- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Universality Of The Quran
A study of the Quran shows that its aim is to produce a universal approach in human beings. Universality means high thinking and an unbiased and unconditioned approach. We find an example of this quality in the Quran. It addresses us thus: ‘O man, O mankind.’ This shows that the approach of the Quran is based on universality. The very first chapter of the Quran begins with these words: ‘Praise be to God, the Lord and Sustainer of all mankind.’ Similarly, the Quran introduces God as the “Lord of the worlds”, and not just the Lord of the Muslims or the Lord of the Arabs. He is also called ‘the Lord of the East and the West.’ (70:40)
Similarly, the Quran cites the Prophet of Islam as a messenger sent for all mankind and not just for the Arabs. The Quran says: “We have sent you as a mercy to mankind.” (21:107)
This universality of Quranic revelation brings about universal approach in its believers. In another place the Quran says: “Blessed be He who has revealed Al-Furqan (the Criterion) to His servant, so that he may be a Warner to all mankind.” (25:1)
This universal approach can be seen in all the teachings of Islam. For instance, at the end of namaz the faithful turn their heads towards the right and left and utter these words of greeting: ‘Assalam-o-Alaikum wa rahmatullah’ which means: ‘May peace and blessings be upon you.’ This is meant for all mankind inhabiting the lands towards the east and the west, the north and the south. This is, in fact, a universal greeting.
In this way one of the aims of namaz is to instill in believers feelings of well-wishing for the whole world. The whole world should share in one’s prayers. This is a lesson in universal thinking, which is given daily to the believers. Similarly, Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam takes the form of a universal gathering. Muslims belonging to all the nations of the world meet one another on this occasion. It is in fact an annual attempt to produce universality in believers.
Conveying this universal divine message to all the nations of the world (dawah) is another important teaching of the Prophet. As a requirement of Islam this turns every believer into a universal ambassador as dawah activity is that of universal interaction. Coming out of the limited sphere of one’s self, one is made to think at the level of all humanity. As a result, an activity like that of dawah produces universal thinking among the faithful. The responsibility of dawah takes the believer out of the local sphere and turns him into a global personality.
The truth is that universality is an inseparable part of Quranic thinking. One who adopts the Quranic way will start thinking at the universal level. His personality will be linked with the entire human brotherhood. In spite of being located in a particular region, he becomes a citizen of the universe as far as his thinking is concerned. In this respect, it can rightly be said that Islam or the Quran promotes universal citizenship.