When traveling as Muslims, there are usually four concerns that come to mind. “Is the country safe for Muslims? Is it easy to find masajid/masjids there? Can I find halal food?” And if you have children, “Is it family friendly?” Many Muslims travel for reasons such as holiday, the life experience of seeing different cultures, trying different traditional and authentic food, and probably even finding a new place to call home. So we’ve compiled a diverse list to explore and hopefully make your choice of destination easier.
By the way, the list isn’t in any particular order.
Qatar is a small Middle Eastern country with a population of approximately 2.6 million inhabitants. It is a welcoming country full of culture, diversity, and foreigners (i.e. expats) who make up about 85.7% of the population. Muslims are about 67.7% because of the country’s high number of expats. The national language is Arabic, although, English is widely spoken and is the unofficial national language. Qatar is considered the richest country in the world as of 2017.
It is a family-friendly country that many people around the world chose to call home. One of its most recent and amazing architecture is the Qatar National Library which is located in the capital city of Doha. The library has more than 800,000 books in English, Arabic, and other languages readily available for free for Qatari citizens and residents. It has a large children’s center and is family-friendly.
Qatar is definitely one of those countries that everyone should try to visit. However, if you are planning on working there or visiting today, just keep in mind of the recent diplomatic crisis between Qatar and some Middle Eastern and African countries that banned Qatar.
Tanzania is a country on the east coast of Africa with a population of about 55.6 million, of whom 35.2% are Muslims. Although English is one of the national languages of Tanzania, Swahili is the first official language and more widely spoken. The capital city is Dar es Salaam.
Zanzibar, a majority Muslim-populated city, is probably the easiest and best place for Muslims to visit for halal food and masjids.
Tanzania is known to have amazing food and culture, beautiful beaches, wildlife, and national parks. If you have children, a visit to Tanzania could be a breathtaking learning experience for them.
If you choose Tanzania as a destination, it may benefit you to learn a few words or phrases in Swahili to enrich your experience. And when you land, you may be welcomed with the saying “Karibu (welcome).”
Malaysia is one of those countries that are usually on the list when looking for a travel destination for Muslims. This list was meant to create a more diverse option, but we still couldn’t take Malaysia out of the list.
Located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a country with a population of more than 30 million, 61.3% of whom are Muslims. One thing that attracts many people to Malaysia is the affordable lifestyle it provides, the widely accessible halal food options, and prayer facilities.
The capital Kuala Lumpur is busy and is the ideal place to shop and find halal restaurants. But if you’re looking for a more natural and peaceful experience, the city of Langkawi should be on your list. If you decide to visit Malaysia, try to learn a few phrases in Malay, although, English is also widely spoken.
For whatever reasons, Oman is barely seen on lists of Muslim-friendly countries to visit. However, almost everyone who visits this country has nothing but the best things to say. Oman is a Middle Eastern and Muslim-populated country (mainly the Ibadi sect) located next to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The country is large, although its population is only about 4.4 million. The capital and largest city of Oman is Muscat, which is also the most visited city.
People who visit Oman often talk a lot about its hospitality and peaceful atmosphere. What makes this country stand out is that it remains relatively true to its traditional way of life, welcomes modernity to a certain level, and doesn’t go crazy overboard with competing in making tall buildings.
Even though Oman is mostly desert, it also has landscapes with mountains, trees, and beautiful bodies of water. One of the most interesting things about Oman is Frankincense! Frankincense is a type of resin that comes from a tree and is burned to use as incense or perfume. It is widely available in Oman, so if you visit, make sure to get some on your way back.
By the way, don’t forget to learn a little bit of Arabic before going. You may get away with English, but to make matters easier, have someone interpret or learn at least a few important phrases in Arabic.
Located on the west coast of Africa, Senegal is a Muslim-populated country of about 15.4 million inhabitants. The capital city is Dakar and the official language is French, although, Wolof is the most widely spoken language.
Senegal is a very hospitable country with amazing food. One of its most popular dishes is Tchebou Djen or Tchebou Yap (a special rice dish with lots of vegetables with either meat or fish). It has most of West African countries hooked and each tries to replicate the dish in its own way. If you’re familiar with Nigerians, you’ve probably heard of a version of it as Jolof Rice. And if you’re familiar with Ivorians, you probably know the rice as Rie Gras.
An experience not to miss while in Senegal is the traditional drinking of tea! It is common to see families and friends gathered around little teapots and clear glasses to talk and drink a very strong yet tasty tea.
If you go to Senegal, make sure you tell them “Assalaam alaikum, Nangadef (how are you)” upon arrival.
Bosnia is a country located in the eastern part of Europe with a population of about 3.5 million. Half of the its inhabitants are Muslims. The capital city is Sarajevo, which is also the largest city in the country. The national languages are Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian.
Bosnia has lots of tragic history that every Muslim should probably know about. So visiting the country may give you a chance to learn a lot and see historical buildings. Not only that, it has beautiful landscapes, is affordable to live in, and finding halal food should be easy.
The Maldives usually ranks among the top when listing holiday countries because of its scenery, peaceful and simple lifestyles, beautiful weather, and its activity options. It is comprised of a group of multiple islands located in the Indian Ocean with a population of less than half a million (437k). The capital city is Male, the official language is Maldivian, and Islam is the official religion.
Being an officially Muslim country, finding halal food, halal hotels, and a Muslim lifestyle should be easy.
8. South Africa
South Africa is a country in the southern part of Africa next to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. It has three capital cities with Cape Town being the legislative capital. Its population is 57.7 million, and only 1.5% are Muslims. The country has eleven official languages with English, Xhosa, and Afrikaans being the most spoken languages.
Of all the cities in South Africa, Cape Town is the most Muslim-friendly city. Finding halal food and hotels that accommodate the Muslim lifestyle is a breeze.
Kenya is located in East Africa next to Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Sudan South Sudan. It has a population of 49.1 million and 9.7% of them are Muslims. The capital city is Nairobi and it has two official languages, English and Swahili.
Kenya is a hospitable and diverse country. Most Muslims can be found in Nairobi where finding halal food and masjids is easy.
To take advantage of what Kenya has to offer, you may want to also visit the Nairobi National Park and go on a safari trip to see the breathtaking wildlife.
Mauritius is an island located in the Indian Ocean with 1.2 million inhabitants, and 17.3% of them are Muslims. Its capital city is Port Louis and the national languages are French and English.
If you love nature, Mauritius may be a good fit for you. It has beautiful scenery, nature reserves, and parks with amazing wildlife. To top it all, the weather is mostly pleasant throughout the year.
To have an overall pleasant experience as a Muslim, major cities may be the best places to visit.
As always, do your research before going to any foreign country.
Are there any countries you think should have made it to the list? For example, Turkey should have probably been included, but it’s such a popular destination that it had to be given a rest; at least this time. What about countries you believe shouldn’t have been on the list? Share your opinions in the comment section below.
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