Shaykh Ahmad ibn 'Ajiba (Qutb)-Darqawiyyah: Basic Research
The seventh rule concerning travel and visiting Shaykhs
Know that travelling has courtesies which are requested at the beginning and courtesies which are requested afterwards. The courtesy of the beginning is 'Istikhara' because the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, 'The one who does Istikhara will not be turned away, and the one who asks counsel will not regret it.'
Al-Bukhari said from Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, used to teach us Istikhara in the same way that he taught us the Fatiha.
He said that if anyone wants to do something important, let him do two raka'as and then say, ' O Allah, I seek good from You by Your knowledge, and I ask You for strength by Your power. I ask You for some of Your great and sublime overflowing. You have power and I do not. You know and I do not know, and You are the Knower of the unseen. 0 Allah, if You know that my situation is of benefit to me in my Deen and in my life, and my final end, be it sooner or later, then decree it for me and make it easy and bless me in it. But if you know that my situation is bad for me in my Deen and the rest of my life, then divert it from me, and divert me from it, and destine the good for me wherever it may be and accept it from me. You have power over all things.'
The two raka'as must be done using the Surah of the Kafirun and the Surah Ikhlas and Istikhara must be repeated three times, or seven times if the matter is very important.'
And one must ask counsel if one has a Shaykh, and must not travel without his permission, and if one does not have a Shaykh then it is best to seek advice from someone who is known for right action among the right-acting scholars, and from the parents.
One must travel with good intention and must not travel for this world and just to make an excursion. We will speak more about this if Allah wills. There is goodness according to intention.
The Pole, Shaykh al-Mashish said to Abu'l Hasan, 'Do not move your feet except where you expect the turning of Allah. Do not sit except where you are safe from disobeying Allah. Do not keep company except with the one who will help you to obey Allah. Do not choose for yourself anyone except the one who will increase you in certainty, and they are very few.'
Part of the courtesy of travelling also is to take a companion. In some hadith it is said, 'Take the companion before the path.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, advised against travelling alone. He said, 'A single rider is one shaytan. Two riders are two shaytans, and three are a procession.'
He must not travel except with his own people, nor keep company with any except those who bring him near his Lord. In the hadith, when the Companions asked, 'Who shall we keep company with, 0 Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'The one who when you see him reminds you of Allah, and whose speech increases your knowledge, and whose actions remind you of the next world.' The meaning of 'to sit with' is to keep company with in general, and is applicable to travelling.
Another part of the courtesy of travelling is to pay debts and to return what has been left with you, or if there is no hurry, to leave someone in charge of it. If he has done something wrong, he should go and free himself of it, because he does not know whether he will return or not. He should also be prepared to take a skin of water from which to do wudu.
As-Salmi said, 'The traveller must take a water-skin for purification.' Then he said, 'I heard my father, may Allah have mercy on him saying, "One of the Shaykhs, if he met travellers, used to greet them. Then he would check their hands and fingers to see if they had the traces of carrying the water-skin and if he found these traces he would welcome them well, but if not, he would not welcome them well." '
One of the sufis said, 'If you see the sufi and he does not have water with him, then know that he is determined to leave the prayer and to reveal his private parts, whether he wants to or not.'
The traveller must also take with him the stick, needle, thread, scissors, knife, those things that will help him fulfil his obligations as he is requested. If he wants to travel he must also go around his brothers and tell them of his journey, and say goodbye to them. He must also visit the ones with whom he has been keeping company. This was the courtesy of the Shaykhs with regard to what was required at the beginning of travel.
Also required was four raka'as of prayer before beginning. Adh-Dhilmi reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, when he wanted to travel used to pray four raka'as, and in every raka'a he read Surah Fatiha and Surah al-Ikhlas.
When he had said the salam he used to say, '0 Allah, I come nearer to You by them so make them my khalif for my family and my wealth.' When he rose from sitting down to travel he said, '0 Allah, by You I spread, and towards You I am oriented, and by You I am immune. 0 Allah, You are my trust and my hope.
O Allah be enough for me above what bothers me and that with which I am not bothered and above what You know better than me, and give me a provision of taqwa of You, and forgive me my wrong actions and direct me towards goodness wherever I turn.' Then he would read the Surahs al-Kafirun, al-Ikhlas, and the last two surahs. He would say goodbye to his family and Companions and neighbours. He would say, 'I leave you in the hands of Allah, and whatever is stored with Him is not lost.'
They would say to him, 'May Allah provide you with taqwa and forgive your wrong action and make goodness easy for you wherever you are.'
There is also the recitation of the wird of travel which is:
10 - Astagfirullah
10 - The short prayer on the Prophet
10 - Allah is enough for me and there is no power and no strength except with Allah.
This is how we learned it from our Shaykhs. And our Shaykh added ten repetitions of 'In the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate', and said it must be said after the prayer on the Prophet.
This wird is a protection and a fortress in every travel, it is said, even if it is only a short trip. It is better to say it before saying goodbye.
If he has a mount, he says when he puts his foot in the stirrup, 'In the name of Allah', and when he is seated on its back Praise belongs to Allah. Glory be to the one who provided this for us, and to our Lord we will return. Glory be to You, I have wronged myself. Forgive me no one forgives wrong actions except You.' This is how at-Tirmidhi reported it.
Another one added, 'Praise be to Allah who carries us on land and sea and has provided us with goodness and has preferred us over much of what He has created. O Allah, we ask You in this, our travel, right action and taqwa and actions with which You are pleased. O Allah, make our travel easy and make us obedient after it. O Allah, You are our companion in travel, the Khalif of our family O Allah I seek refuge by You from the hardships of travel and the sadness of the return, and from bad vision in wealth and family'
He must then say, 'Allah is Great' and 'Glory be to Allah' and 'Praise belongs to Allah Thirty three times each and sav There is no God but Allah' once When he has started to travel he is requested to invoke Allah and to reflect and to look at the Majesty of Allah.
As soon as he sees some thing, he knows Who made it, and Who is its Master. If he goes up on a high hill he says, 'Allah is Greater’ and when he descends into a valley he says, 'Glory belongs to Allah’ .
If his mount slips away from him, he says, 'O slaves of Allah, stop it’. If he sees a village or a town he says, 'O Lord of the seven heavens and what they shade, O Lord of the seven earths and how insignificant they are and the Lord of the Shayateen and how they have strayed off the path, and 0 Lord of the wind and what it has blown, I ask of You the benefit of this village and of its people, and I seek refuge in You from its evil and the evil of its people and whatever evil there is in it.'
Once he arrives at the town or village he puts his hand on its wall and reads three times Surah al-Quraysh If he says that, his body will remain sound until he leaves it.
When he enters it he says, O Allah, bless it for us' three times, 'O Allah provide us with its fruits and protect us from its contamination, and make us likeable to its people and make us like the right-acting one among its people.'