Assalamualaikum SS Datuk Mufti. Is it true that there is a hadith that state travel is a kind of torture? And if this is true, what is meant by torture in the hadith?
Waalaikumussalam wrt wbt,
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Yes, there is a hadith which states this. It is narrated by Imam al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibnu Majah and al-Nasaie with several sanad routes:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو نُعَيْمٍ حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكٌ عَنْ سُمَيٍّ عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ السَّفَرُ قِطْعَةٌ مِنْ الْعَذَابِ يَمْنَعُ أَحَدَكُمْ نَوْمَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ فَإِذَا قَضَى نَهْمَتَهُ مِنْ وَجْهِهِ فَلْيُعَجِّلْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ
“Abu Nua’im told us, Malik narrates to us from Sumiy from Abu Salih from Abu Hurairah RA, from the Prophet PBUH, he said: "Traveling is a kind of torture, as it prevents one from sleeping and eating! So, when one has finished his job, he should return quickly to his family."
Sahih al-Bukhari (5429)
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ بْنِ قَعْنَبٍ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ أَبِى أُوَيْسٍ وَأَبُو مُصْعَبٍ الزُّهْرِىُّ وَمَنْصُورُ بْنُ أَبِى مُزَاحِمٍ وَقُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكٌ ح وَحَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى التَّمِيمِىُّ - وَاللَّفْظُ لَهُ - قَالَ قُلْتُ لِمَالِكٍ حَدَّثَكَ سُمَىٌّ عَنْ أَبِى صَالِحٍ عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ السَّفَرُ قِطْعَةٌ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ يَمْنَعُ أَحَدَكُمْ نَوْمَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ فَإِذَا قَضَى أَحَدُكُمْ نَهْمَتَهُ مِنْ وَجْهِهِ فَلْيُعَجِّلْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ
“Abdullah bin Maslamah bin Qa’nabi, Ismail bin Abi Uwais, Abu Mus’ab al-Zuhri, Mansur bin Abi Muzahim and Qutaobah bin Sa’id told us. They all said, Malik related to me from Sumayy, the mawla of Abu Bakr from Abu Salih from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Travelling is a portion of the torment. It denies you your sleep, food, and drink. When you have accomplished your purpose, you should hurry back to your family."
Sahih Muslim (5070)
- Ibnu Majah:
حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ عَمَّارٍ ، وَأَبُو مُصْعَبٍ الزُّهْرِيُّ ، وَسُوَيْدُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ ، قَالُوا : حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكُ بْنُ أَنَسٍ ، عَنْ سُمَيٍّ ، مَوْلَى أَبِي بَكْرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ السَّمَّانِ ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى الله عَليْهِ وسَلَّمَ قَالَ : السَّفَرُ قِطْعَةٌ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ ، يَمْنَعُ أَحَدَكُمْ نَوْمَهُ ، وَطَعَامَهُ ، وَشَرَابَهُ ، فَإِذَا قَضَى أَحَدُكُمْ نَهْمَتَهُ مِنْ سَفَرِهِ ، فَلْيُعَجِّلِ الرُّجُوعَ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ
“Hisyam bin ‘Ammar, Abu Mus’ab al-Zuhri, Suwaid bin Sa’id told us. They said: Malik bin Anas narrates to us from Sumiy Mawla to Abu Bakr bin Abdurrahman from Abu Salih al-Tamimi al-Samman from Abu Hurairah RA: Indeed, the Prophet PBUH said: “Traveling is a kind of torment, it keeps anyone of you from his sleep, food and drink. When anyone of you has fulfilled the purpose for which he travelled, let him hasten to return to his family.”
