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Widen your horizon
MAULANA WAHIDUDDIN KHAN  27th Nov 2011

he Quran lays great emphasis on learning — through greater experience, more profound study and keener observation. In the chapter entitled Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) of the Quran, one of the verses elaborates this point: "Have these people not travelled through the land to make their hearts understand and let their ears hear; the truth is that it is not the eyes that are blind but the hearts that are in the bosoms that are blinded" (22:46).

Travel, which is quite in accordance with the Quranic scheme of things, is a great source of diverse experience. However, the Quran does not favour travel for entertainment, but rather advises the undertaking of journeys in order to acquire knowledge and experience. Indeed, travel facilitates the study of history and an understanding of nature. In the real world, travel of this kind is highly appreciable as part of the Quranic way of life.

This does not mean that you have to travel especially for this purpose. It simply means that you have to travel keeping the spiritual and intellectual benefits of journeying in mind. Man has always been in the habit of travelling for different purposes. Moving from place to place is a part of life. But the Quran insists that when you must, travel with this mind. Whether your journey is for business or for other purposes, you have to develop that kind of eye which can see things in the light of experience and which can learn lessons from observation.

Tawassum means to elicit spiritual lessons from material experiences. And Quranic travel is that which is based on the concept of tawassum. When you travel you have so many experiences — some pleasant and some unpleasant. But there is a common aspect to all of these experiences and that is the spiritual lessons they have to offer.

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