الصَّاحِبُ فِيْ السَّفَرِ وَالْخَلِيْفَةُ فَيْ الْأَهْلِ, اللهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ وَعْثَاءِ السَّفَرِ وَكَآبَةِ الْمَنْظَرِ وَسُوْءِ الْمُنْقَلِبِ فِيْ الْمَالِ وَالْأَهْلِ
Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar. Sub-hanalladhi Sakh-khara lana Hadha wa ma Kunna lahu Muqrinin, wa Inna ila Rabbina la-Munqalibun. Allahumma Inna Nas’aluka fis-Safarina Hadhal-Birra wat-Taqwa, wa minal ‘Amali ma Tardha. Allahumma Hawwin ‘alayna Safarana Hadha, wat-wi ‘Anna Bu’dah. Allahumma Antas-Sahibu fis-Safari wal-Khalifatu fil-Ahl. Allahumma Inni A’udhu bika Min Wa’tha’is Safari wa Ka’abatil Manzhari wa Su-il Munqalib fil-Mal wal-Ahl.
Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. Glory be to that Allah Who has subjugated this (transport) for us, and we ourselves would never have been capable of doing that, and indeed, to our Lord, we will all be returning. O Allah, we ask You to grant us Birr (righteousness) and Taqwa (God consciousness) in this journey of ours, and we ask You to make our deeds such as You are pleased with. O Allah, make this journey of ours easy for us and fold up for us its distance. O Allah, You are the Companion in travel and the One Who takes care of (our) families. O Allah, I seek protection in You from the difficulties of travel, from finding a distressing sight, and from an evil return (with regards to) my property and my family.
[Narrated in Sahih Muslim]
If you’re using a Muslim airline, such as Saudi Arabian Airlines, this Dua is read before take-off.
When your means of transport starts to move, recite the following Dua:
سْمِ اللَّهِ مَجْرَاهَا وَمُرْسَاهَا ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Bismillahi Majrai-ha wa-Mursa-ha Inna Rabbi la-Ghafur-ur-Rahim.
In the Name of Allah is its moving and its stopping. Indeed, my Lord is Most-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.
[Surah Hud, 11:41]
Disembarking from Transport
After you have disembarked from your means of transport, recite the following Dua:
رَبِّ أَنْزِلْنِي مُنْزَلًا مُبَارَكًا وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الْمُنْزِلِينَ
Rabbi Anzilni Munzalam Mubaraka, wa Anta Khayr-ul-Munzilin.
O Allah, let me disembark with a blessed disembarking, and You are the best of those who cause to disembark.
[Surah al-Muminun, 23:29]
Approaching a Town
Upon approaching a town or city during your journey, recite the following Dua:
اللهُمَّ رَبَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ السَّبْعِ وَمَا أَظْلَلْنَ وَرَبَّ الْأَرَضِيْنَ السَّبْعِ وَمَا أَقْلَلْنَ وَرَبَّ الشَّيَاطِيْنَ وَمَا أَضْلَلْنَ وَرَبَّ الرِّيَاحِ وَمَا ذَرَيْنَ, أَسْأَلُكَ خَيْرَ هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ وَخَيْرَ أَهْلِهَا وَخَيْرَ مَا فِيْهَا, وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّهَا وَشَرِّ أَهْلِهَا وَشَرِّ مَا فِيْهَا
Allahumma Rabb-as-Samawatis Sab’i wa ma Azhlalna, wa Rabbal Aradhinas Sab’i wa ma Aqlalna, wa Rabb-ash-Shayatina wa ma Adhlalna, wa Rabb-ar-Riyahi wa ma Dharayna, As’aluka Khayra Hadhihil Qaryati wa Khayra Ahliha wa Khayra ma fiha, wa A’udhu bika min Sharriha wa Sharri Ahliha wa Sharri ma fiha.
O Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and what they cover; Lord of the seven earths and what they carry; Lord of the Shayatin and all those they lead astray; Lord of the winds and what they scatter. I ask You (to grant me) the good of this town, the good of its people and the good of whatever is in it. And I seek protection in You from the evil of this town, the evil of its people and the evil of whatever is in it.
[Narrated in Sunan an-Nasa’i and Sahih Ibn Hibban]
Stopping for the Night
If you stop at night during your journey, recite the following Dua:
أَعُوْذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ
A’udhu bi-Kalimatillahit Tammati min Sharri ma Khalaq.
