الأربعاء، 5 أبريل، 2017

Islam And Universal Brotherhood

ربما تحتوي الصورة على: ‏‏شخص واحد‏، و‏‏‏لحية‏ و‏نص‏‏‏‏
Peace-Islam: A Solution For Humanity
Islam And Universal Brotherhood

There are various types of brotherhoods - brotherhood based on blood relations, brotherhood based on regional affiliations, or brotherhood on the basis of race, caste, creeds, ideology, etc. But all these types of brotherhood are limited in their scope, coverage and benefits.
Islam, on the other hand, prescribes Universal Brotherhood. It rejects the thought that human beings have been created in castes or in different levels. In the Glorious Qur’an, in Surah Hujurat, Chapter No. 49, Verse No. 13, Allah (SWT) describes the Islamic concept of Universal Brotherhood:
‘O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most Righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).
This Verse of the Glorious Qur’an indicates that the whole human race originated from a single pair of male and female. All humans have common great-grandparents and ancestors.
Further, Allah (swt) says that he has made nations and tribes, so that humans can recognize each other, and not so that they may despise each other and fight amongst themselves.
This verse also clarifies that the criteria for judgment in the sight of Allah (swt) does not depend on caste, colour, creed, gender or wealth, but on Taqwa - God consciousness, piety and righteousness. Anyone who is righteous, pious and God-conscious, is honoured in the sight of Allah (swt).
Further it is stated in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Ar-Rum verse. 22, that:
‘And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages, and your colours: Verily in that are signs for those who know.’
These variations in colour and language are not for the purpose of creating animosity or differences between groups of humans. Every language on earth has its own beauty and significance.
A foreign language may sound strange and funny to you, but it sounds sweet to those for whom it is the mother tongue.
Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an, in Surah Israa, Ch. 17, Verse 70:
‘We have honoured the sons of Adam’
Allah does not say that He has honoured only the Arabs or the Americans or a particular race. He states that He has honoured all the children of Adam, irrespective of race, caste, colour, creed or gender.
While there are many religions that believe that humankind originated from a single pair - Adam and Eve (peace be upon them), there some faiths that say, that it is because of the sin of the woman (Eve - may Allah be pleased with her) that the humans are born in sin. They blame only on the woman, which is Eve, for the downfall of human beings.
The Qur’an speaks about the story of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) in several chapters, but in all the places, the blame is placed equally on both -Adam and Eve (peace be upon them).
According to Surah Araf, Ch. 7 : Verses 19 to 27 Both of them disobeyed Allah (swt), both of them repented, and both were forgiven.
Both are equally blamed for the mistake. There is not a single verse in the Glorious Qur’an, which puts the blame only on Eve (may Allah be pleased with her).
In Surah Taha, Ch. No. 20, V. No. 121, it is stated that Adam (pbuh) disobeyed Allah (swt).
Certain faith, on the other hand state that because Eve disobeyed God, it is she who is responsible for the sin of humankind’. Hence God cursed the woman, and said that she will bear labour pains. This means that pregnancy is a curse.
Islam of course does not agree with this unjust view.
In Surah Nisa, Ch. No. 4, V. No. 1, Allah states: ‘And (reverence) the wombs (that bore you).’
In Islam, pregnancy does not degrade a woman - it uplifts a woman. In Surah Luqman, Ch. 31, V. No. 14, it is stated that:
‘And we have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents. In travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning.’
The Qur’an says in Surah, Ahqaf, Ch. 46, V. No. 15...’We have enjoined on man to be kind to his parents. In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth.’
Islam states that men and women are created equal.
According to a Hadith mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, Vol.No. 8, in the Book of Adab, Chapter 2, Hasith No. 2:
‘A person came to Prophet Mohammed (saw), and asked him, ‘Who is the person who deserves the maximum love and companionship in this world ?’
The Prophet replied, ‘Your mother.’
The man asked, Who next?’
The Prophet said, ‘Your mother.’
The man asked, ‘After that who?’
