Aalia Qureshi, London, UK
What is the meaning of travel? The urge to cross these colossal bodies of water into regions never before seen to us mere westerners; what precisely is the pin point motive behind it? Perhaps it is a similar motive behind the continual pursuit for life beyond this planet: curiosity, an impeccably human feature or, perhaps, defect. For the ordinary person, journeying into a new area that is completely foreign to their standard surroundings offers something almost identical to a challenge. What can I find here? What varieties of hidden treasures lurk beyond these mystifying trees and vast fields of lush green? What secrets are encrusted in these ancient walls and caves?
The more places that a person has seen, the more learned they are allegedly. However in effect, how much nearer are they to satisfaction than one who has remained enclosed within the same four walls their entire life? None is the correct answer. One cannot comprehend something in its depths and entirety by simply observing it; one must understand its creator first.
The Earth is finite unlike a human’s curiosity and satisfaction. Exploring a new point of latitude and longitude won’t hold one’s attention for a lifetime. It is an eternal quest for something that a human has to this day never found; peace. We are relentlessly on the look-out for something new that will carry something, anything, which is ultimate, be it a new adventure to a place afar, a quote that explains life perfectly or a new song that finally leaves us satisfied by its end. We are on a quest for something that is perfect without flaw, a pencil that never runs out or a person who can unswervingly fulfil our every need. But this will never be, in terms of materialistic views. Give someone the latest iPhone, but as soon as the next model comes out, he will soon desire it. Give someone a car, and he will ask for a house. Give someone the entire world and everything it has to offer, and he will ask for more.
But, in fact, the answer is right in front of us. It is an opportunity from the first time we are brought into this world to the last second we spend in it before leaving for our Creator. It is Islam, a religion whose very name signifies peace. Only in Islam does one find true peace and satisfaction. Do not seek satisfaction and peace in worldly pleasures; rather, invest your time in engaging with your Creator and the infinite knowledge only He can provide.
Look at a sunset from the peak of a mountain in Tanzania and rather than automatically taking out your camera and snapping a photo, consider how Allah has created such a breath-taking display so gratifying to our eyes. Feel the prehistoric hieroglyphics encrusted into age-old caves in Egypt and reflect upon how only Allah has the supremacy and power to maintain ancient relics over millenniums of time in pristine condition given that He is the ultimate Creator of time itself.
Rather than go on infinitely without a legitimate goal, travel to seek and appreciate the pleasures that Allah has created for us to enjoy in the world and in that we can find true peace and satisfaction.