Traveling has been a source of gaining experience and discovering knowledge through the exploration of the diverse cultures and civilizations across the world. It is unbound by any constraints of time, religion, age and nationalities and is thus universal. Interestingly, the fourteenth century witnessed the prolific travels of renowned Muslim Explorers like Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Battuta, even before the famed European travelers had traveled seven seas across.  

Muslim travelers have a rich history in their contribution to knowledge of history, geography and discovery as J.H. Kramer states, ‘Europe ought to look upon them as its cultural ancestors in the domain of geographical knowledge, of discovery, and of world trade.’ (Arnold and Guillaume, 1931)

Today, in a fast-paced and constantly evolving world, advancing technology has brought to light, previously unexplored lands and vast areas of untapped resources, inevitably pushing man to explore more and cross horizons that have been unapproached so far. From an Islamic perspective, it is encouraged to study and explore Allah’s SWT earth and see the bounties he has filled the earth with. In the Holy Quran Allah SWT says to the Prophet ﷺ:

Say, [O Muhammad], “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah, over all things, is competent.” (29:20)

However, it is important for Muslims to consider certain requirements that should be the priority needs for anyone who plans to travel for example, the matter of Halal food and abstinence from Alcohol, accessibility of wudhu and prayer places etc. While it is true that inclusivity has led to friendlier reception of Muslims and respect for their religion, the last two decades have seen Muslim travelers facing discrimination at airports and on airplanes, ranging from extra security searches and intense questioning by airport staff to unexplainable visa troubles and hostility from fellow passengers.

Experiences of Muslim Travellers

Shaykh-ul-Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani Sahib

The life of Mufti Taqi Usmani has been accounted in various treatises, including the narratives of his extensive travels that encompassed regions from both East and the West. The account of his journeys has been narrated in detail in his captivating travelogue, The World Before Me, that covers his travels in 20 countries. Indeed, his writing does not only grant one the opportunity to marvel over the wondrous Creation of Allah, but also, his observations provide the readers with great insight into the diverse regions of the world where the enthusiasm for a religious platform remains strong despite the various obstacles the Muslims face there. 

Elena Nikolova-Muslim Travel Girl

Interestingly, travelling has been of interest to many a Muslim revert in these past couple of years. Elena Nikolova of the much-acclaimed blog, Muslim Travel Girl converted to Islam in 2009. Four years later, she channeled her wanderlust into a new endeavor: helping other Muslims travel the world. On one of her first trips as a Muslim, she discovered how travelling had changed for her. Visiting Bulgaria from the United Kingdom she realized how her new halal diet was at odds with her pork-heavy, Bulgarian-Greek upbringing. Her Hijab was gaining attention and she noticed getting extra checks by the airport security. Instead of being discouraged, Elena mentions:

‘I realized that whether we wanted it or not, there is prejudice against those who wear a hijab,’ Nikolova said. “I realized that kind of puts Muslims off traveling.’

Strongly believing that travelling is important for an open mindset and to counter prejudice and misconceptions, Elena channeled her wanderlust and started her blog that aimed to assist Muslims travelers. 

‘It's one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about traveling and encouraging Muslims to travel, because you open your mindset,” Nikolova said. “Traveling brings us closer. You wouldn't know your neighbor if you didn’t talk to them. It's the same thing with going and exploring a different city; you wouldn't meet locals and talk to them if you didn't visit.’

On her blog, Muslim Travel Girl, Nikolova not only shares her experiences but works for making travel convenient and comfortable through sharing budget-options and travel hacks to encourage Muslims to travel. Talking about her experience of travelling as a Muslim, she says: ‘Even though travel [for Muslims] in general is not so different, we have some differences, like [needing] places to pray or [specific] food to eat,” she said. Her dream goal, in Nikolova’s own words is ‘to help Muslims explore the world that Allah SWT created without breaking the bank and for non-Muslim to see that we are pretty cool people. (emoji)’

Jay Palfrey-British Vlogger

Another revert, British vlogger Jay Palfrey, was inspired by his travels to Muslim countries to embrace Islam. Accounting the circumstances that led him to accept Islam he said:

‘As I travelled around the world, I met wonderful people. During my constant travels, I learned a lot and gained experience, but at the same time, I had the opportunity to understand spiritual existence, … While living in Islamic countries, I also came to understand the truth of Islam, which is a very beautiful, peaceful but most misunderstood religion,’ he said.

