By Sirajuddin Aziz
May 17, 2019
BEFORE the advent of Islam, the Arabian Society was divided by tribal prejudices and racial bigotry. The dark clouds of ignorance had obliterated the light of brotherhood that had shone on the social horizons of Arabia through all ages and nations by the chosen Apostles. Then again, in the sixth century, the call of brotherhood echoed in the hills of Mecca, when unto the Holy Prophet the following verse was revealed: “O mankind we created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you unto nations and tribes that you may know each other. (Not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous of you. (49:13). This is an address to all mankind and not just Muslim brotherhood. Tribes, races and nations are convenient labels by which we may know certain distinguishing and differing features and characteristics. Before God they are all one and he gets most honour who is most righteous.
The call of brotherhood was as foreign to the pagan Arabs as the call to accept the unity of God. The call was universal in nature. The triumph of Islam came when brotherhood over swayed the racial pride of the pagan Arab. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) exemplified in his life the glory of brotherhood by sharing with the people their joys and sorrows and by suffering for them, with them. The prophetic traditions alluring to brotherhood and unity are plentiful, “Truly I am brother of every pious man even if he is a slave from Abyssinia”. He declared, “He is not one of us who preaches racial bigotry”.
Feeling of oneness (brotherhood) is an essential prerequisite for unity, peace and stability in society. Brotherhood shuns turmoil, turbulence, strife and dissension. The religion of Islam knows no nationalism or racialism, it has no geographic delimitations, and it co-extends with Faith. Islam creates a spiritual nationality which blends together people of every nation and every race. The Mamluks (slaves brought to Egypt in 10th century) attained highest positions in Islamic States, amongst them were Armenians, Russians, Sicilians, Georgians, Circassians, Tartars, Turks, Sudanese and Ethiopians and if their pedigrees were to be traced perhaps all colours of mankind would be represented. It was this feeling of togetherness that made Islam extends its boundaries to the gates of Vienna in West.
In all major forms of worship, the cultivation of brotherly feelings constitutes a significant end and each form contributes to the achievement of this end. The gathering of Muslims five times a day in congregation to prostrate before Allah is testimony to the fact that Islamic bondage shuns all forms of national, colour and creed discriminations. The low and the high, the rich and the poor are brought on one pedestal and even the least worthy who kneels to invoke the blessings of Allah feels no malice from the rest similarly, Saum, Zakat and Pilgrimage and institutions which levels down the barriers of distinction and discriminations. Perhaps never before in History, has the Ummah been so distanced and aloof to the sufferings of their Muslim brethren as they are today. Innocent Muslims, weakened women and children are being tortured, killed and persecuted, globally.
The Ummah is oblivious to the pangs of their sorrow and discomfort. As brothers in Islam, we need to take immediate collective action, to stop the genocide of Muslims. We must force a global outcry against repression of fundamental human rights. We should mobilize global opinion collectively with other Muslim countries and seek international support in forcing the repressive regimes, to stop bloodshed of innocent Muslims. The principle of brotherhood has two fold advantages. Firstly it gives impetus to good, noble and righteous deeds and secondly it acts as restraint from social evils. All Muslims should be true to their own brotherhood, they should tender and seek help from each other.
Sirajuddin Aziz is a senior banker with interest in Religion.