When the Messenger of Allah (S) ordered his companions to emigrate, he said to them, “Go to Abyssinia, for there is a king near whom no one is treated unjustly at all.” He did not give them passports, nor did he request visas for them from the government of Abyssinia, nor were they forced to change the currency that was available there.
All these procedures were not known or followed at that time, but the land of Allah was vast. When a man’s own country became constrained to him, he rode on his mount and intended the mercy of his Lord. Wherever he went, he found what he sought with no inspectors to watch his coming and going. No custom-houses would ask him to pay customs and taxes or send him back if he had no documents of vaccination or ask him to show the documents for possession of his mount, in case it might have been stolen or the dues of the road had not been paid.
Yes civilization, or may we say that managing greater masses of human beings has required for these procedures. The earth has been divided into nations, and then into many countries. Every country or all people who speak the same language made a government and every government took a special flag, marked its borders in the land and the sea and put guards at the borders so that no one unwanted could enter their country.
When the number of people increased more and more and one became greedy for what the other had - they exploited each other and colonized each other. Revolutions and crimes increased. The developed societies were obliged to define every citizen. Therefore, newborn children and dead people were counted. Every person had his/her own birth document, identity card and passport. The borders were controlled so that no one from one country would enter another except after getting the permission of that country and agreeing to abide by the conditions imposed by that country.
I, like many other young Muslims, when my country became limited to me, tried to immigrate to another country, but I found that all the doors were closed before me, especially that of the Arab and Muslim countries.
I was very confused when I recited this saying of Allah:
Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort. Qur'an, 4:97
I said then to myself that the earth is Allah’s without doubt, but the servants of Allah have possessed it, divided it among themselves and not permitted it for others.
If I tried to find an excuse for the non-Muslim countries like France, England, Germany, or the United States of America, in this context, I might find one, but what would be the excuse for the Arab and Muslim countries?
And if I tried to find an excuse for the Arab and Muslim countries that they had submitted to the international system for the sake of reciprocating, then what would be the excuse for the rulers of Mecca and Medina who imposed on Muslims visas for going to perform the hajj and umrah besides the taxes that must be paid to enter this land?
I also was confused when I recited this saying of Allah:
Surely (as for) those who disbelieve, and hinder (men) from Allah's way and from the Sacred Mosque which We have made equally for all men, (for) the dweller therein and (for) the visitor… Qur'an, 22:25
If the inviolable Mosque (the Kaaba) that Allah has made as safe and sanctuary for all people, the residents and non-residents, now becomes a property of a certain country that permits some and prevents others from visiting it, then we must review our Islam, Qur'an, and all concepts!
I remained for a long time confused between different thoughts and obsessions that at some times I talked with my Lord saying: “O my Lord, You have said and Your saying is the truth:
Was not Allah's earth vast, so that you should have migrated therein? Qur'an, 4:97
You have also said:
And proclaim among people the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path. Qur'an, 22:27
Yet at present Your vast land has been prevented from entry by people and Your House has been possessed and its gate has been closed, so what do we do then?
One day, while I was reading some sermons of Imam Ali (a.s.) in Nahjul Balaghah when he talked about the Qur'an, one statement attracted my attention and I reread it many times. I found in it what I sought for a long time. It was the only answer that solved the riddle and removed my obsessions.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said in the first sermon when talking about the Book of Allah, “…and between a thing that is obligatory at its time and that shall be null in its future…” I understood from this speech that such verses Qur’an, which were possible at the time of the Prophet (S) would not be possible in the future because of the prevailing of the unjust and the tyranny of disbelievers.
Thus, if someone shall say to his Lord on the Day of Resurrection: ‘I was disabled on earth’, Allah the Almighty - Who is aware of all things, will know that this man is from late people. So Allah will not say to him: your abode is Hell and it is an evil resort!
And if someone shall say to his Lord on the Day of Punishment: ‘I was prevented from going to perform the pilgrimage to Your Inviolable House’, it shall be said to him: ‘I had said to you that if you can afford the journey to it. So your excuse is accepted, and the one who prevented you from that, is responsible for it.’
May peace be upon you O my Master on the day that you were born, on the day when you died and on the day when you shall be restored to life.1