Sunan Ibnu Majah (2882)
- Imam al-Nasaie in Sunan al-Kubra said:
أَخْبَرَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ عَلِيٍّ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكٌ ، وَأَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى ، عَنْ مَالِكٍ قَالَ : حَدَّثَنِي سُمَيٌّ ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : السَّفَرُ قِطْعَةٌ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ يَمْنَعُ أَحَدَكُمْ شَهْوَتَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ قَالَ ابْنُ الْمُثَنَّى : وَشَرَابَهُ ، فَإِذَا قَضَى أَحَدُكُمْ نَهْمَتَهُ فَلْيَرْجِعْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ قَالَ ابْنُ الْمُثَنَّى : فَلْيُعَجِّلْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ
“Amru bin Ali told us. He said: Yahya narrates to us. He said: Malik told us, He said: Yahya told us from Malik. He (Malik) said: Sumiy told us from Abi Salih from Abu Hurairah from the Prophet PBUH, he said: Travelling is a part of torment. It prevents you from fulfilling your desires and eating. Ibnu al-Muthanna added: and drinking. When you have completed your affairs, return to your family. Ibnu al-Muthanna further said: and hasten back to your family.”
Narrated by al-Nasaie (8733) in Sunan al-Kubra
When each sanad is analysed, we find that all of them focuses to Malik from Sumiy from Abu Salih from Abu Hurairah. All of them are trustworthy and thiqah (trustworthy) narrators.
- There is no need to introduce Imam Malik. He passed away in the year 179 H and is known as Imam al-Dar al-Hijrah.
- Sumiy is the Maula of Abu Bakar bin Abdurrahman bin Hisyam. He was killed in the year 130H in the qadid valley. Abu Hatim narrated from Uthman bin Sa’id, he once asked Yahya bin Ma’in:
“Which sanad do you favour; Suhail bin Abu Salih from his father or Sumiy from Abu Salih? He answered: The sanad of Sumiy from Abu Salih is more accurate.”
Refer al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil (4/315)
Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Hanbal once asked his father regarding Sumiy. Imam Ahmad answered: He is a trustworthy person.
- Abu Salih al-Samman or his real name Zakwan bin Andullah. He passed away in the year 101H. He is a great scholar in Medina. Abu Hatim al-Razi said that he is a trustworthy (thiqah), has a great memory and his narrations can be used as evidences.
Refer Siyar ‘Alam al-Nubala (5/36)
He is also among the people who is a frequent and long-time student of Abu Hurairah.
Simply put, the hadith is sahih.
The Meaning of the Hadith
Scholars have given explanation regarding the hadith. We include the explanation and commentary of scholars on the meaning of the hadith.
- Al-Munawi stated:
“It is said to be a part of torment for in every travel there is exhaustion, fatigue, hardship, violent wind, hot or cold weather, fear, uncertainty, danger and deficiency of water and food supply.”
Refer Faidh al-Qadir (14/351)
- Al-‘Aini said:
“Among the wisdoms of the hadith is that it is makruh to be far away from one’s family members. Another wisdom is to hasten his journey back home for it will cause worry and concern if he is late and his presence will be missed.”
Refer Umdah al-Qari Syarh Sahih al-Bukhari (10/138)
- Al-Qadhi ‘Iyad stated:
“In a travel there will be fatigue and hardships. Even worse if one has to endure violent winds, hot and cold weather. It also prevents a person from eating or drinking for there may be times when food and drinks are available and other times when they are unavailable.”
Refer Ikmal al-Mu’lim Bi Fawaid Muslim (6/178)
- Mulla Ali al-Qari said:
“Travelling would distance us from our family and friends and hardships in life (of travel).”
Refer Mirqah al-Mafatih Syarh Mishkat al-Masabih (7/414)
To conclude, the meaning of the hadith is that in every travel there will be fatigue, hardships and other. Thus, the Prophet PBUH said that travelling is a part of torture. Just observe how a traveller who is on a long journey, he will feel exhausted, weary, hungry and thirsty. Furthermore, the meaning of torture in the hadith could also mean mental torture. For example, a person would be far away from his family and miss his loved ones for they are separated by a great distance from each other. This is what is meant by the Prophet PBUH.