Jamadi Thani 1424 H
Volume 16-08 No : 200
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By Dr. Zakir Naik
Islam 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 human kind, We have created you from a single pair of male and female, and have divided you into nations and tribes, so that you shall recognize each other (not that you shall despise each other). Verily the most honoured in the sight of Allah (SWT) is the person who has Taqwa (who fears Allah and is Righteous). Allah is all-knowing and 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).
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. 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.
In the last two issues, we have examined the concept of God in major religions of the world and studied the impact it has on the concept of universal brotherhood. In this concluding article of this series on ‘Islam & Universal Brotherhood’, we shall examine the concept of God in Islam and study its impact on universal brotherhood.
The best reply that any person can give you regarding the concept of God in Islam,
This a four-line definition of Almighty God. If a person or any entity claims to be god, and if she/he satisfies the criteria specified in this four-line definition, we Muslims have no objection in accepting that person or entity as Almighty God.
The four criteria are:
This Chapter of the Glorious Qur'an i.e. Surah Ikhlas, Ch. No. 112, is the touchstone of theology.
The moment you can compare a candidate or a claimant of divinity to anyone or anything in the world or in this Universe, s/he is not God. For example suppose someone says, "A particular entity that claims to be god is a thousand times as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger - Arnold Schwarzenegger, the person who was given the title 'Mr. Universe', the strongest man in the world". The moment you can compare the claimant to godhood to anything in this world, whether it be Arnold Schwarzenegger, or King Kong, or Dara Singh, whether it be by a thousand times, or million times - the moment you can compare the claimant to anything in this world, that claimant is not Almighty God.
Otherwise, the Glorious Qur'an says:
Say: "Call upon Allah or call upon Rahman: by whatever name you call upon Him (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (Al-Qur'an 17:110)
You can call Allah (swt) by any name, but it should be a beautiful name and it should not conjure up a mental picture. There are no less than 99 attributes given in the Glorious Qur'an, for Allah (swt). A few of these are Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, Most Merciful, Most Beneficent, etc.
In Islam, Universal Brotherhood spreads not only in a horizontal manner, but also in a vertical manner. Horizontal spread of Islam covers all the regions and all the people of the whole world and universe.
Vertical spread of Islam: The Universal Brotherhood of faith, includes vertically, even the generation that came before you as also that went in the past, and the ones that will follow in future. You are a single race ... or a single people.
It is only because of the belief in the Oneness and Uniqueness of the Creator that Universal Brotherhood can prevail in the whole Universe. This Universal Brotherhood of faith is far superior to the Brotherhood of blood relationship.
When it comes to brotherhood of faith, it is far superior to brotherhood of relationship. Where it comes to justice, where it comes to truth, justice is far superior to blood relationship.
The Qur'an says "come to common terms as between us and you" Which is the first term? 'That we worship none but Allah.' (Al-Qur'an 3:64)
Only believing in One Almighty God is not sufficient - You should also obey, serve and worship only the One Almighty God. Only when all humans believe in, obey, serve and worship the One True and Unique God, will Universal Brotherhood prevail.
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 the one and only Creator, Almighty God created them. Without this Universal faith and belief in the Oneness and Uniqueness of the Almighty God, Universal brotherhood and humanity cannot prevail.
Almighty God addresses us in the Glorious Qur'an and states:
'O mankind! 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...' (Al-Qur'an 4:1)
( Concluded. This was the last part of the series of articles on 'Islam and Universal Brotherhood').
The author, Dr. Zakir Naik, is a well-known orator and scholar of Comparative Religion. He is the President of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. He may be reached at email@example.com