The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The tourism of my nation is Jihad in the Cause of Allah.” [Abu Dawud]
Real tourism, for relaxation and enjoyment with one’s family, is in Jannah. This life is a test that qualifies people for Jannah or Jahannum. Jihad serves the purpose of removing the barriers to the spread of Islam, so that people are free to choose Islam without fear of persecution, and are free to live under the justice and mercy of the Shariah. The Sahabah and generations of Muslims undertook difficult journeys to far away lands, with no guarantee of returning, for this purpose alone.
Uqba bin Nafi (radi Allahu anhu) was one such person who spent his life spreading the message of Islam to the people of Africa. Uqba (radi Allahu anhu) traveled as far as the coast of the Atlantic ocean in present day Morocco. There, he rode his horse into the pounding ocean waves and asked Allah to be his witness: “O Allah! If this sea of darkness had not appeared before me, I would have conveyed Your Name, which is the source of light, to the most remote corners of the world.” The country of Morocco was thus called in Arabic, “al-maghreb al-aqsa,” “the land of the farthest west!”