Crazy Horse, Oglalala Sioux Chieftain, 1875
The nomads understood the earth was changing. Cold and drought were making it difficult to survive on the vast steppes. To their East they had heard of a big water and on the West was the sea of dark water. But, there was enough land out their for the tribes. They would go both East and West. The great Aryan migration had begun. Slowly over hundreds of years, they came to lands in India and Iran, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Germany. The Aryan migration was to change the world many millennia later.
Even earlier than that, the sons of Hazrat Nuh, Shem; Haam; Japheth had migrated too, into empty lands and filled them with humans. Thus humans had spread through the world.
The Quran speaks about migration. Indeed, the Islamic calendar started from the migration of the Prophet (saw). In the Islamic perspective, migration can be for religion, for education or to avoid repression. There is freedom to go from a land and no reason to be attached to it.
“Was not the earth of God spacious enough for you to flee for refuge?” (4:97)
So many Prophets, Adam, Ibrahim, Ismael, Musa etc migrated. It is allowed and such sacrifice, if done for religion is greatly honoured.
Ibn Battuta, left his native Moroccan land at 21. A wander lust and a thirst for knowledge led him for three decades through lands as far East as India. He came home to narrate his many adventures. Thus enriching history and bringing mankind ever closer together.
Humanity for much of history had the freedom of the lands. As Crazy Horse quoted, you cannot own land. Allah (swt) had given this for free, for humanity to use and succeeding generations of humans were just occupiers of the land, to eventually pass on the usage to the next generation.
Sometime after World War 1 came a change in the status of empires. The nation states were born and its first representative the League of Nations was created. Much was changed and one of the first things agreed was to stamp the identity of nation states; thus the Passport was born. Back in the Persian empire days, the Khusro would issue letters of authority to his representatives, when they traveled to other parts. Similarly, Henry Viii issued authorities for his people to travel. But by and large, the Passport was first put into effect around 1920.
It seemed like a minor intervention, but the Passport and what it implied, has changed the world. The word “immigrant” has been stamped onto our psyche now. In the past large groups of people simply moved lands and no one stopped them. USA, the most iconic country of the last century, is also born out of this very immigration. When the Mayflower from Plymouth sailed across the seas bringing the Pilgrim Fathers, there were no passports or barriers to entry. The Passport is the basic tenet of nation hood and has become the tool of racism, wealth, barriers and has also led to conflicts. Whatever the intention of the League of Nations, it has so transpired, that the simple agreement to institute the Passport almost a 100 years ago, is suspiciously viewed by many as a sinister conspiracy to subjugate the people of humanity.
Just a further related footnote of history. A hundred years ago, much changed very suddenly. The Balfour Declaration was made, creating the vision of Israel; the Caliphate of Muslims was destroyed; USA took its role as the major power; the concept of modern nationhood was established; The Bolshevik Revolution took place in Russia; the Jewish people commenced their migration to the Middle East (all done without any Passport!!!); The division of Europe was done leaving the seeds for World War 2. The division of Arabia was done, leaving seeds for the present conflict. The Passport was born; The present day system was institutionalised (banks, stock markets, currencies, insurance companies, transnational organisations, democracy). All within a space of three years history was transformed. So who was the guiding hand? Are we humans so obtuse, that we do not see a pattern here? But, that is a question of a separate story.