he concept of universal brotherhood is highlighted in the Quranic chapter, Al-Fatiha (The Opening). The relevant verse reads: All praise is due to the Lord of the universe, God. (1:2)
According to this verse, God is not the God of some community; he is the God of all humanity. The oneness of God is the foundation of humanity’s unity. It means God is one and so is mankind. There is no difference between one man and another, between the rich and the poor in God’s eyes. Since all humanity is one in God’s eyes; it is only natural that humanity should follow this sort of thought and live as one divine being.
There is a beautiful story about the Islamic prophet that is a fine example of this Quranic idea. This story is absolutely true, as it is told by Al-Bukhari, who has the highest standing among the community of muhadissin or narrators of the traditions of the Prophet. The story goes this way: In 610 AD the Prophet of Islam began his mission. Thirteen years later he migrated to Madinah, Arabia’s second-largest city. Some Jewish tribes lived in Madinah at the time. It happened that one day Prophet witnessed a funeral procession passing through a town street. The Prophet was sitting at the time, but when he saw the funeral, he stood up out of reverence. One of his associates said: “O Prophet, that was a Jew’s funeral. Why do you esteem a deceased non-Muslims so much? “The Prophet answered:” Alaisat nafsan? “(Wasn’t he a human being?) This precedent set by the Prophet of Islam indicates that all men and women are equal, regardless of faith or practice.
All human beings were created by one and the same God according to Islam, and for this reason the entire human race belongs to one great brotherhood. About their earthly roots, they are all descendants of the first human pair ever made by God — Adam and Eve. Variations in geographical conditions created a variety of skin colours, languages, and other racial characteristics in their subsequent distribution through different parts of the world.
Islam’s teaching in this regard is that despite differences of colour, language, etc., people should not harbour no ill-will towards those who seem to be unlike themselves, because God does not approve of differentiating between one man and another. Alternatively, they should encourage mutual feelings for others, even though they seem to be completely strangers to them at first glance. Keeping in mind that they are all traceable back to Adam and Eve, they should be well-wishers of each other and happily come to the assistance of each other, like members of the same large family.
Ideally, the relation between one man and another ought not to be one of strangeness but one of familiarity; not of distance, but of closeness; not of hate, but of love.
When all human beings are descendants of the same progenitors that means everyone is equal: no one is superior or inferior. The difference between great and small is not between individuals but between God and man. And, certainly, all human beings are equal in front of God; they are His creations and His servants equally. For God does not discriminate between one or the other of His creations.
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan