A guide, tips and tricks to Sallah for a traveller

In today's modern world, we find traveling can sometimes be inevitable. What with nowadays modern means of transportation and the nature of our daily jobs and studies. We traveled all over the world either for a holiday, study, work, conference, business meeting or other things related.

But for some muslim who aren't used to traveling, it can sometimes be a daunting experience especially for us girls. As a muslim, no matter where we are or what we do, neglecting the 5 daily prayers is never an option. So here, as an avid traveller myself, I am guiding you on how to pray while you're traveling and also a few tips and tricks I found up my sleeves throughout my experiences.

Don't feel guilty if you feel that praying can sometimes be a burden if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a bustling cold city with no mosque or a multi faith praying room anywhere. I used to feel like that when I first learn to travel on my own in another country. And let me mention that living in Msia is a real blessing. Mosques or praying room is everywhere, having a job that allocated hours of praying time, 12 fixed hours for day and night. So if you claimed yourself a muslim but you do not pray because simply you're lazy or just because.... Please, slap yourself. Under no circumstances, your 5 daily prayers should be left about.

Prayer is the fundamental of your faith and religion. No matter how angelic you are, the first thing to be scrutinised in the hereafter is your sollah. And if you don't have that, be prepare to be dumped into you know what.

When I was working in Germany in 2006, I only get a break of 15 minutes and the change of seasons means changing of praying times. And sometimes the WC is for unisex, you can't simply open your hijab and shoes and take ablution (wudu') like you're in Malaysia. And that's when I realised I didn't really understand why in the world would they say Islam is easy and never burden their ummah.

Now let me tell you something. The only reason I was thinking that way was because I was so ignorant and so uninformed about my own religion. All I know was what I learn in school with no understanding and love towards it. I try to adapt everything to the way I do it in Malaysia. But being raised in family where neglecting sollah was a major sin, I decided that it's best to know how it is that some Islamic scholars said that Islam is easy and praying was never a problem when traveling.

A bit of a shout out, I found this to be the perfect book for a traveler. It's a book by Hafiz Firdaus Abdullah. He's a MAS pilot and a writer. This book covers not only in flight ibadah but ibadah for a musafir (travelers) in general. And what's great about this book is, all the arguments, analysis and facts are based on Al-Quran and Sunnah. So it's a must own by Malaysian (it's in Malay) as an investment. Use it to teach your generation.

Okay, first thing first. Know your religion. Be knowledgeable. Read and make sure everything you learn are based on sahih hadiths, Quran and Sunnah. Don't just do because somebody tells you to without you finding out the truths behind it. In fact, whatever you do never assume and always be wise in doing something. Everything have a reason. And because this is a matter of Ibadah I'm gonna be very firm about it. 

1. Know the true way (the sunnah way) of taking your ablution. All I can say is what we learn in school (Malaysia) is different from what the prophet did (at least, what I learn in my school). So check it or simply click here ( Go to 1:28 if you don't want to watch the intro) or here (this video provide hadiths to go with).

2. Know what is the meaning khuff and how it is done. This is a way of taking ablution (wudu') without taking off your shoes or socks. It's only a matter of wiping your wet hand on the top part of your shoes/socks while wearing it. One must be in the state of purify (with wudu') when starting to wear it and never took it off. This type of purification can be done whether you're a musafir or even if you're at home. Can be done 3 days and night for musafir and 1 day and night for non-musafir. Please read here.
"I saw the messenger of Allah urinated, then performed wudu' and wiped over his leather socks" - Bukhari, reported from Jarir Bin Abdullah.
So, you see. There's no need to take off your shoes and socks and bring your feet to the sink in the public or office toilet. Really, it doesn't look nice and it sure is inappropriate in the western world. More over you're gonna make the place wet and unhygienic. This also happen to be very convenient if the water is super cold!

3. Touching skin to skin with your husband/wife does not invalidate your wudu'!
Aishah related that "I used to sleep in front of the prophet (pbuh) and my feet would be between him and the Qiblah, so when he performed prostration (sajdah), he would touch my feet. " - Muslim
This must be new to some so if you aren't confident, please check and learn about it from a scholar (a real one that's based on Sunnah and Quran!). Simply click here for further reading.

4. Know how to perform Tayammum the right way. No, you don't need 2 kolah (tank) of sand bought specifically for tayammum. Really, even an earth dirt off a rock or a wall will do just fine. Just strike the palm of your hands once, blow the excess dirt off and wipe your face and hands. This come very handy when you're a traveller and can't find water. Watch Dr Asri video here. Or for an english version here.

