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O’ Mankind in the Quran—Believe or Accept Pluralism

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

25 February 2020

Pluralism, worship of One God, belief in all the Prophets, good conduct, lawful means of subsistence, avoidance of satanic footsteps, occurrence of Resurrection and human embryology are the messages directly spoken to all mankind. The Quran addresses all human kind in both ways, directly and indirectly. The words ‘Ya ayyuh al-nas’ (O’ Mankind) in the Quran denote an expression of direct address (vocative case) by which all individuals of the mankind spoken to are set forth expressly within the verse. The following are a collection of the Quranic verses in which all mankind are directly addressees.

 “O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous” (2:21)

“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy” (2:168)

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.” (4:1)

“O Mankind, the Messenger has come to you with the truth from your Lord, so believe; it is better for you. But if you disbelieve - then indeed, to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth. And ever is Allah Knowing and Wise.” (4:170)

“O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light.” (4:174)

“Say, [O Muhammad], "O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death." therefore believe in Allah and His Noble Messenger, the Prophet who is untutored (except by Allah), who believes in Allah and His Words, and obey him (the Prophet) to attain guidance.” (7:158)

“But when He saves them, at once they commit injustice upon the earth without right. O mankind, your injustice is only against yourselves, [being merely] the enjoyment of worldly life. Then to Us is your return, and We will inform you of what you used to do.” (10:23)

“O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.” (10:57)

“Say, [O Muhammad], "O mankind, if you are in doubt as to my religion - then I do not worship those which you worship besides Allah; but I worship Allah, who causes your death. And I have been commanded to be of the believers” (10:104)

“Say, "O mankind, the truth has come to you from your Lord, so whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul, and whoever goes astray only goes astray [in violation] against it. And I am not over you a manager."And follow what is revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and be patient until Allah will judge. And He is the best of judges.” (10:108-109)

“O mankind, fear your Lord. Indeed, the convulsion of the [final] Hour is a terrible thing.” (22:1)

“O mankind, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed - that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind.” (22:5)

“Say, "O people, I am only to you a clear warner." And those who have believed and done righteous deeds - for them is forgiveness and noble provision.” (22:49-50)

“O mankind, an example is being illustrated therefore listen to it attentively; “Those whom you worship besides Allah can never create a fly even if they all come together for it; and if a fly took away something from them, they cannot retrieve that from it; how weak are the seeker and the sought!” (22:73)

“And Solomon inherited David. He said, "O mankind, we have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from all things. Indeed, this is evident bounty." (27:16)

“O mankind, fear your Lord and fear a Day when no father will avail his son, nor will a son avail his father at all. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver.” (31:33)

“O mankind, remember the favor of Allah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the heaven and earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?” (35:3)

“O mankind, indeed the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver. Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze.” (35:5-6)

“O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.” (35:15)

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49:13)

These Quranic verses are the calls from God Almighty towards all mankind. However He knew that there would be division between them in the sense that some would believe Him and some would disbelieve Him. The matter of belief is purely associated with heart and tongue. The heart believes it and the tongue declares it. By force one cannot establish faith in one’s heart; therefore the Quran clearly opines that since the faith of Islam is clear for all mankind, it says, “There is no compulsion in [matters of] Religion” (2:257).

If the mankind can’t agree with these calls, they can meet to know one another either by developing either of the two options; relationship in faith or relationship in humane ethos. Here the third option leading to violence should not be the leading objective of any different classes of human beings. In case of differences, pluralism is the best option which can be derived from a number of Quranic verses, such as 5:48, 11:118, 22:67, 30:22 and 49:13. The Quranic message on pluralism and diversity was also implemented through the Charter of Medina formulated by the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him). This Charter brought together different ethnic and religious communities, granting them equal rights and responsibilities. The treaty made with the Christian monks of Najran for the protection of monastery and freedom of religion was one of the examples of testimony to pluralism.

So Let us recognize God Alone, His Attributes, Worship Him Alone, Believe in all His Prophets, Believe in all His revealed Books, His Angels. And If we can’t make our unity on this path of recognition and faith, then we should move forward with our human hearts to respect and encourage ethos of pluralism, despite our diversity in believing and disbelieving. For the believers, it is then extremely essential to avoid the path of extremism in their actions, and for the non-believers it is essential to avoid the path of another form of extremism to counter extremism.     

A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).


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