Praise be to Allah.
It was narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh (4032) and Ahmad in his Musnad (1448) from Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Four things are part of happiness: a righteous wife, a spacious abode, a good neighbour and a comfortable mount. And four things are part of misery: a bad neighbour, a bad wife, a small abode and a bad mount.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (282).
In the answer to question no. 120807 we stated that what is meant by happiness in this hadith is happiness in this world, in the sense of physical comfort and a good life, and what is meant by misery in this hadith is misery in this world, exhaustion and troubles.
What is meant by a good mount is a good means of transportation by means of which one can reach the place to which one is headed easily without exhaustion or hardship, and during your journey, whilst riding it, you can make the most of the time to remember Allah, because of what Allah has blessed you with by making it easy, agreeable and amenable.
In contrast, a bad mount is the one that exhausts you and causes you stress, and you cannot reach the place to which you are headed by means of it except with difficulty and trouble, and perhaps it will delay you from meeting up with a caravan that you want to join, or it may annoy you and distract you with its slowness and lack of cooperation from remembering Allah and reciting Qur’an.
Al-Haakim (2684) also narrated this report, as follows: “Three things are part of happiness and three things are part of misery. Part of happiness is: a wife who, when you see her, she pleases you, and in your absence you trust her with herself and your wealth; a mount that is amenable and enables you to catch up with your companions; and a house that is spacious and has a lot of amenities. And part of misery is: a wife who, when you see her, she displeases you and is sharp-tongued towards you, and when you are absent you do not trust her with herself and your wealth; a mount that is slow and if you strike it (to make it move), it will exhaust you, but if you leave it alone, it will not help you to catch up with your companions; and a house that is small and has few amenities.”
Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (1047)
Al-Mannaawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Fayd al-Qadeer (3/442):
“a mount that is amenable” means it is amenable, swift and easy to control.
“and enables you to catch up with your companions” without exhaustion or difficulty in urging it on
“if you strike it” to make it go faster
“it will exhaust you, but if you leave it alone” to walk without striking it
“it will not help you to catch up with your companions” that is, your travelling companions; rather you will be cut off from them. End quote.
He also said:
The “comfortable mount” is one that travels swiftly and is not stubborn or obstreperous, and has a smooth gait with which there is no fear of falling, thus causing bodily harm or disturbance.
End quote from Fayd al-Qadeer (3/399)
At-Tahhaawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
A “comfortable mount” is one that you do not have to be distracted by, and when you are riding it, you are either focusing on remembering Allah or (at least) you are not worried about what it may cause you of harm due to riding it.
End quote from Sharh Mushkil al-Athaar (7/212)
What was meant by a mount in the hadith originally was any kind of animal that is ridden, such as a horse, mule, donkey or camel. That also includes ships. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys, for you to ride and as an adornment. And He creates (other) things of which you have no knowledge”
“and He has made the ships to be of service to you, that they may sail through the sea by His Command”
But nowadays that includes these things and also things that have taken their place, such as cars and other modern means of transportation.
Therefore when getting into these vehicles it is prescribed to say the dhikr for getting onto one’s mount, for if Allah, may He be exalted, reminded His slaves of the blessing of horses, mules and donkeys, the blessing that He has bestowed of these modern means of transportation is greater and more deserving of thanks, so the ruling on all of them is the same.
And Allah knows best.