5. No! you don't need 2 kolah (tank) of water to do wudu'. The 2 tank only applied to water that is impure and has dirt in it. If a cup of water is clean, simply you can use it again and again to wash all your body parts for ablution as the human body parts are not impure. [refer the book mentioned]

6. It is permissible to wipe over your hijab (head scarf) in certain circumstances. This would be if you have no private place for wudu' (where non-mahram men may see you). Do this one time. Umm Salamah (r.a) used to wipe over her head cover.
Amr Ibn Umayyah (r.a) said, "I saw Rasulullah wipe over his turban and leather socks." - Bukhari 
Shu'bah (r.a) said, "The mesengger of Allah made wudu' and wiped over the front portion of his scalp, his turban and his socks." - Muslim
But of course, don't forget to be in the state of wudu' when you put your headscarf and socks on and never took it off. When you know all this, it become clear that taking wudu' for girls isn't as hard as we think so. Right? right.

What do you do when you can't find a multi faith prayer room or a mosque in a certain country on a bustling city while sightseeing or shopping?
Now this is where we become really creative. And we can see the important of why a girl should wear something loose and cover the aurah and be modest. Plus, covering the aurah is not an option. It's a must.

For me, I don't like to pray in front of other people, in the middle of people walking around. I'm just not as daring and it's such a distraction. So this is what I'd do.

While shopping
Ask around if they have a multi faith room to pray. A lot of big cities or airport have this. If not... Obviously there's fitting room everywhere in the mall, in the store or boutique. I'll just take a piece of cloth with me and pretended I wanted to try it on while all the while I was praying inside a fitting room.

While on the road on a bus or in a car
Stop somewhere, take an ablution and simply pray while sitting in the car/bus.

Anywhere else
Find a private area where there aren't a lot of people.

Another way I use is to use an app by zabihah. This app tells you where you can find halal restaurants, markets or even the nearest mosque near to where you are standing. Hey, what Iphones are for right?. Otherwise, prepare the info early before you travel. I'm sure you have internet at home.

How do you pray in the flight?
Keep in mind Khuff (which literally means shoes) as I mentioned above in number 2.
Some airplane like MAS, have a small private area for you to pray. All you need to do is ask the stewardess. Otherwise, go to the lavatory, take your ablution and pray at your seat.

How do you tell the time?
This is one of many ways a sun can help us. Learn to look at the praying time by looking at the sun and shadow. We live in a modern world (bless us), we can always use our PDA, Iphone, Blackberry or Android to let you tell the time. Use your iphone to download the apps regarding sallah time, not just for Facebook or Games. Use technology to your maximum otherwise it'll only be a waste.

How do you tell the kiblah?
Ahaaa. This one is tricky. I only got to learn this through my husband. I'm sure when you're traveling you have a map with you right? So know where or which country you are. Know where is Makkah. Use a compass (you have it in your iphone or bring one with you) to know which is north. And follow the direction of Makkah. Now that's your kiblah.

Or you can use the sun if you're in the flight or on the road and at night the stars (learn how to do this, obviously you can google it)

Or if you have a specific compass for kiblah, that's brilliant!

It is imperative to be really prepared when you want to travel. For us girls, I know it's tempting to wear make up and not cover the aurah properly. But by doing so it could lead to a bit of a hassle to pray while traveling or on the move. But if you find cleaning the make up everytime and simply bringing your telekung or abaya with you for praying purposes isn't really a hassle. By all means do what you gotta do.

But we must always always remember that if you can take a bullet for your baby or your mom, dad or family. Why can't you sacrifice for Allah s.w.t? Afterall, He is the one who gave you your baby, your family and everything you own in this world. Without Allah's s.w.t blessing and love we have nothing.

Footnote: What is written here is based on the author's experiences. It's a guide for muslim travellers like the author itself. The book mentioned is used as the main reference for this article and so is other references included in the links provided. Whatever aren't accepted, it is advised that the reader do his or her own research. Whatever is good comes from Allah and the author hope that this article can serve as a benefit to the readers and young generations.


Fadhli Mustaffa said...

Firstly, I have to say that it is great that you have written this wonderful guide. I'm very sure that it will help many people, and I may also send a link to this post if my friends query about this topic. =)

I do have a comment on Point 3: "Touching skin to skin with your husband/wife does not invalidate your wudu'!"

There are of course other arguments on some narrations regarding the Prophet s.a.w. touching Aisha's leg while performing his solat.