The Prophet repeated for the third time, ‘Your mother.’
The man asked, ‘After that who?’
Then the Prophet said, ‘Your father.’
So, 75% or 3/4 of the love and companionship of the children are due to the mother and only 25% or 1/4 of the love and companionship goes to the father. In other words, the mother gets the gold medal, she gets the silver medal, as well as the bronze medal. The father has to be satisfied with a mere consolation prize.
These are amongst the teachings of Islam.
In Islam, men and women are equal - but equality does not mean identicality. There are many misconceptions about the status of women in Islam. These can be removed if one studies the authentic sources of knowledge of Islam and its teachings - the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith.
While men and women are overall equal, equality does not mean identicality. Let’s take an example. In a class, two students - student ‘A’ and ‘B’ get the highest marks in a subject - 80 out of 100.
The question paper consisted of 10 questions, each of 10 marks.
In the first answer student ‘A’ gets 9 out of 10, student ‘B’ gets 7 out of 10. So in question 1 student ‘A’ has a degree of advantage than student ‘B’.
In question 2, student ‘B’ gets 9 out of 10, and student ‘A’ gets 7 out of 10. So in question 2, student ‘B’ has a degree of advantage, than student ‘A’.
In the remaining 8 questions, both get 8 out of 10, and if you total the marks of both the students, both get 80 out of 100.
So if you analyze, both student ‘A’ and ‘B’ have got over all equal marks.
But in answers to some questions, student ‘A’ has a degree of advantage and in answers to some other questions, student ‘B’ has a degree of advantage - but in terms of overall marks, both are equal.
Similarly in Islam, men and women are equal.
Brotherhood in Islam does not only mean that the same sexes are equal. ‘Universal Brotherhood’ in Islam means, that besides race, caste, and creed, even the sexes are overall equal. Men and women are equal in Islam, but in some aspects, men have a degree of advantage while in some other aspects, women have a degree of advantage - but overall both are equal.
For example, if a robber enters my house, I will not say, ‘I believe in women’s rights, and I believe in women’s liberation and therefore my sister, my wife, my mother, should go and fight the robber.’
Allah says in Surah Nisa, Ch. 4, V 34, ‘God has given the one (man) more strength than the other’’. Men have more strength than the women.’
So where strength is concerned, men have a degree of advantage. Since they have been given more strength, it is their duty to protect women. Here the men have a degree of advantage.
Where love and companionship from children is concerned, the mother gets three times more love and companionship than the father. Here women have a degree of advantage.
CONCEPT OF GOD IN ISLAM AND ITS IMPACT ON UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD
The concept of Almighty God in Islam, of Allah (swt) , is of a Universal and Unique God of all, and not that Almighty God, Allah (swt) is the deity of a particular race or a particular group of people.
The Qur’an says in Surah Fatihah, Ch. No. 1, V. No. 2:
“All praise is (due) to Allah, Lord of the worlds”.
Almighty God is referred to as “Rabbil Aalamin” the Lord of the worlds.’
The Last Surah (Chapter) of the Glorious Qur’an, that is, Surah Nas, Ch. 114, V. No. 1 states:
‘Say : I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind’.
Almighty God, Allah (swt), is the Lord of the whole of humankind and not exclusively of only a particular group of people or a particular race.
There are various verses of the Glorious Qur’an which begin by saying, ‘ O humankind’.
ISLAM PRECRIBES A MORAL CODE
TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD :
The Glorious Qur’an also says in Surah Baqarah, Ch. No. 2. V. No. 168 :
“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth (that is) lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”
Islam has prescribed a moral code in order to ensure that Universal Brotherhood prevails in the world.
The Qur’an says in Surah Maidah, Ch. No. 5, V. No. 32,
‘If anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”
The Qur’an says that if any person kills any human being whether it is a Muslim or Non Muslim (irrespective of the race, caste, colour or creed) – if any person kills any human being, unless it is for murder, or for spreading mischief in the land, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity.