Desiring to escape the depressing and negative surroundings, Palfrey saved enough to travel the world as an escape. He recounts that his trips to Muslim countries like Turkey and Iraq drew him towards Islam. During his stay in these countries, he learned about Islam that preaches oneness, unity, and peace.

How to Maintain Religious Obligations While Travelling

Muslim travel has gained a far greater scope than ever before, as more Muslim-minority countries have also started to attract travelers who were previously reluctant to approach countries that were not Halal friendly. However, there is no denying that despite the definite existence of Islamophobic elements being a potential threat along with discriminatory attacks, the world we see today is fast becoming accepting of Muslims and the Tourism Ministeries of many countries have enthusiastically begun to incorporate Islamic aspects to cater to the needs and comfort of Muslim travelers.

While Islam does not discourage travelling, it is important to understand that religious obligations should be a priority even when one is on a vacation, because a believer’s actions should ultimately be about pleasing his Creator. Three of the major concerns a Muslim tourist has, and which are imperative to adherence of religious requirements are the need for Purity and Ablution, the matter of prayer and the search for Halal Food. Certain practical tips have been mentioned to overcome any problem related to these concerns. 

  1. Ablution and Purity

To fulfill the obligation of the five prayers, Muslims are required to achieve a certain level of purity before they pray. Maintaining purity and finding places for ablution can sometimes be tricky especially in non-Muslim countries. Oftentimes the bathrooms restrict some actions that are mandatory for wudhu (ablution), for example, washing the feet. The ABDEEZ Wudhu Socks are Shariah compliant and a super convenient option to pack, making it possible to simply wipe the feet instead of washing them. 

Another problem for Muslim travelers in non-Muslim countries is the lack of what is commonly known as the Muslim shower. The ABDEEZ portable bidet has the potential to effectively solve the question of achieving purity, being a handy device for freshness-on-the-go.

  1. The Question of Prayer 

It is important to ensure that we schedule our plans in a way that no prayers are compromised. When it comes to countries where the Azaan (Call to prayers) is not sounded, the matter of prayer and prayer timings is a significant one. Although the world is seeing a definite increase in Masjids popping up around the globe, there are still cities and countries where the lack of a masjid might pose a problem. In such cases, prayers can be said at the residence or any space that is not impure. While it can be difficult to ensure the cleanliness, the problem can be readily solved through carrying the ABDEEZ Portable Prayer Mat which is compact, very easy to carry, has a built in Qiblah compass and ensures you have a clean and pure place to worship on. The matter of prayer timings can be handled through the numerous apps on the market which provide more or less accurate timings according to your location.

  1. The Search for Halal Food

Amongst the foremost things on a Muslim traveler’s mind is the concern for availability of Halal food. Halal means ‘lawful’ and in legal Islamic terminology it means food that has been declared lawful to eat according to the Islamic Shariah. Animals whose meat is allowed for Muslims have to be slaughtered in the way prescribed by the Shariah. Previously, most food places in non-Muslim countries were not equipped to cater to their religious needs. Fortunately, there has been a dramatic increase in Muslim-friendly restaurants eateries that now offer Halal menus and non Alcoholic drinks. Many places also sell meat that has been correctly slaughtered the Islamic way (Zabiha). Admittedly, the search for them might become tedious and time-consuming, but many websites and apps promoting tourism have ready recommendations for your requirements according to your location.

As the world progresses towards becoming a ‘Global Village’ aided by the awareness created by the Digital age, Halal Tourism is gaining a stronger foothold in the Tourism Industry as more Muslims are exploring beyond the boundaries of the Muslim world, gearing towards a healthy approach with broadening horizons and ultimately getting a stronger hold onto their own faith.


Muslim travelers, inspired by historical explorers, contribute to global cultural exchange. Figures like Elena Nikolova and Shaykh-ul-Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani navigate challenges, fostering a new era of exploration. The intersection of technology and Halal Tourism shapes a global village, broadening horizons and promoting understanding.


About Me. MuslimTravelGirl. (2023, October 9). 

Desk, N. (2020, September 4). British vlogger Jay Palfrey embraces Islam after travelling to Turkey, Iraq. Global Village Space. 

Girl, A. M. T. (2023, February 23). The difference between Halal Travel & Muslim Friendly Travel. MuslimTravelGirl.

Google. (n.d.). The World Before Me. Google Books. 

Kamarudin, Lina & Ismail, Hairul. (2016). Muslim Tourism: The Tendency of Islamic Traveling Attributes from Malaysia Perspective.

A travel blogger helping Muslims see the world. Lonely Planet. (2022, August 3).

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