I seek protection in the Perfect Words of Allah from the evil of that which He has created.
[Narrated in Sahih Muslim]
Upon returning home after your journey, recite the following Dua:
آئِبُوْنَ تَائِبُوْنَ عَابِدُوْنَ لِرَبِّناَ حَامِدُوْنَ
A-ibun Ta-ibun ‘Abidun li-Rabbina Hamidun.
We return in repentance; worshipping and praising our Lord.
[Narrated in Sahih Muslim]
Salah during Travel
Due to the often strenuous nature of travelling, concessions have been given to travellers in the performance of Salah.
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنْ سُمَىٍّ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ السَّفَرُ قِطْعَةٌ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ، يَمْنَعُ أَحَدَكُمْ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ وَنَوْمَهُ، فَإِذَا قَضَى نَهْمَتَهُ فَلْيُعَجِّلْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ ”.
Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه reports that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “Travelling is a kind of torture as it prevents one from eating, drinking and sleeping properly. So, when one’s needs are fulfilled, one should return quickly to one’s family.”
[Narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari]
If you need to perform Wudhu during your flight, it is advisable to perform solely the obligatory actions of Wudhu. The obligatory actions, according to the Hanafi Madhhab, are as follows:
- Wash the face once.
- Wash both arms (including the hands and elbows) once.
- Wipe at least a quarter of the head.
- Wash both feet (including the ankles) once.
This will reduce the amount of water used and the time taken to perform Wudhu. Also, ensure you try not to splatter water and don’t spill water on the floor to wash your feet. This may present a safety risk to other passengers.
Praying Salah in an Aeroplane
Sunnah or Nafl Salah may be performed in the plane in a seated position facing whatever direction the plane is facing. This is based on the following narration:
حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ بْنُ وَكِيعٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو خَالِدٍ الأَحْمَرُ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم صَلَّى إِلَى بَعِيرِهِ أَوْ رَاحِلَتِهِ وَكَانَ يُصَلِّي عَلَى رَاحِلَتِهِ حَيْثُمَا تَوَجَّهَتْ بِهِ . قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ . وَهُوَ قَوْلُ بَعْضِ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ لاَ يَرَوْنَ بِالصَّلاَةِ إِلَى الْبَعِيرِ بَأْسًا أَنْ يَسْتَتِرَ بِهِ .
Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه narrated: “The Prophet ﷺ performed Salah towards his she-camel or his mount, and he would perform Salah while on his mount, whichever direction it was facing.”
[Narrated in Sunan al-Tirmidhi]
Ruku (bowing) and Sujud (prostration) should be gestured by bowing the head, ensuring the gesture is more pronounced for the Sujud.
Fardh Salah wasn’t performed by Rasulullah ﷺ on a conveyance and as such, every effort should be made to stand and face the Qibla during Fardh Salah. Muslim companies such as Saudi Airlines have designated prayer areas where Salah can be performed.
Non-Muslim Airlines don’t have such facilities which may pose a problem. In these aeroplanes, standing in certain areas may pose a safety risk or an inconvenience to other passengers, particularly if it’s a smaller aeroplane. There is a difference of opinion amongst scholars about what should be done in this scenario. Some scholars are of the opinion that it is acceptable for the prayer to be performed in the same manner as optional prayers would be performed on a plane i.e. sitting down. Other scholars are of the opinion that the prayer must be performed sitting down and then be repeated after arriving at the destination.
It may then be advisable to take the cautious approach and perform the Salah in the best manner possible during the flight, without inconveniencing others, and repeating the Salah at a later stage when it can be performed properly.
Nevertheless, you should still ask if there are any vacant spaces on the aeroplane where Salah can be performed. After all, the Salah itself shouldn’t take a great deal of time.
When to Pray Salah in an Aeroplane
Calculate in-flight prayer times.
Before performing Salah, the direction of the Qibla must first be established. This is actually relatively straightforward as most international flights have satellite navigation devices in front of each seat which shows the direction in which the plane is travelling. Using this, it’s quite easy to deduce the direction of the Qibla. It is also generally the case that since you will be flying towards Saudi Arabia, the plane will be facing the direction of the Qibla.
As for the Salah times, the beginning times of Fajr, Maghrib and Isha can be deduced by looking out of the window. When dawn breaks, Fajr begins and when the sun sets, Maghrib commences. Isha begins after the red glow of the sunset disappears.
