“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
The word ‘saiyr’ – which means travel or move (e.g. a planet is ‘sayyarah’) – with all its variations, appears in the Quran total 27 times. Many of its usages are in the formulation of ‘Do travel’, ‘Tell them to travel’, or ‘Do they not travel?’.
The Quran promotes travel as a potential pilgrimage, since during travel one passes by numerous ‘ayah’ or divine messages (31:31, 12:105, 22:46; cf. 45:3, 10:6). Also, man’s ability to travel is described as a special honour endowed to man as part of man’s exalted status above all natural Forces (17:61, 66, 70).
Travel, tour and navigation demand geographical and astronomical information as well as nautical, aeronautical and astronautical knowledge. Because scientific data about natural objects (explored messages of nature) give man orientation and power, they are described in the Quran as directions of paths, like landmarks and guiding stars:
- And He it is who has set for you the stars that you may guide yourselves by them in the darkness of the land and the sea. We have detailed Our messages for a people who possess knowledge. 6:97
- And He has placed firm mountains on Earth, lest it sway with you, and rivers and paths, so that you might find your way, And landmarks; and by the stars they are guided. 16:14-16
While thus encouraging travel in general, the Quran also strongly recommends travel when it has a specific, positive purpose: travel to trade, search, explore, visit, migrate, enjoy, learn, study and so on.
TRAVEL TO EXPLORE NEW HORIZONS
Another emphasized purport of travel is searching and exploring new lands and areas, new possibilities, potential resources and richness of various cultures:
And on that one sees ships ploughing through the waves, so that you might go forth in quest of some of His bounty, and thus have cause to be grateful. 16:14
And you see the ships cleave through it that you may seek of His Bounty and that you may be thankful. 35:12
It is God who has subjected to you the sea that the ships may run thereon by His command, that you may seek of his Bounty, and that you may be thankful. 45:12
TRAVEL TO LEARN FROM VISITING NEW PLACES
The Quran encourages travel that aims to visit new places as a means of learning:
Do they then not travel through the Earth, so that their minds gain wisdom and their ears thus learn to hear? 22:46
Have you not seen the ships speeding through the sea, carrying God’s provisions, so that He might show you some of Hiswonders? Herein, behold, there are messages indeed for all who are patient, grateful. 31:31
TRAVEL TO STUDY ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY
Over and over again the Quran emphasizes the importance of travel with a purpose to study archaeology and the history of nations and humankind in general, including causes of rise and fall of previous peoples and civilizations:
Do they not travel through the Earth, and deeply observe what was the End of those before them? 47:10
Have they not travelled through the Earth and deeply observed the consequences for those who were before them? 40:82
But being a traveller does not mean you have to voyage for thousands of miles. You have the ability to think, feel and live as a traveller starting right now if you want. You must simply seek everyday to be inspired, healed and challenged by what’s already around you. Engage meaningfully with the world and allow it to awaken your soul, open your mind and fill your heart. Embrace whatever He gives you in the daily journey that is life, all the while drawing closer to your Lord.
“The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” —Marcel Proust