Traveling is an activity that everyone wishes to experience at least once in their lifetime. However the way one travels depends on a variety of values. There are different types of travelers. One of these types is the Muslim Traveler. Here are some few tips to know about us.
Our religion encourages us to travel
“Seek Knowledge even if you have to go China”- Hadith (Sayings of the Prophet).
This Hadith encourages Muslims to travel as far and wide as possible. Knowledge could mean personal knowledge, academic or whatsoever. China is a metaphor for stating that there shouldn’t be a limit to the distance traveled.
Finding a place and knowing the time to pray is always on our minds
It is obligatory for Muslims to pray 5 times a day. Wherever we are in the world we always look out for a mosque or a clean place to pray. The two items below are our life savers while traveling.
Wherever we go, we always have a family
There are close to 1.6 billion Muslims around the world; hailing from different cultural backgrounds. The chances of us bumping into a fellow Muslim brother or sister is quite high. And whenever we do, we never miss the opportunity to say Salaam (Islamic greeting). We consider ourselves family regardless of where we come from, so we always look out for each other. It wouldn’t surprise you to have a local Muslim invite another Muslim traveler to their home for coffee or dinner even if they just met that very day. In addition shop owners don’t hesitant to give their fellow Muslim a service/product discount. In other words just like a family; we look out for each other.
We love meeting new people
Our hospitality is not limited to just Muslims. We always look for an opportunity to share our stories, food, great moments and help the people we encounter. Meeting new people and making sure they enjoy our company is something that brings internal pleasure for us.
We have to look on fleek 24/7 while traveling
A Muslim strives to always be clean, neat and most times stylish. Even during those long tiring flights, we still dress like we are on the runway.
Stares, Stares, Stares
This is especially for Muslims who wear Islamic attire be it hijab, Jalabab or even growing a beard. Getting stared at is something we have gotten accustomed to. If you are a Muslim living in the west you probably have experienced this once in your life. This doesn’t change when traveling to Muslim minority countries. When the locals stare we use this as an opportunity to smile at them, do a staring contest, or just say hello. Either way we are engaging with people in a friendly way.
Those airport security scanners!
As a Muslim traveler especially at the airport we want to be as transparent as possible not to raise any negative attention. So when we pass through one of those scanners and it bleeps loudly causing everyone to stare at you and a TSA agent suddenly says “Sir/Ma'am could you step by the side for extra checkup” only to find out that it was the metal in our belt or the pin on our hijab (headscarf) or the hair clip in our hair; You can’t imagine how awkward this moment is for us.
We always google translate pork and alcohol
For Muslims eating pork or drinking alcohol is not allowed. When we go to a country that doesn’t speak a language we know; the first words we look up on google translate or a language dictionary even before Hello is Pork and Alcohol.
We are excited when we have found a halal restaurant
Based on number 7, when we find a restaurant that is Halal we get so excited because we know we don’t have to worry to cross check what is included.
We are just like every other traveler!
Despite our Islamic values, we are just like every other traveler looking to have a good time!
I'm Kareemah, an American Muslim Traveler and Language Learner. I moved to Spain right after my graduation from the University of Toledo, OH. Through my travels and experiences I hope to showcase the life, challenges and benefits of a Muslim traveler. In addition, I look forward to connecting with other fellow travelers. See more on hijabiglobetrotter.com