Equality and Piety



HADITH-2 M/FQ-RL - (Equality and Piety)

Assalamu alaikum WRWB,

Abu Huraira RA reported that, the prophet SAW said; Allah does not look to your faces or towards your riches but He sees your hearts and (the nature of) your deeds...Mus.M.

Although there are certain subtle biological differences between and within races, these have not been shown to affect human behavior in any significant sense. However from time immemorial most civilisations have not been impartial among their citizenry. Discriminating factors have usually been inherent-racial, origin, gender, birth etc-and material- wealth, power etc. In Islam, on the other hand, all people are fundamentally regarded as equal. Allah SWT says:

"O mankind...We have created you into nations and tribes...Truly, the noblest of you with Allah is the most pious". 49:13.

Both the Quranic verse and the text of the hadith above emphasize that only piety differentiates and makes one nobler in Allah's sight--nothing else. The prophet (SAW) never discriminated based on racial factors; That is why Abu Dharr al-Ghifari notwithstanding his position as a high ranking companion of the prophet, when, once in a rage called Bilal "O son of a Negress" the prophet did not tolerate this much of intemperence on his part admonished him and said: "You still exhibit the evil traits of Jahiliyah". Islamic history is replete with examples of blacks and people of diverse origins that have risen to responsible positions in the Ummah. Alas! Blackman has not as yet been regarded as an equal in Judeo-Christian material world of today.

Once asked about the best of people the prophet SAW reemphasized-the best of them in Allah's sight is the most pious. There are instances where he favoured freed slaves even over his close companions like where he advised a quraishi lady to marry Usamata RA over Mu,awiyyah Ibn Abu-Sufyan (RA). Contrast this with western slavery where once a slave always a slave. Remember Chicken Georg-in Alex Hailey's Roots who, despite his father being an American plantation owner, remained to the end of his life a slave; talkless of equating him with a freeborn man. The opportunity for realisation of the dream of equality of sons of former slaves and former slave owners lies only in Islam. Yet again he advised another another lady to marry a Hijjam (blood cupper), a percieved lowly profession....and stressing that people are like the teeth/prongs of the comb, no difference from one another only by piety. May Allah (SWT) increase us in piety-amen. 

Another form of discrimination that the prophet SAW admonished against is that of pride of ancestry though he acknowleged that people will not discard four things from Jahiliyah practices....one of which is pride of ancestry. It is strongly condemned. Allah (SWT) says we are created as nations and tribes and the common denominator for us has always been Islam. Origin and tribal variables should not in any sense differentiate us. At a lower level, human behavior rests, not on biologic factors, but rather on individual/communal 
socialisation processes-norms, values and cultural aspirations. These parameters are subject to modification by supreme factors of knowledge and the deen - Islam, the ultimate social moulder. We should strive to stand united,for in that lies our strength....and until we term ourselves as equals in both words and deeds unity will remain ever like a mirage.

We pray Allah SWT strengthens and unites the Ummah,amen.