The moral advantages of religious diversity

Islam recognises God’s profound wisdom in creating various genders, nations and races, so that they may know one another and participate to attain noble thoughts and good conduct.

IN the Quran, God presents a simile of human life being a race or competition. In it, each individual employs his whole power to zealously run forward to the one goal.

The one goal, however, ought to be the goal of good, which unites diverse ethnic groups, traditions and temperaments. God’s command is fastabiqu al-khayrat, or “Strive together, as if in a race, in doing good works” (al-Baqarah, 2:148; al-Ma’idah, 5:48).

The advantage of our nation consisting of different religious communities is thus that they may compete with each other in moral goodness for upward development.

This requires them to be respectful of diversity. The natural diversity of human languages and skin colours is understood as signs of God for wonder and admiration of His unity, power, and mercy, just as the creation of the heavens and the earth are among the wonderful signs of God (al-Rum, 30:22).

In the words of an English philosopher, Alfred Whitehead, “Men require of their neighbours something sufficiently akin to be understood, something sufficiently different to provoke attention, and something great enough to command admiration.”

Notwithstanding different human tongues and shades of complexion, human basic unity remains constant. Islam recognises God’s profound wisdom in creating various genders, nations and races, so that they may know one another and participate to attain noble thoughts and good conduct.

In a Quranic verse addressed to all, God says, “O mankind! We have created you all from a single pair of a male and female, and made you into nations and races, that you may know each other. Verily, the noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct” (al-Hujurat, 49:13).

Islam teaches that, as human beings, all of us belong to one human family, without any inherent biological superiority of one over another.

The Prophet Muhammad was quoted to have said, “Man is but a God-fearing believer or a hapless sinner. All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created out of dust.”

All racial prejudices are thus strongly condemned by Islam. Our “natural” outward differentiations – whether in terms of gender, races, languages and skin colours – are deemed by Islam merely as superficial stickers.

It is a person’s inward goodness; it is his “nurtural” ethical quality – measured according to universal religious values – that should be the basis for our esteem for others.

We should never ridicule or insult or unnecessarily be suspicious of one another, just because the other is of a different gender, race, language or hue. Racial quarrels must by all means be avoided, through proper understanding of one’s own religion.

by DR MOHD SANI BADRON.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/ikim-views/2016/03/29/the-moral-advantages-of-religious-diversity-islam-recognises-gods-profound-wisdom-in-creating-variou/

Comments are closed.