And if anyone saves another human being, whether it be a Muslim or Non Muslim (irrespective of any caste, colour or creed), it is as though he has saved the whole of humankind.
Thus, Islam has prescribed a moral code in order to ensure that Universal Brotherhood prevails in the world.
The Glorious Qur’an says that no one should ever steal it is a crime, it is a sin.
Islam has a system of Zakaat that is, any rich person who has a saving of more than the Nisaab level (which is 85 grams of gold) he or she should give 2.5 percent of that saving, every lunar year in charity.
If every human being in the whole world gives Zakaat, poverty will be eradicated from this world and there will not be a single human being who will die of hunger.
The Glorious Qur’an says that we should love and help our neighbours. The Qur’an says in Surah Ma’un, Ch. No. 107, Verses 1 to 7:
“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense ? For that is the one who drives away the orphan. And does not encourage the feeding of the poor. So woe to those who pray (but) who are heedless of their prayer. Those who make show (of their deeds). And withhold (simple neighbourly) assistance.”
According to Islam, ‘ He is not a Muslim, who sleeps with his full stomach, while his neighbours are hungry.’ (neighbour could be Muslim or Non-Muslim)
This means that any person, who has had a good meal and sleeps with his stomach full while his neighbours are hungry, is not following the commandments of Allah, and His Rasool.
The Glorious Qur’an commands us not to be spendthrifts. The Qur’an says in Surah Israa, Ch. No. 17, V. No. 26 and 27:
‘Squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones (of the Satan).’
If you are a spendthrift, you are bound to disturb the Universal Brotherhood, because if a person squanders, it creates animosity, it creates enmity, it creates envy between the brothers.
A person should not steal, a person should give charity, a person should provide neighbourly assistance, a person should not squander wealth – all these are moral conducts mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an.
The Qur’an further prohibits believers from receiving or offering bribes.
The Qur’an says in Surah Baqarah, Ch. No. 2, V. No. 188:
“ And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities nor use it as bait for the judges with intent that you may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people’s property.”
PROHIBITION OF INTOXICANTS, GAMBLING, ADULTERY & SLANDER TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD :
The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Maidah, Ch. No. 5, V. No. 90
“O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. Eschew such (abomination), that you may prosper.”
The Glorious Qur’an commands humans to abstain from intoxicants, alcohol, drugs, gambling, from dedication of stones and divination of arrows.
All know that intoxicants are one of the main causes for various evils in society. It obstructs Universal Brotherhood from prevailing.
Statistics tell us that in America on an average more than one thousand nine hundred cases of rape take place daily and in most of the cases, either the victim or the rapist is intoxicated. Further, 8 % of the population in America is affected by incest. This means that every 12th or 13th person you come across in America has committed incest (that is, having sexual relationship with close relatives – father and daughter, son and mother, brother and sister) and almost all the cases of incest take place under the state of intoxication.
Therefore the Glorious Qur’an says that Intoxicants and gambling are satan’s handiwork. We are instructed to abstain from these so that we may prosper.
Islam forbids adultery. The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Israa, Ch. No. 17, V. No. 32:
"Nor come nigh to adultery : for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil opening the road (to other evils).”
The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Hujurat, Ch. No. 49, V. No. 11 and 12 :
“O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others : it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: And those who do not desist are (Indeed) doing wrong…… avoid suspicion as much (as possible) : for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother ? Nay ye would abhor it..”
The Qur’an says that if one indulges in backbiting or slander, it is as though he / she devours the meat of his/her dead brother. Eating dead meat itself is prohibited – eating meat of your dead brother is worse. Even the cannibals who eat humans do not eat the flesh of their dead brother.
All these laws of moral conduct given in the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith promote Universal Brotherhood. Besides talking about it, the uniqueness about Islam is that it practically demonstrates Universal Brotherhood and shows practical ways to practice it and attain it.

