Learn from history and from your travels(DW#753 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 20, Allah says:

Say: Travel in the earth and see how He makes the first creation, then Allah creates the latter creation; surely Allah has power over all things.[Holy Quran 29:20]

This verse invites us to travel the earth in order to appreciate the cyclical nature of creation and to reflect on the mysteries of the Universe.

Traveling has been mentioned often in the Quran to broaden our horizons and to gain insight and wisdom.

In verse 46 of Suratul Hajj, for example, the Quran says: Have they not traveled over the land so that they may have hearts by which they may apply reason or ears by which they may hear? [Holy Quran 22:46]

In other words, traveling affords us the opportunity to expand our thinking and learn from interacting with other cultures and ways of thinking.

Very different from the culture of modern tourism which fuels consumerism and hedonism, traveling is encouraged in the faith to promote learning, inner growth and positive change.

Some reasons for travel that are mentioned in spiritual texts are:

To learn from the remains of those who have gone before. The Quran says: Say, travel over the land and then observe what was the fate of the guilty ones [Holy Quran 27:69]. The Quran reminds us that the oppressors and arrogant ones have encountered the same fate as the common ones. Despite their arrogance and rejection of God, they departed from this world and were placed in a small grave. The ruins of their once glorious power is a sign that nothing remains on this earth, only that which is for Allah. In other words, we are to take historical field trips to learn from the mistakes of the people who have gone before, keep in mind where we are headed and live with humility and accountability.

Tflee persecution and to safeguard faith. When one is persecuted for belief, race or ethnicity, Allah reminds us that we can move away. We do not have to stay in oppressive situations. The Quran says: O My servants who believe! surely My earth is vast, therefore Me alone should you serve [Holy Quran 29:56].
For knowledge and spirituality, sustenance, or relaxation. All these are valid and recommended reasons for traveling. It is narrated that the Holy Prophet (saw) told Imam Ali (as): O Ali, it does not befit an intelligent person to travel except for three reasons; for work and sustenance, to gather for the Hereafter, and for enjoyment that is permissible.

So the next time we get an opportunity to travel, let us use the opportunity to learn from history, to educate ourselves about the diversity of thought and people and to raise our consciousness.

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