Muslim Travel Etiquette: How to Pray on a Plane
Every year, almost everyone looks forward to December. Clearing out there calendars and looking forward to that much deserved annual leave, school break and family gatherings. As Muslim travelers, while enjoying our vacation, we should still make prayers our topmost priority. Long flights , transits and flight delays can be one’s biggest worry during this time.
If you worried about taking a long haul flight and missing your Salah? This article is a must read to ease your worries away.
When determining prayer times,It is always advisable to check prayer times prior to flights. With the emerging technologies and new apps it’s just a few clicks away. In case you’re not a techie You can always download apps like Muslim Pro and The Qiblah and key in few important information to get your prayer timing and qiblah directions. However, if you are unfamiliar with how to use these technological devices, here are a list of ways that you can calculate prayer timings.
To Determine Subah Prayer Timing
Determining subah is one of the easiest prayer timings, always look for the streak of light with the sun hiding under the horizon.
To Determine Zohor/Luhar Prayer Timings
When the sun passes the zenith i.e. the highest point, you may perform the prayer.
To Determine Asr Prayer Timings
Any time before the sunsets
To Determine Maghrib Prayer Timings
Immediately after the sun sets.
To Determine Isha Prayer Timings
After the sunsets and the red afterglow disappears and the sky is dark.
If you are unsure of the suns position, you can always ask the crew for further assistance. They would be happy to help. After determining the sun’s exact position perform your Wudhu or Tayammum and your all set to perform your prayers.
Now are you wondering how to perform your prayers facing the Qiblah now that you are seated on a plane? Islamic Scholars have unanimously agreed that it is obligatory to offer your Salah while facing the Qiblah and offer your rukhoo and sujood accordingly.
In this case it’s advisable to perform your Salah as soon as you have reached your destination. It is highly recommended to perform your prayers while on ground. In case your travel time is longer than expected you can always combine your prayer, combining luhar and asr, and magharib and Isha prayers. However if you are uncomfortable or afraid youll miss your prayet time before you land at the airport, it is then permissible for you to offer your prayers while on the plane.
Some airlines have a designated space on board to perform your prayers. You may then ask for permission to use the premise and perform your prayers while standing and facing the Qiblah. Famous Airlines like Emirates, Qatar Etihad and Saudi Arabian Airlines show the Qiblah direction on the screen available at your seat. But if you are unable to determine the Qiblah, you may then ask the crew for assistance.
However in the situation where you know that you are unable to perform the prayer while facing the Qiblah, in standing position, or do proper Rukoo and Sujood because of limited circumstances, then it is permissible to perform to the best of your ability from the sitting position.
The matter is different if you wish to perform Nawaafil (Supererogatory) prayers, then it is allowed for you to pray in no matter what direction you are in. It is not obligatory to face the Qiblah. There is a narration that the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W used to perform his Nawaafil while riding on his camel.
After you have determined the prayer timing and Qiblah, following are the steps for you to perform prayers while in sitting position:
- Start the prayer with the Takbeer and the recitation of Al-Fatihah and what is easy from the Al-Quran. All movements will be done in the sitting position.
- Perform Rukoo using the head motion by nodding the head
- Perform Sujood by nodding the head lower than Rukoo to indicate prostration
- The rest of the movements e.g. sitting in between Sujood, Giving the Salaam will be done as per normal but in your sitting position.
With this, you are all prepared to perform your prayers on board the flight!