وَقَالَ إِنِّي مُهَاجِرٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
Wa-qāla innī muhājirun ilā rabbi, innahū huwal-‘azīzul-hakīm
And he said, ‘Indeed I am migrating toward my Lord. Indeed He is the All-mighty, the All-wise.’
(Sūratul ‘Ankabūt, No. 29, Āyat 26)
The above verse is a statement of Nabī Ibrāhīm (a). Migration here could mean the physical migration to seek a better place to spread the word of God. The Prophets migrated physically when their circumstances would not allow them to preach. It could also mean an internal and spiritual migration towards God, where a person withdraws from polluted surroundings and seeks purity and closeness to God. The closeness to God who is All-Mighty and All-Wise compensates for the loneliness of migration.
Migration is of different types:
1) Migration to seek knowledge: Why should a group go forth from each section of them to become learned in religion . . . (Q 9:20).
2) Migration to flee oppression: Those who migrate for the sake of Allah after they have been wronged . . . (Q 16:41).
3) Migration towards God: Apart from the above verse, in another verse Nabī Ibrāhīm says: Indeed, I am going towards my Lord who will guide me (Q 37:99).
The human being who is in search of perfection works hard on the internal self. The thoughts, words and deeds of a person stem from an inner perspective or worldview of life. Even though actions may seem apparently good, if the inner perspective is not pure these outer manifestations remain but artificial fruits that lack the beauty and taste of real ones. Scholars liken this to an artificial tree inside the heart rather than a natural one. It has fruits and flowers stuck on; but there is no sweetness, no growth, and no usefulness.
To achieve a pure and true perspective it is necessary to migrate from darkness to light (Q 2:256), from evil to good, from corruption to virtue – to migrate from negative and petty thoughts to positive, noble ideas. This is the migration towards God. It could be fleeing from one’s own internal negativity, or from the negativity of those around us. It is donning God consciousness, i.e. taqwā (Q 7:26) so external influences may not affect us. When we are able to withdraw from all that is ungodly, from the distractions that make us heedless of God and life’s sacred duties, then we have migrated towards God. It does not always have to be a physical migration, for not everyone can do that. But everyone is capable of migrating internally and spiritually to a better and purer world view.
Recite this verse when you feel surrounded by anti-spiritual elements. It could be at places where no one remembers God, or it could be when you are with family and/or friends who are not conscious of God the way He deserves. Whatever your situation, you can preserve your closeness and spirituality by migrating internally to Him.
Sources: Ayatollah Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūne; Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr-e Nūr; Sayyid Jawad Husaini, “The Role of Migration in Islam”. Maarefquran.org, see the article; Internal Migration, hawzah.net see the article.