Supplication at the time of Riding
Allah, the Exalted, says:
"... and has appointed for you ships and cattle on which you ride. In order that you may mount on their backs, and then may remember the Favour of your Rubb when you mount thereon, and say: `Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could never have it (by our efforts). And verily, to Our Rubb we indeed are to return!''' (43:12-14)
972. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) mounted his camel for setting out on a journey, he would recite: "Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greatest),'' thrice. Then he (PBUH) would supplicate:"Subhanal-ladhi sakh-khara lana hadha, wa ma kunna lahu muqrinin, wa inna ila Rabbina lamunqalibun. Allahumma inna nas'aluka fi safarina hadh al-birra wat-taqwa, wa minal-`amali ma tarda. Allahumma hawwin `alaina safarana hadha, watwi `anna bu`dahu. Allahumma Antas-Sahibu fissafari, wal-Khalifatu fil-ahli. Allahumma inni a`udhu bika min wa`ta'is-safari, wa kaabatil-manzari, wa su'il-munqalabi fil-mali wal-ahli wal-waladi (Far removed from imperfection is the One Who has made this subservient to us, for we have no power to subjugate it, and certainly to our Rubb shall we return. O Allah, we ask You during this journey of ours for righteousness, piety and such deeds as are pleasing to You. O Allah, make easy for us this journey of ours and make the distance short for us. O Allah, You are our Companion during the journey and the Guardian of the family and the property in our absence. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the hardships of travelling, unhappiness connected with ghastly scenes and evil turns in property and family).'' When he returned, he recited this supplication making addition of these words: "Ayibuna, ta'ibuna, `abiduna, li-Rabbina hamidun (We are those who return; those who repent; those who worship and those who praise our Rubb).''
Commentary: This is a very comprehensive prayer. Man is not safe from dangers during a journey and in his absence, safety of his household may worry him, too. In this prayer, Allah is entreated to ensure the safety of the two in most effective words. And none can harm that person who comes under the Watch and Protection of Allah. This prayer should be recited upon starting on a journey as well as returning from it.
973. `Abdullah bin Sarjis (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) proceeded on a journey, he would seek refuge in Allah from the hardships of the journey, and against deviation after guidance, and against the supplication of the oppressed, and occurrences of unpleasant events in the family and property. He would say: "Allahumma inni a`udhu bika min wa`tha'is-safari, wa kaabatil-munqalabi, wal-hauri ba`dal-kauni, wa da`watil-mazlumi, wa su'il-manzari fil-ahli wal-mal.''
Commentary: The Prophet (PBUH) sought Divine refuge against the supplication of the oppressed because Allah immediately responds to it. It is, therefore, imperative that if a man has wronged anybody, he should recompense his wrongdoing before embarking on a journey because the malediction of the wronged may invoke Divine wrath exposing the wrongdoer to a risky and troublesome journey.
974. `Ali bin Rabi`ah reported: In my presence, a beast was brought to `Ali bin Abu Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) for riding. When he put his foot in the stirrup, he said: "Bismillah (With the Name of Allah).'' When he had settled himself on its back he recited: "Al-hamdu lillahil-ladhi sakh-khara lana hadha, wa ma kunna lahu muqrinin, wa inna ila Rabbina lamunqalibun. (All praise belongs to Allah Who has made this subservient to us, for we had not the strength to overpower it; and to our Rubb shall we return).'' He then recited thrice: "Alhamdu lillah (Praise be to Allah),'' and then three times: "Allahu Abkar (Allah is Greatest).'' Then he said: "Subhanaka inni zalamtu nafsi faghfir li, innahu la yaghfirudh-dhunuba illa Anta (You are far removed from imperfection I have wronged myself, so forgive me, because none but You can forgive sins).'' Then he smiled. It was asked: "Why have you smiled, O Amir Al-Mu'minin (Leader of the Believers)?'' He replied: "I saw the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) doing as I have done. I (i.e., Ali) asked him (the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)) the reason for smiling. He (PBUH) said, `Your Rubb, Glorious is He, is pleased when His slave seeks His forgiveness. He (the slave) has firm faith that none except Allah Alone can forgive sins)'.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: After putting his foot into the stirrup, the rider should say: "Bismillah (With the Name of Allah).'' When he sits firm on the animal, he should recite the prayers mentioned in this Hadith and utter the Glorification and Magnification of Allah - "Al-hamdu lillah (Praise be to Allah)'' and "Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greatest).'' Moreover, this Hadith sheds light on the tremendous and matchless fervour of the Companions to follow the Prophet (PBUH). This Du`a is not restricted to riding an animal, but includes all means of transportation, such as the plane, the train and the car.