4:100 Whosoever emigrates in the path of God will find in the earth many a road and expanse.
In this verse the Lord of the Worlds, the God of the world’s folk, the keeper of all, the knowing and lovingly kind gives a mark of His mercy and shows His gentleness to the servants. He invites the faithful to emigrate and praises those who do.
The emigrants are of three sorts: One sort emigrates for the sake of this world. They undertake trade or the search for livelihood. Even though this is allowed in the Shariah, it is not clear where it will lay down its head at the end and what its outcome will be. Muṣṭafā said, “Love for this world is the beginning of every offense.” He also said, “Do not take a landed estate, lest you become eager for this world.” This sort of emigrant is always in suffering and hardship, caught in the hands of thieves and on the verge of destruction. Hoping to gain something that is allowed, he leaves aside something obligatory. Then he burns, and he loses the basis for both. God says, “You desire the chance goods of this life, and God desires the afterworld” [8:67].
The second sort is the renunciants. Their emigration is for the sake of the afterworld and their traveling goes by way of meaning. They pass over the way stations of obedient acts and traverse the stages of worship on the feet of aspiration. Sometimes they make the hajj, go off to battle, struggle, make pilgrimages, perform the prayers, remember God’s name, and meditate on God’s blessings. Concerning them, God’s Messenger said, “Travel! The solitary will be the preceders.” They said, “O Messenger of God! Who are the solitary?” He said, “The engrossed—those who are engrossed by the remembrance of God. Remembrance has lifted away their loads, and they come forth unburdened on the Day of Resurrection.” The Exalted Lord says about them, “Whosoever desires the afterworld and strives after it with proper striving while having faith—those, their striving shall be thanked” [17:19].
The third sort is the recognizers, whose emigration is for the sake of the Patron. They emigrate within their own makeup. They emigrate inside the curtains of the soul until they reach the heart, they emigrate inside the curtains of the heart until they reach the spirit, and they emigrate inside the curtains of the spirit until they reach union with the Beloved.
A man came before Abū Yazīd Basṭāmī and said, “Why do you not emigrate and travel to benefit the people?” He said, “My Friend has settled down and I am busy with Him.” The man said, “When water stays in one place for a long time, it becomes stagnant.” Abū Yazīd said, “You should be the ocean, and then you will never become stagnant.”