Q. At what distance does a person become a musaafir? Is this distance “as the crow flies” i.e a straight line or is it according to the road you take? When a person is calculating the length of the journey, does he also include the length of the return journey? At what point in a person’s return journey does he stop being musaafir?
A. A person becomes a musafir when he crosses a distance of 48 miles. This distance is taken from the place of one’s residence (location) to the point of destination of a journey. Hence, any time a person undertakes a journey, travelling by car, boat, bus, train or an aircraft, and his intention is to cross a distance of 48 miles, he becomes a musafir and the laws of ‘journey’ would be applicable to him. The point of destination of the journey must be 48 miles or more from the location where one resides or from the point where one has started his journey.
Hence, if one travels on many different paths/roads simply to reach the limit of 48 miles when this is not the normal distance of the intended destination, then he will not become a musafir.
Similarly, if one is engaged in a job which requires him to travel repeatedly in the same city and causes him to reach 48 miles at the end of the day, then he would not become a musafir.
When calculating the length of a journey, one will not include the distance which is covered while returning. Only the distance covered while traveling towards one’s intended destination will be taken into consideration.
One will cease to be a musafir when he enters the district of his residence while returning or when he enters the place from which he started his journey.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan