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The essential meaning and transcendental message of Islam

Written By: Ajmal-Masroor
05/11/2014 1:12
Religion & Culture

I am sitting in front of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The wind is fierce and waves are incessant. As far as my eyes can see it’s only the dark blue water of the ocean and light blue sky. It appears to the eye that in the distance these two mighty forces, the floor and ceiling of the earth converge. In fact they never do, they exist but forever parallel!

I am thinking about what to write this morning and as I ponder over the universe and the amazing nature around me I found myself drawn to the verse 13 from surah Al-Hujurat - The Dwellings.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

“O humanity! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.” (Quran - 49:13)

God takes a personal responsibility in explaining the origin of men in this verse and He explains in no uncertain terms the beginning, the multiplicity and the purpose of creation. He explains the connectedness between all humans. The entire humanity is being addressed in this single verse and the foundation for human relationship is being set. This verse is the universal declaration of diversity from the Creator of the Universe God almighty. I find this verse the ultimate introduction to the essential meaning and transcendental message of Islam.

The lessons contained in this verse are outlined in the following seven points. They are my own reflections and are always open to challenge and correction:

1. God is the originator and creator of all human beings. God makes that emphatic declaration right at the beginning of the verse – “Behold, We have created you all”. There is no ambiguity in this claim and there can never be a comparable challenge to His absolute ownership. Whether we like it, accept or reject it, God still is the fashioner, designer, originator and the master of the entire universe and everything that is contained within it or outside it. This is the bottom-line of Islamic creed. If you accept it you become a Muslim and if you reject it you cease to be a Muslim. In this primary message there is no room for corruption, association or attribution of any other power worthy of our absolute subservience. There is no room for compromise. The core message is, it is from God we all come and it is to God we shall all return.

2. All human beings come from the same origin - a male and a female as the origin of creation. At the beginning when there was nothing, there was God and at the end when there will be nothing there will still be God. Between the beginning and the end, at some point in time He chose to create human beings in the form of a male and a female. The fact that He created both at the beginning makes another profound declaration that both male and female though have specific and differing characteristics are ultimately equal in the eyes of God. Why else would he create both of them at the beginning?

They may have been assigned opposite sexes but they still have been created for a single purpose – to be God’s vicegerent on this Earth. This understanding of joint custodianship creates a more level playing field between men and women. It strikes a severe blow to the misogynists, chauvinists and supremacists. It demands that men and women must recognize this primordial fact and provide the respect and dignity to each other, work together to deliver on their assigned mission and most importantly work as partners to sustain life.

3. All human beings are inherently equal - they all belong to one human family, without any intrinsic superiority of one over another. Equality between human beings is the foremost principle that has been divinely ordained and should never be reduced or altered. The concept of equality is based on equal worth, equal dignity, equal honour and access to equal opportunities and rights to live happy and prosperous life. The sinner and the virtuous, the rich and the poor, the king and the subject all must be given this basic human right. Colour, nationality or language cannot play any role in discriminating human beings. A human being by virtue of being created as a human being is sufficient reason for enjoying this inherent equality.

4. All human beings are intrinsically honourable, they are obliged to respect and safeguard each other’s dignity. The concept of dignity is the basis of all human rights and values in Islam. The first and the foremost manifestation of dignity is freedom. Every human being is born free and no body has the right to subjugate anyone. God made us all free so that we can enjoy the world.

He gave us intellect and ability to distinguish between right and wrong so that we can enjoy the world responsibly. He elevated us above all other creation so that we can remain His vicegerent on this earth. He endowed us with five basic senses so that we can have sensory experiences and true perceptions. He has designed our brain with infinite capacity to think, be creative and inventive. He has given us feelings so that we can be intuitive. He has given us emotions so that we can recognize and express our feelings.

These are all part of God given dignity and we must be grateful. Dignity is the way we relate to one another. Without it we will not enjoy freedom. Freedom comes with responsibility and dignity has been offered as the most basic ingredients to harmonious our living.

5. Human beings were delegated the responsibility of procreation by God’s own design. God is the creator but since the creation of the first pair all subsequent procreation is only possible through coming together of the opposite sexes, a male and female. Anything else is unsustainable. He could have merged the two sexes into one, he could have created a third sex or enabled us to self procreate. However, in the intelligent design God made the process of procreation as a means of joy for the couple, immensely pleasurable acts of intimacy and most importantly a huge responsibility. Any adulteration to this natural way of sustaining the human life on earth would cause disastrous consequences.

We are responsible for making the effort, finding a suitable partner in life, building a loving, safe and happy home environment and having fun in the process but the ultimate say over the birth of the baby, dead or alive is at the hands of God. Many women become pregnant, some experience miscarriage and some reach the full term. We may call it the natural selection but it is designed that way. If every sexual act leads to a baby the world would be over burdened people. It is important to note that population control is not the responsibility of human beings but it is Gods. When we try to artificially control the population we create an imbalance. The sex of the baby, the genetic makeup of the baby, the colour of eyes, hair and skin are all part of the complex process God has instilled in the science of procreation. Our duty is to recognize God’s Grace and show gratitude.

