Traveling is always a transformative experience, which changes us in a way that is difficult to put into words. This is especially true on journeys that impact our souls – where we feel closer to Allah.
We hope that this article will encourage you to travel not only outside but also inside, in order to get closer to Allah.
Of course, at the top of this list is the City of the Prophet. One can never exhaust the reasons for embarking on a journey to visit the Home of Allah. This is a duty owed to Allah, a pillar of the religion and of the most righteous deeds a Muslim can perform, as Abu Hurayrah narrated: the Prophet ﷺ was asked: “What is the best deed?” He replied: “To have faith in Allah and His Messenger.” The enquirer asked: “What next?” He replied, “To perform jihad for the sake of Allah.” The enquirer asked: “What next?” He replied, “A valid and accepted Hajj.” [Narrated in Al-Bukhari & Muslim].
These narratives offer a taste of the magnitude of embarking on this journey and it is important that we prioritize this journey above all other journeys when traveling to enliven and strengthen the mind.☺️
2. Fez, Morocco
Like Cairo, Fez is also revered as a historic center of Islamic knowledge, the Al-Karaouine mosque being the first university in the world! This city is also known as the “city of the saints” because of the many awliya that have left their mark on this great city, many of which are honored by mosques built in their honor.
Being one of the oldest cities in the world constantly accustomed, the old city of Fez has preserved many of the structures and systems observed over the course of a millennium. These links with tradition make Fez a city that reminds us of our history.
Traveling to Fez would expose you to a lifestyle close to fitra (the innate being of humans), a lifestyle long forgotten by much of the world.
It could be a popular destination for travelers due to its rich culture, but Istanbul is actually much more important than we think! The city has been the intellectual, political and spiritual capital of much of Ottoman history – the oldest caliphates in the history of Islam.
From the grandeur of its architecture to the friendliness of the people, you will constantly be offered a reminder of the beauty of this deen as you stroll the streets of Istanbul.
Istanbul is also the city where East and West intersect, geographically and historically, the city has belonged to Eastern and Western traditions, Islam and Christianity. This fusion of cultures, traditions and religions reminds us how the Islamic tradition was not revealed for a specific people, but for all of humanity!
This destination is deliberately left open because I believe that any way of entering the Sahara will lead to a transformative experience. Having visited the Sahara in Morocco and Egypt, I can testify to the power of this desert, the vastness of which reminds us of the infinity of Allah and the majesty of his creations.
As you venture into the desert, you will be brought back to a landscape that has been left in a pristine state, unaffected by modernity, leaving you the opportunity to meditate on your own state without the distractions normally surrounded.
Then there is of course the magnificent night sky of the desert – camping in the desert is truly a spectacular experience as the vastness of the night sky above reflects the vastness of the desert sand below, serving to remind us of the magnificence of our Creator.
5. The Himalayas and Mt Everest
The Himalayas are a vast mountain range spanning several countries from Pakistan to China! My own Himalayan experience was in Nepal during a trek to Everest base camp. This trip lasts about 3 weeks and it is a trip that I cannot recommend highly enough.
Undoubtedly, the physical and mental side of this trip is a challenge because you will have to fight to complete the most difficult phases of the trek. However, by overcoming these phases, you would be revitalized by the feeling of accomplishment that meets you at the end of each day!
The most important aspect of trekking in the Himalayas is the landscapes and the majestic views that you would come across. The size of many of these great mountains is a humbling experience, reminding us of the greatness of Allah, as Allah states in Surah Qaf
“And the Earth, we spread it out, and cast therein firmly set mountains and We have made to grow therein of all beautiful kinds; to give sight and as a reminder to every servant who turns to Allah.” [Surah Qaf 50:7-8]
Al-Quds or better known as Jerusalem is the epicenter of the three Abrahamic traditions and remains one of the most sacred cities in the world. You cannot visit this place without remembering the shared history of the lineage of Abraham, and there is no other place in the world that better reflects this than on Harem el-Sharif – where the holy places of the mosque Al-Aqsa, the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are located😍
For Muslims, the significance of visiting Al-Aqsa is laid out clearly in Surah Isra [17:1], which states
Visiting Al-Quds is particularly necessary during this period in history, as many Muslims may be put off making this journey due to the political situation in Palestine. But we shouldn’t let that stop us from visiting the holiest city in Islam, apart from Mecca and Medina!
Like Fez, Cairo is a city steeped in history, offering sites and monuments spiritually important to all humanity. The pyramids here are a visual reminder of the stories of the prophet Musa and the prophet Yusuf, and their relationship to the pharaohs.
Cairo is also arguably one of the most productive centers of learning in the Islamic world, with students coming from around the world to gain knowledge from many of its centers, the most important of which is Al-Azhar University. !
8. Mount Sinai
The Sinai Desert is a region steeped in history and remarkable landscapes, which meet in the city of St Kathrine at the foot of Mount Sinai. It is also believed to be where the Prophet Musa ascended to receive the Ten Commandments from Allah.
Climbing Mount Sinai is often done overnight by tourists who ascend on cool evenings to avoid the intense heat desert days. At the top of this mountain is a church and a mosque where you can pray Fajr and then enjoy the most magnificent sunrise that crosses the Sinai desert.
Mauritania is a place that I personally want to visit because of its reputation as a center of learning and home to many righteous scholars. Visiting this country would take you off the beaten track of common travel routes, but the rewards of taking the road less traveled are numerous!
For the soul of a Muslim, such a journey can be invaluable because you would have the opportunity to acquire knowledge in an environment dedicated to the transmission of tradition in its purest form, from the hearts of the teachers who were enlightened by this Deen
Located in the southern half of modern Spain, this region is a reminder of the Islamic presence in Western Europe, which in turn reminds us that Islam has and can spread to all parts of this globe! The many mosques of Andalusia, its magnificent gardens and palaces testify to the beauty that our religion can instill in a society!
Here we are reminded of how much Islam is a trust that has been placed in us and that it can be taken away if we do not live up to the challenge of preserving and caring for this deen as it deserves. to be cured. However, if we give our beloved religion the attention and care it deserves, it will – as it has done for so many regions and peoples before – allow a civilization to flourish, in which the beauty of Allah manifests in the world.
The places on this list may vary, but what each of them has in common is to enliven the human heart by reminding us of the magnificence of Allah. As we reflect on the signs of Allah in this world, the hope is that we strengthen our Imaan and draw closer to our Lord.