To Travel or not to Travel

I was sitting in the train the other day and this little old lady got on. I watched her as she came in with her little roller suitcase, and a little crossbody purse she had on her. I watched as she adjusted her stuff, making sure she had all her belongings and settled into her seat. She continued to rearrange her things as she sat in her seat and the train began to move. She looked up at me, saw that I was watching her and then kind of shifted herself away from me and continued doing what she was doing. Probably heading to the airport, I thought. I watched her as she kept moving things from her crossbody purse to her suitcase and vice versa. It seemed like she was making sure her purse and suitcase had everything in it and then making sure it was zipped closed all the way. She went on checking to make sure she had her wallet and I’m assuming other important things in her crossbody. At this point I realized I should stop staring at her.

Watching her (well staring at her), really got me thinking. The way this lady was adjusting and rearranging is nothing new. Its quite common actually. This is how we all behave when we are traveling. I do the same thing. Just like this little lady, when I travel, I too keep one small bag, purse, crossbody or backpack attached to my body while the other bag is usually my bigger, rollable suitcase. The first bag (crossbody, purse, backpack) that I carry close to my body is the one that usually contains important things like; passports, wallet, IDs, credit cards, cash, tickets and other valuable items. This one is usually the more important bag, so I keep it close to me at all times during my travel. I know that what it contains is very important, and will get me to my destination. Without it, I won’t be able to get through security, board the plane, enter the destination country, etc. So I know how important this first bag really is. The second bag, (the rolling suitcase if you will) usually contains my clothes, toiletries, shoes, and other extra non-emergent things. This bag contains things I know I need and use but don’t give too much importance to. Why? Because this second bag is not critical for me to get to my destination. Worse case if I lose this second bag, its contents can be eventually replaced. Therefore if I don’t have this second bag, it’s not the end of the world, because as long as I have my crossbody or backpack, I’ll be able to get to where I am going.

I’m sure we all will agree that this is usually our way of thinking and behaving as we travel in this world, from one city to another, one country to another. But let’s step back and look at what this world really is. Isn’t this world, our life, is a journey in itself? From the moment we are born until the moment we die, we are traveling. Through life. And sometimes we get so preoccupied with traveling within this world, that we forget about traveling through this world. And sometimes we that at the end of this journey we have to go back and face Him. Our final destination is to get back to Allah (swt) and be allowed to enter Jannah. But what is that we need in order to get to that specific destination? What should be in our “crossbody,” in our “backpack”, in our “purses” so that we can be allowed to enter Jannah?

At the security checkpoints here in the airports, we are asked to present our IDs, they check that and what’s inside our purses and backpacks. They ask us a few questions, they scan our bodies as well. And if all checks out, they let us pass through and enter our destination.  What will we present to Allah (swt) when we return to Him? How will we answer His questions? What will He see in our hearts, i.e. crossbody or backpacks? Will we pass His “security checkpoint”? Will He let us pass through and enter Jannah?

We check and then we double check. Even our tickets contain information such as our names, flight number, time and destination. We use these tickets in this world to get us to our destinations. But what will be on our tickets (a.k.a. our book of deeds) when we present them to Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgement? Will that “ticket” allow us to enter Jannah, our final destination? We get so panicky and paranoid about making sure we don’t forget anything important before leaving on a trip here. We get so overwhelmed and obsessed with making sure we have our wallets, keys, cash and IDs in our backpacks. We make certain that we don’t forget things we need to get by in this world. But we forget to make sure we have Allah and the Quran in our hearts for when we leave this world.

I think the real question to ask ourselves here is, what will we have on our purses or crossbody or backpacks when we face Allah?

As we travel through this world, may we never forget to continuously prepare for our most real and final destination. Ameen.

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