“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.” – Al Qur’an (29: 20)
Commentary by Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri:
The nature of existence is that of a journey. Everything is based on movement. The electrons journey around the nucleus and the earth journeys through space. The first thing a newborn child does is to move. The entire creation is a journey from Allah, to Allah, by Allah, and the highest benefit for man comes if he emulates it by journeying into the land.
In every way it is a blessing to travel. In the Shadhili tariqa (a Sufi path), the masters never slept in one place for more than three weeks, so as not to take what was around them for granted. Haraka ma’a-l-baraka: movement is with blessing. Man must change, he must move on so that he does not become a slave of outer habits and become fixated. Man is attracted to fixation because he loves the permanent, the ever-fixed within him. But to desire preservation of outer fixation is ignorance. The outer can never be fixed. No sooner does man try to control an event than he finds it beyond his power to do so.
Man wants to know the permanent but he mistakenly tries to bring it about in his environment by establishing rigid habits. At the lowest, most superficial level, travel disturbs this tendency. The earth would be sterile if it were not disturbed, if it were not plowed. The same thing applies to man’s heart. If it is not disturbed, if it is not cut off from its desires and attachments, how can it resonate and keep turning? At first one resents being cut off, but the purpose of one’s life is to move both outwardly and inwardly; outwardly by having dynamic attitudes toward the world and the earth, and inwardly by being willing to turn away from what the self desires.
By Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri from the book “The Mercy of Qur’an and the Advent of Zaman – Commentary on Four Suras”