Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)
by Imam Nawawi
170. Chapter: On what one says when one mounting for a journey
Allah says, "He who created all the species and gave you ships and livestock for you to ride, so that you might sit firmly on their backs and remember your Lord's blessing while you are seated on them, saying, 'Glory be to Him who subjected this to us. We could never have done it by ourselves. Indeed we are returning to our Lord!'" (W43:11-13; H43:12-14)
972. Ibn 'Umar reported that when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, settled on his camel to go out on a journey, he said the takbir three times. Then he said, "Glory be to the One who has subjected this to us when we did not have the ability to do it. We are turning to our Lord. O Allah, we ask You in this journey of ours for piety and Godfearing and action which is pleasing to You. O Allah, make this journey of ours easy for us and roll up its distance for us. O Allah, You are our Companion in the journey and our Khalif in our family. O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the hardship of this journey and any sight which brings sorrow and an inauspicious return in respect of property, family and children." When he returned, he would say this and add to it, "Returning, turning in repentance, worshipping our Lord, praising." [Muslim]
973. 'Abdullah ibn Sarjis said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, travelled, he sought refuge from the hardship of the journey, from a sorrowful return, from decrease after substance, and from the supplication of the wronged and from any evil sight in respect of his family or property." [Muslim]
Scholars say that the meaning of kawn (substance) is to return from a stable state or a state of increase to a state of decrease.
974. 'Ali ibn Rabi'a said, "I was once with 'Ali ibn Abi Talib when he was brought an animal to ride. When he put his foot in the stirrup, he said, 'In the name of Allah,' When he was upright on its back, he said, 'Glory be to Him who subjected this to us. We could never have done it by ourselves. Indeed we are returning to our Lord!' Then he said, 'Praise be to Allah' three times. Then he said, 'Allah is greater' three times. Then he said, 'Glory be to You. I have wronged myself, so forgive me. None forgives wrong actions except You.' Then he laughed and was asked, 'Amir al-Mu'minin! what made you laugh?' He said, 'I saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, do as I did. Then he laughed and I said, "O Messenger of Allah, what made you laugh?" He said, "Your Lord marvels at His slave when he says, 'Forgive me my wrong actions, when he knows very well that no one other than Me can forgive wrong actions.'" [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]