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The 'Lonely Road' of Migration
A spiritual migration, just as a physical one, can be quite difficult. Yet, God has promised "life abundant" on the other side.
This past week, Muslims marked the beginning of the Islamic New Year. In the Islamic calendar, it is the year 1445. The Islamic calendar marks the years since the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, migrated from his hometown of Mecca to his adopted home of Yathrib, which thereafter became known as Medina.
While migration is typically thought of to be physical, where someone migrates from one place to another, it does not always have to be so. Migration can also be spiritual. Indeed, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said this about migration:
The migrant is the one who abandons what God has prohibited.
This is profound.
When we abandon what God prohibits, we follow a path: it is the path of righteousness, piety, and obedience. It may be a difficult path, just as leaving one’s home can be difficult. It may be a lonely journey, if one has not been accustomed to living a life of righteousness. And yet, God says in His book:
Whosoever migrates in the way of God will find upon the earth many a refuge and abundance, and whosoever forsakes his home, emigrating unto God and His messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward will fall upon God, and God is Forgiving, Merciful (4:100).
Here God is encouraging the believers, hesitant to abandon the only homes they have ever known, to emigrate to a new land for the sake of their faith 1445 years ago. Yet, it also applies to the one who migrates from sin to righteousness. When that person makes that journey, he or she will find “many a refuge and abundance.”
In addition, I have also read 4:100 be interpreted this way:
And he who forsakes the domain of evil for the sake of God shall find on earth many a lonely road, as well as life abundant….
Here migration is termed “forsaking the domain of evil,” and it may be a very “lonely road,” as one may have to abandon everything he has ever done or ever known. I really appreciate this interpretation as well.
Yet, when we take that journey; when we migrate from sin to righteousness; when we take the sometimes “lonely road” of “forsaking the domain of evil,” we will indeed find “many a refuge and life abundant.”
This is because God will be there on the other side. He will help us along the path of migration from sin to righteousness. He will be our Guide and Companion, and there is no better guide and companion than God.
And so, while we will not be able to be among those who made the very first migration for the sake of God in Islam 1445 years ago, we always have the opportunity to migrate, to forsake the domain of evil, for the sake of God each and every day. And the journey will be well worth the difficulty.
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