Shortening Salah (Qasr)
Shortening the Salah during travelling is a commandment and a mercy from Allah:
وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَقْصُرُوا مِنَ الصَّلَاةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ كَانُوا لَكُمْ عَدُوًّا مُبِينًا
And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten your Salah (prayer) if you fear that those who commit Kufr (disbelieve) may attack you; verily, the Kafirin (disbelievers) are ever open enemies unto you.
[Surah an-Nisa, 4:101]
It was thus a practice of Rasulullah ﷺ:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا شَرِيكٌ، عَنْ زُبَيْدٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي لَيْلَى، عَنْ عُمَرَ، قَالَ صَلاَةُ السَّفَرِ رَكْعَتَانِ وَالْجُمُعَةُ رَكْعَتَانِ وَالْعِيدُ رَكْعَتَانِ تَمَامٌ غَيْرُ قَصْرٍ عَلَى لِسَانِ مُحَمَّدٍ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ .
It was narrated that Umar رضي الله عنه said: “The prayer while travelling is two Rakat, and Friday is two Rakat, and Eid is two Rakat. They are complete and are not shortened, as told by Muhammad ﷺ.”
[Narrated in Sunan Ibn Majah]
Therefore, during your journey, Asr, Maghrib and Isha Salah may be shortened from four Rakats to two Rakats. This does not apply to Fajr and Maghrib Salah which remain at two and three Rakats respectively.
Additionally, the two Rakats before Fajr and the Witr Salah were prayers that Rasulullah ﷺ never omitted, even during travelling.
You will continue to perform Salah in this shortened manner during your Hajj or Umrah unless you intend to stay in either Makkah or Madinah for more than 15 days in either of the two locations. If you intend to spend 13 days in Makkah and 12 days in Madinah for example, the prayers can still be shortened. The exception to this rule is that if the prayer is performed in congregation behind the Imam in the Haramain, the Salah must be observed fully.
Joining Salah (Jama)
Jama refers to the practice of joining two prayers within one prayer time.
According to the Hanafi Madhhab, two prayers can only be joined in Arafat and Muzdalifah during Hajj. Prayers may not be combined in any other circumstance, including travelling. According to the other schools of thought, however, it is permissible to combine prayers in certain circumstances, such as during a journey.
There are two types of Jama which are both acceptable according to these schools of thought:
- Jama al-Taqdim – combining the prayers at the time of the initial prayer e.g. combining Dhuhr with Asr at the time of Dhuhr and Maghrib with Isha at the time of Maghrib.
- Jama al-Takhir – combining the prayers at the time of latter prayer e.g. combining Dhuhr with Asr at the time of Asr and Maghrib with Isha at the time of Isha.
Either of these can be performed, depending on which is easiest for you.
Apart from when travelling and on the days of Arafat and Muzdalifah, each Salah should be read within their respective times.
Ihram on the Aeroplane
It is perhaps more practical to get changed into your Ihram clothing prior to boarding the flight and then make Niyyah (intention) to enter the state of Ihram as the designated Miqat approaches. The vast majority of toilets on aeroplanes are very small so changing into your Ihram clothing in such a tight space may prove quite a struggle.
If you do decide to change into your Ihram clothing on the aeroplane, your plane is likely to have a toilet with baby change facilities which is useful to put your clothes on when changing into Ihram. Please bear in mind that you will still probably be restricted for space. If you’re flying with a Muslim company such as Saudi Airlines, you will have access to a small prayer area in which you can get changed. However, you should get changed well before the Miqat as there may well be a rush of people intending to get changed as the Miqat approaches.
When you’re ready to make your Niyyah for Ihram, don’t forget to remove your underwear and headgear if you haven’t done so already (if you’re a male) and make sure you’re well acquainted with the restrictions of Ihram.
Also, ensure that you don’t forget any clothing or footwear on the plane before you disembark.
Other Things to do on the Aeroplane
It goes without saying that you should utilise your time wisely during your flight. Take your Hajj / Umrah books and notes with you and study them. The more you commit to memory now, the less you will have to rely on others for guidance during the actual Hajj or Umrah. If you feel you have studied sufficiently, revise what you have learnt. Since the topic of Hajj and Umrah is so vast, it’s likely that you have missed something. If you come across something that you don’t understand, seek clarification from others around you.
Also spend your time in Ibadah, whether that is reading Quran, partaking in other forms of Dhikr or sending salutations upon Rasulullah ﷺ.