Islam And Universal Brotherhood - Part 3

PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION OF UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD DURING MUSLIM PRAYER AND HAJJ:
Muslims demonstrate Universal Brotherhood five times a day in their prayer, i.e. Salaah. When we offer Salaah, we practically demonstrate Universal Brotherhood. It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, Vol. No. 1, in the Book of Adhan, Ch. No. 75, H. No. 692: Hazrat Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that when they stood for Salaah, "Everyone of us used to put his shoulder with the shoulder of his companion and his foot with the foot of his companion." It is mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawood, Volume No. 1, in the Book of Salaah, Ch. No. 245, H. No. 666, that our beloved Prophet said:
“Set the rows in order, stand shoulder to shoulder, close the gaps, be pliant in the hands of your brethren, and do not leave openings for the devil…”
The Prophet was not referring to the devil with the two horns and a tail, which you see in the Onida TV Advt. in India. The Prophet was referring to the devil of Racism, of Caste, of Colour, of Wealth. Irrespective of whether you are rich or poor, a king or a pauper, when you stand for prayers, for Salaah, stand shoulder to shoulder, so that brotherhood increases and it is practically demonstrated that all are equal and the devil of racism, of caste, of colour, of creed and of wealth does not came in between you.
The best example of International Brotherhood, is the pilgrimage prescribed by Islam – the Hajj. About two and a half million people from various parts of the world assemble in Makkah to perform Hajj. People from various parts of the world – from America, from Canada, from U.K, from Singapore, from Malaysia, from India, from Pakistan, from Indonesia and other parts of the world. Men are dressed up in two pieces of unsown cloth that is preferably white. One cannot identify nor ascertain whether the person standing next to him he is a King or a pauper. The Hajj is the best example of International Brotherhood.
Hajj is the biggest annual gathering of the world. Two and a half million people gather every year. Irrespective whether they are rich or poor, black or white and from whichever part of the world they have come from, all are dressed in the same attire.
ISLAM STATES THAT ALL HUMANS ARE EQUAL:
Prophet Mohammed (saw) said in the speech of his farewell pilgrimage ‘There is only one God, and no Arab is superior to a Non-Arab; nor is a Non-Arab superior to an Arab; a White is not superior to a Black, nor a Black over the White. The only criterion for superiority is Taqwa – i.e. righteousness, piety, and God-consciousness. In the sight of Allah, the Creator, all are equal. Only if you are more pious, more God-conscious, and more righteous, can you be superior to another human and this too is not something that humans can perceive – this superiority is only in the sight of Almighty God. While the Hajj is performed, every person recites and repeats, ‘Labbaik Allah humma labbaik’ which means:
‘Here I am O my Lord; here I am. Here I am –You have no partners – here I am. All praises are due to You – all bounties are yours. To You belongs the whole dominion, the whole Universe, and You have no partners.’
The corner stone of the Islamic faith is the belief in one and only sole Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe who alone deserves worship and obedience. It is only through belief in one God can there be Universal Brotherhood. The same God has created all human beings, irrespective whether you are rich or poor, whether a male or female, whether black or white, whichever caste, colour, creed you belong to – all humans are equal – they are created by the one and only Creator, Almighty God.
Only if you believe in and acknowledge the uniqueness and Oneness of God can you truly practice Universal Brotherhood. All major religions that prescribe belief in the concept of God have at a higher level the belief in the existence of only One Almighty God.
CONCEPT OF GOD IN MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD AND ITS IMPACT ON UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD:
In the last issue of the Islamic Voice we had stated that it is only through belief in one God can there be Universal Brotherhood. The corner stone of the Islamic faith is the belief in the one and only sole Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe who alone deserves worship and obedience. All humans are equal since they are created by the one and only Creator, Almighty God.
Only if you believe in and acknowledge the uniqueness and Oneness of God can you truly practice Universal Brotherhood. All major religions that prescribe belief in the concept of God have at a higher level the belief in the existence of only One Almighty God.
In this issue, we shall study the concept of God in major religions of the world and study the impact it has on the concept of universal brotherhood. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Religion means ’a belief in a super human controlling power – a God, or gods, that deserve wors.