From http://www.shafiifiqh.com/the-proofs-that-touching-a-woman-breaks-wudu/ :

"The authentic narrations thereof, such as ‘A’ishah saying that the Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala Alihi wa sallam) touched her leg while He was making Salah, then regarding these they say this narration is abrogated by the verse of the Qur’an. Ibn Hajr, in his Fat-hul-Bari, brings two other arguments: a) That the Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala Alihi wa sallam) touched her with a barrier, and if that is not the case b) it is specific for the Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala Alihi wa sallam). The first opinion definitely seems stronger. And Allah (SWT) Knows Best."

But of course, it is up to the individuals to best apply their judgements on which arguments and discussions are to be followed, and we pray that we have Allah's blessings in doing so. Allah knows best. =)

hanafedora said...

Yup! totally. There's a few other valid scholars arguments about point number 3. And each of them have their own valid reasons and hadiths. And truly Allah knows best. Islam is very rich in knowledges and interpretation. We just have to respect each of them :)

As long as we have our understanding and reason and we hold on to the Quran and Sunnah. All Insya'Allah would be fine.

linsharliana said...

this is a 'beyond cool' type of entry... nice sharing ya hana (^_^)

first time drop comment. selama ni pembaca bisu aje... 

Aneesah Satriya said...

MashaAllah. Jazakillah khairan kathiran for writing all this! :) I think it is a good basic guide especially for Malaysian Muslims who aren't as aware of the many rukhsah we can apply when we aren't in our good ol' country. I would just like to advise readers to do their own further research (through books/scholars), especially on khilaf between mazhabs, etc. so they are more confident in the choices they make. For instance, some scholars hold the opinion that khuff must be of leather / waterproof material, while others claim thick socks are adequate. I have also read that solah that is performed on moving vehicles is considered solat menghormati waktu and is obliged to be qada' afterwards when possible. But as we know, these different opinions are a blessing and not a burden to the ummah.

It does take courage and effort to write an entry like this, and I hope others respect the effort.

Oh, one more tip I've heard from a sister -- taking wudhu' with a small spray bottle she keeps in her bag. :D

Alya said...

thanks sis for a very useful guide for us muslim especially...may i ask ur permission to share dis amazing knowledge for our friends out there??myb many didn't know about it...this article really guide me to truth and prove that doing ibadah is so easy wherever u are and in what condition u are..thanks again sis...and again congratz for d beautiful pregnancy..salam dari Indonesia.. 

sumaiyahromli said...

What a great post. Thank you so much! Really need this right now tho :)

Azi said...

what a very useful  info. thank you so much kak pedo for this post :)

aimanurtasnim said...

Salam kak hana, I have waited so long for this entry to be published. and Alhamdulillah it is here. I will send this link to my friends who are also studying abroad especially in the western countries. Good job kak hana! thanks so much for sharing this info. egypt seems to have too many mosques but i think we're dealing with the same cold weather situation, i have performed wudhu in the university using freezing water for few consecutive days and ended up with a very bad fever. anywys, where can i get the book from?  loves., Tasnim.

hanafedora said...

Thanks!!! I am so glad that this helps you. I totally understand about the cold weather and extremely cold water. But you can always tayammum. Tayammum is not just for the non existance of water. It's also for the sick people, not enough water and such. It's a form of purification Allah s.w.t has given. As long we're sincere that will be fine. I don't know where you can find the book though. Maybe you can go to the link I provided and email the Author itself and ask? I promise you it's really great book. My mom bought the book for me. Definitely from Malaysia.

hanafedora said...

Salam!!!! sure! Be my guest. The reason for this post is to share after all :)

aimanurtasnim said...

I found the e-book version. Alhamdulillah. thanks again :)

Nur said...

Salam, thank you so much for sharing this! i would like to know more about the kiblah. how about when we are in a moving vehicle? you said use the sun when on a flight? how do we position ourselves towards the kiblah if we are in our seats?

hanafedora said...


We usually prefer to stop the vehicle first. But in the case of moving vehicle, like train, we set a ref point and pray. Though I'm no expert I believe that'll be just fine coz sometimes you're in a tight seat in a train and you can't really move anyway even if you know the kiblah. I suggest you check and do your own research to make sure you really understand and know what is the condition in moving vehicle. My article is based on my experiences and my knowledge and understanding. I'm no scholar. So please don't take my words all the way. Go to the 'pakar' is what I believe is the best solution for you.

hanafedora said...

Ahh bless you :)

Purple Lurve said...

This is great! Love this post so much! thanks, Hana!