6. All human beings are provided localised identities based on tribal and ethnic affiliations but these are not absolute. They can change, evolve and be organic. The purpose of such diversity is to generate curiosity and opportunities for meaningful relationships. Men’s evolution into "nations and tribes" is meant to foster rather than to diminish their mutual desire to understand and appreciate the essential human oneness underlying their outward differentiations.

Let me share with you my own example. I was born in Bangladesh, my parents brought me to the UK, I am brown and Asian in my ethnic origin but I have lived in the UK for most of my life and I am more British in my value system then Bangladeshi. My wife is Hungarian who embraced Islam over a decade ago but comes from a communist family background. Our children are English, Hungarian and Bangladeshi as well as they carry European and Asian traits within them. And now they live in Spain. They already have a fusion of cultures running through their vein and would have picked up a lot of Spanish culture too. By the time they grow up their localized identities would have metamorphosed into a global one identity.

Human beings are naturally peripatetic. We may have acquired tribal titles or national identities but as human beings are constantly on the move and our titles and identities are also evolving in an organic way, no one can claim to have absolute tribal identity. We are all extremely malleable and that is what makes us so unique as a species. The realization that no one is superior based on the lineage or citizenship is the first step towards coming together. God wants us to get to know each other and develop meaningful and long lasting relationships. In Islam there is no tribal or class hierarchy. We are all the same, we were born with dignity and hope to die with dignity.

7. The height of honour is bestowed upon those who are most God conscious. God consciousness is defined as being perpetually mindful of God’s omnipresence and omniscience. This is the most altruistic way of creating a spiritually competing environment between human beings as opposed to materially driven contestations that lead to the growth of ultra ego, greed, selfishness and pretention.

Which tribe you come from and what nationality you have is not the measure of how honourable you are. How many cars and what kind of cars you have is never a measure of righteousness either. The size of your house or wealth is not an indication of how morally principled you are. Your wife or husband and children are precious gifts from God but they do not signify your superiority in the society.

In the eyes of God the superior one is the one who is most God conscious. Thus God takes away the right to judge from our hands and makes it exclusively His. We are not allowed to assign spiritual titles or titles that indicate any social or spiritual hierarchy in society. We are not allowed to call people names that demonstrate inferiority. We are not allowed to assign ill intentions on people. God consciousness is not quantifiable or measurable by any human beings. We will never know whose status is what in the eyes of God. On the day of Account we will find out if and when God decides to disclose them.

Therefore, human beings should abandon their material obsession and turn their focus on spiritual enlightenment. Recognising God as the centre of all spirituality and making the requisite alignment is inevitably the only way to creating balance in our inner selves, fostering equilibrium in society and empowering humans to compete at a more sincere and genuine spiritual level playing field.

In conclusion, God draws our attention to the ultimate truth – all power of true knowledge and awareness belongs to God alone. It is futile to compete with God. He is fully aware of our motives – good or bad. He knows what is in our hearts and minds. He has full knowledge of how we think, our plans, our past, present and future. The most humble thing is to accept and submit to this reality. It is God who has made us all and it is God who has expounded categorically his intention behind the diversity in creation.

The challenge is can we the free willed and intelligent human beings embrace this commonsensical paradigm? Can we accept equality between all humans? Can we reject tribal and nationalistic pride and arrogance? Can we rise above the material rivalry? Can we spend our precious time in getting to know each other and forming real friendships and relationships?

This is the verse that rouses human beings to rise to the challenge - create the universal human fraternity and get to know each other. People are often afraid of the unknown. Fear of the foreigner, stranger and other has led to genocide and carnage throughout human history. In the recent years we have witnessed the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian nationalists. We have seen the massacres in Rwanda, Central African Republic and South Sudan. We have seen the mass murder and eviction of Burmese Muslims from their homes by the Buddhist monks. Every single atrocity can be attributed to entrenched tribal, ethnic and nation pride and insatiable greed and hunger for power. But above all it can be attributed to the fear of the unknown. God has provided us with a perfect solution through mutual knowledge and familiarity that will prevent such bloodbath from ever happening.

God wants us to know that we are all equal and all from the same human family. Familiarity will bring us closer together and we will enjoy peace and stability, instead of wars and strife.

The bottom line is we all need to keep repeating the following mantra – I am not your enemy; I am like you; I am your brother/sister in humanity, get to know me and accept me.

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About Ajmal-Masroor

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  • Name: Ajmal Masroor
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    Ajmal Masroor is an Author, Broadcaster, Relationship Counsellor , Politician and Imam based in London, UK. His facebook profile can be followed

    This Blog is made by his Fan and all writings are collected from his Facebook page which is Public.


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