Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
As in other societies of the world, the Arab people were also obsessed with color and other differences among people. They discriminated against those who were apparently inferior to others. This was not only an Arab phenomenon: it was universal in that age. With this background, God Almighty revealed this verse in the chapter Al-Hujurat (The Apartments) of the Quran:
Mankind! We have created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes, so that you might come to know each other. The noblest of
you in God’s sight is the one who fears God most. God is all-knowing and all-aware. (49:13)
According to this verse, the Quran believes in global brotherhood and not just Muslim brotherhood. In fact, in all matters, the Quran adopts a universal rather than any kind of sectarian approach. There are many verses in the Quran that denote that the readers of the Quran are al-nas (mankind) and not merely a community.
It is a fact that there are differences between people in terms of color, etc. But these differences have nothing to do with the superiority or inferiority of different individuals or groups. They are natural differences and they exist for the sole purpose of people being able to recognize each other without any difficulty.
According to the above Quranic verse, the importance of a person or group will be judged solely on merit. The basis of classification between people is only one and, that is, merit.
Merit-based classification cannot be termed discrimination. It is a sound method of categorizing people. As such, it is a source of motivation and creates an atmosphere of healthy competition. It is a guarantee of social development on a real basis.
Discrimination on the basis of color, etc., is a negative practice, while classification on the basis of merit promotes love and respect among people. It ensures that no member of society will be denied justice. It creates an atmosphere conducive to development and progress and gives everyone the chance to contribute in a positive way to society. Discrimination creates
disunity among people, while following Quranic principles produces unity and harmony among different sections of society. The latter promotes the spirit of mutual respect.
Discrimination on the basis of color, etc., is a negative practice, while classification on the basis of merit promotes love and respect among people.
According to the Quran and biological research, all men and women have a common ancestor. So, according to this, all men and women are blood sisters and blood brothers to each other. The whole of mankind is a global family.