Islam and Egalitarianism
When General Colin Powell, an African-American of rather humble origins, was appointed as the Joint Chief of Staff of U.S. military, the appointing president rejoiced by stating that such rise of a minority was possible "only in America." Gen. Powell's selection was no small feat by any standard. Also, despite the past history of slavery in America and suffering of so many people, it shows pluralistic strength and dynamism for the society to move ahead. However, "only in America"? Is the example of Gen. Powell unique?
Long before this American experiment and experience, leveling many an artificial bases for discriminating against people, came the final prophet and messenger of Islam - in succession, according to Islam, to Abraham, Moses, Jesus and so on - with a clarion call for the humanity to advance on the path of equality. Despite the subsequent historical experience, Islam has been categorical in its pristine principle of egalitarianism and set critical milestones in that direction.
During his Farewell pilgrimage, his address carried a decidedly universal tone--one final time. "O PEOPLE, your lives and your property shall be inviolate until you meet your Lord." It is unfortunate that many Muslims have forgotten this important principle and guidance, even though they are not supposed to be self-centered (i.e., concerned about only the Muslim community); rather they are supposed to have been "created for mankind" Quran: 3.110
Even though he himself was from an Arab background and the initial recipients of his message were the Arabs, once and for all, he demolished the artificial bases for any ethnic or racial pride by proclaiming that the Arabs had no superiority over the non-Arabs, or vice versa. The Quran is unequivocal in this regard as it addresses not the Arabs, the Muslims or the believers, but the mankind (an-nas) in the following verse: "O humankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you." Quran: 4.1. Notably, as indicated in this verse, the Quran does not subscribe to or endorses such views that the fall of humankind from the heavenly favor was due to women's evil transgression, as exemplified, according to some, in Hawa (Eve).
Islam also repudiates vulgar forms of nationalism that artificially aggrandize one's own people over others on no moral basis. Various demarcations of people based on groups, tribes, ethnicities or nationalities are quite alright, as it is natural for the humanity as a social entity. However, that is primarily to know each other in terms of our lineage, not to aggrandize oneself. Islam further reinforces this universality on the basis of not a man (Adam), but a man and a woman (Adam and Eve) and educates us that there is no virtue based on race, color, language, geographical location, wealth, or gender. Islam offers only one criterion for assessing ourselves. Taqwa (God-consciousness that makes people humble, caring and morally upright). "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you (atqakum). And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). Quran 49.13
After shattering the false and unjust foundation of the hierarchical society of the Arabs by embracing people together under one faith, irrespective of their color, race, gender, language, age, wealth, status, even at his death, the Prophet Muhammad left a remarkable and noble challenge and legacy for those that came after him.
Topics: Islam Values: Justice
Thank you very much, Y. Fahim
"why is it you never qoute the part of the farewell address that says, "if a nappy headed slave becomes your leader, follow him"? Because the immigrants came to America and found the Negroes already prayer (in salat) and they stay as far away from Black American Muslim leadership as possible."
WHERE did that come from??? have you EVEN read the farewell speech?? it doesnt say ANYWHERE your so-called qoute: "if a nappy headed slave becomes your leader, follow him"?
The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) would never use such language and never has, and i think you should talk about the Prophet with more respect.
i have alot more to say about this subject and further comments, however, i am restricted by time and also do not want to make this comment drag on.
In the gulf society you find lots of nationalities
And all the psychological scripts (things that someone keeps saying until it becomes facts) like: those Arabs! Those locals! Those Indians! Those Europeans! Those Filipinos! (i have deducted the bad words)
What i can't understand is how we the third world people who have been a victim of discrimination we still play the game on each other.
I'm monitoring my tongue and even my thoughts to prevent any similar language, and I'm trying with other ppl. Sometimes we say things that hurt without noticing but that is no excuse.
OUR ONLY POWER IS LOVE, LOVE FOR ONESELF, LOVE FOR EACH OTHER, LOVE FOR ALL LIFE...
With LOVE, Nydia
This man should get a brain, then come back and give analysis on Islam, because he really does nothing but beat the drums of the secular humanists and find some way to "redeem Islam" when we should be contradicting what the secular humanists have to say in the first place.
We have a long way to go in order to bring Islam back into our lives in the practical sense of the word.
The first and foremost step must be for all Muslims to once again grasp the Arabic language and use it to communicate with our fellow Muslims no matter what race, nationality or other background they are from as it unites us by being the language of the Holy Quran and of Prophet Muhammad (saw) which we must all understand anyway to truly understand the Message.
Secondly, the promotion of dominant races, castes, or even cultures not conforming to or being at odds with Islam within the Muslim Ummah must be rejected in ways which will help our brotherhood to flourish again.
Thirdly and most importantly Muslim educational institutes need to do more to enlighten the Ummah with regional, national and global programmes to promote inter-racial harmony, Islamic principles of brotherhood, equality and taqwa across all Muslim lands. We must 'know each other'.
Now we must not rest and wait for someone to come and set this in motion but we ourselves must practice what we preach by going out there and doing our duty. I for one will begin by holding myself accountable for the lack of unity amongst my fellow Muslims should I fail.
May Allah (swt) guide us to the best of all systems fo
This article precisely delineates fantastic features of Islam, it's features and flaws, rather, features of the muslim community and it's features and flaws, as Islam is the religion of Allah(swt) and is without error.
May we all be guided to the straight path...Ameen
Wonderful article. This piece reminds us all that we are all very much fallible in our own selfish ways, but Islam is the true salvation to acheive peace and tranquility on this world.
Thank All of U.
If the Quran does not repudiate ("refuse to acknowledge" - from http://www.hyperdictionary.com/dictionary/repudiate) war, the apparent assertion would seem to be another nice sounding generalization - the sort that leaves other "citizens of a republic" suspecting our intention is to mislead them concerning our religion (that of Islam).
For example: is Islam (first and foremost) a religion of peace? I thought it had more to do with submission (to Allah). Are we not, on occasion, supposed to fight (Quran 4:71-80, and so on)? If so, what sort of "peace" is Islam a religion of? Am I being a bit too assertive here? Astagh-firullah.
Also, I very much enjoyed "historical segments" of the article - especially the following excerpts:
"Umar shared the mount with his attendant taking turns all the way to Jerusalem ... As they reached the gate of the city, the elders came forward to greet [Umar] ... It was only when the rider apologetically explained that he was not the caliph, but the one pulling the horse."
"When the woman charged Umar that he has no right to fix or limit something regarding women's rights that the Quran has not limited, Umar publicly admitted that he was wrong and that the woman was right."
"Seeing the Islamic example, the thief not just returned the armor to the [Ali], but also embraced Islam."
These rightly guided caliphs sound like real heroes. (Surely, they have pleased Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala) Also, it doesn't like most of Islam's heroes advocated compulsion in matters pertaining to religion.