Moose said...

hana, correct me if i am wrong. based on my reading, experience & practice, if you're performing solah in a moving vehicle, you don't need to position yourself to face towards kiblat. it's sufficient to just face to the direction that the vehicle is moving towards. and furthermore it's troublesome to adjust yourself facing kiblat especially when you're travelling in a bus or train.

Ahsuez Md nasir said...

This is very useful indeed. I mean for Malaysians who had never travel abroad, they would think that solat in countries with Muslims are the minority, is hassle. This, in my personal opinion, is due to their own believe that Islam is A and A only, whereas the beauty of Islam is it could also be A- or A+ and several type of other As, as long as there's Sunnah or Hadith to support it, because at the the end of the day, Allah is to judge and Him and only Him to accept our ibadah, being it in whatever form. Even the guides by 4 Imams themselves show the flexibility.

Taking to a simple case, 'our people' would rather stare at foreigners whom perform solat in their ways (not our usual way), rather than to understand why they do it. The flexibility in Islam seems to be far away from them and as such, this kind of belief made them think that performing solat in improper place, with "improper" way of wudu' is hassle is not acceptable.

Sorry, luahan perasaan pula but indeed, it's a good information sharing and the book (and its kind) is a must for all Muslim travellers.

Nurul said...

Assalamualaikum Hana...
this is a very interesting topic..
my opinion  is as same as Fadhli..touching skin to skin with your husband/wife does invalidate your wudhu..according to Mazhab Shafi'e... 
but unlike Mazhab Hanafi and Hambali, it's ok to touch your spouse (without syahwat)..
I would like to share this link to you..tapi Ustaz nih daripada Terengganu...takut u tak faham pulak...but i'll just put it here...hope to share with everyone else too ; )


Nurul Ainul said...

Salam. Kak Hana!! This is seriously brilliant. It did answer
a few of my worries and doubt. Actually, I did face the same problems as yours
while I'm working and it's ridiculous because I was in Malaysia while you in
Germany. But as I working for a Chinese company, I thought I shouldn't blame
them entirely for the lack of considerations on their part. I still need to
find a solution to pray. This is the part when this guide is really helpful.^^
I prayed wherever I can find secluded places for the first two weeks.
Fortunately, after that there's a store for me. What's more can I hope for?
True, the place for prayer must be clean but it needs not to be spacious. And
it's really a shame because some people use that as an excuse for not
performing their prayer. 

hanafedora said...

Yeah that's fine. Mazhab is just an interpretations by the 4 greats scholars. And one should not dismissed the others even if one only agree with a certain individual. Because in the end all of them are based on Quran and Hadiths. Like the ustaz in your given video said as long as there are valid reasons followed with an understanding and intensive research behind what we are following, all is fine. And Allah knows best.

hanafedora said...

Yup! you are absolutely right :)

hanafedora said...

Hahaha..don't worry we all have that moment :)

Sabariahb said...

salam.... i 've heard the above ustaz opinion on the issue of whether we are allowed to follow hadith and quran only . i believe if you check the ayat2 al quran ,clearly Allah ancam sekeras2 nya orang2 yg tidak mengambil quran and sunnah rasulullah saw as a way of life.please refer to Ali Imran:32,132, An Nisa 13-14,59,69,80.Al Ahzab 71 to name a few.Remember ulama2 mujtahid yg di mentioned by the ustaz is not Nabi.which they did not get wahyu from Allahswt. Imam shafie pernah berkata " Jika kamu jumpa dalil yang lebih sahih dari apa yg aku katakan ttg sesuatu perkara, maka jangan lah kamu ikut aku ,ikut lah dalil yg sahih itu".

lily said...

Salam. love this piece. i have also went through feeling ashamed of where and how to perform my prayers. Ive experienced praying at a train station in WA,US and yes finding a spot is so tricky. But alhamdulillah Allah will help us in a way. keep posting sister

Noraidil09 said...

thanks hana for the info

Muhammad Imran Suid said...

Thank you for this ...

Laydeesixelia said...

thank you for this very helpful guide on solat for traveller.

suriani fauzi said...

sayang..i borrow tiz for my FB status..hope u dont mind n tqvm ...
Prayer is the fundamental of your faith and religion. No matter how angelic you are, the first thing to be scrutinised in the hereafter is your sollah. And if you don't have that, be prepare to be dumped into you know what.

Waeishams said...


jazakillah ya ukhti. the best explanation to be. it was last year, when i was attached at Japan and alhamdulillah, our malaysian sisters help me a lot.actually, at first, i was to scared to go abroad, for about 3 month, wondering how i can perfom solah. eventhough a bit regret, i found this late, but im thankful, better late than never. wish, this can help our muslim brothers and sisters ;)