Universal brotherhood


God says in the Qur'an, "O Mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know 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)" (49: 13).

While most religions have preached it, the Prophet of Islam was however the one to make the brotherhood of man a living practice. Its value, however, will be appreciated, perhaps, centuries hence, when international awareness being kindled, racial prejudices may disappear and greater brotherhood of humanity comes into existence.

To quote Sarojini Naidu: “It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for in the mosque, when the minaret is sounded and the worshipers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and the king kneel side by side and proclaim, ‘God alone is great’… I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes a man instinctively a brother. When you meet an Egyptian, an Algerian and Indian and a Turk in London, it matters not that Egypt is the motherland of one and India is the motherland of another.”

Every year, during Haj, the world is witness to the remarkable spectacle of this international exhibition of Islam in leveling all distinctions of race, colour and rank. Europeans, Africans, Arabs, Persians, Indians, Chinese all meet together in Makkah as members of one divine family, each person clad in two simple pieces of white seamless cloth, one piece round the loin the other piece over the shoulders, bare-headed and without pomp or ceremony, repeating, “Here am I, O God; at Thy command; Thou art One and Alone; Here am I.”

Thus, nothing differentiates the high from the low and every pilgrim goes home with an idea of the international significance of Islam. In the words of Prof Hurgronje, “The league of nations founded by the Prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity of human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations…The fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done for the realization of the idea of the League of Nations.”

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