Sunday, 19 June 2011

EQUALITY IN ISLAM

Islam considers all human beings as equal. There is no difference between them because of race, colour, or tongue. All of them belong to one family and come from origin.

This was not the case before Islam came to the Arabian peninsula. Before Islam, each tribe considered its members to be superior to those of other tribes, and this made life very difficult between them. They could not deal with each other properly, and they led a difficult life; there was severe fighting almost continuously between the tribes of Arabia because of their attitude towards one other. Might was right, so the weak had practically no rights.

When Islam came, it was a long step towards correcting the attitudes of the Arab people, and making them aware of their brotherhood with others. The poorer people and the humbler tribes were quick to follow the Prophet because they saw in Islam a hope of leading a good life, for in Islam they heard something they had never heard before. The voice they heard gave them hope that people could live as equal human beings.

But at the same time, their accepting Islam was a reason for the leaders of the tribes to object to the call of the Prophet, because it was hard for them to consider these weaker people as their brothers.


equality Islam

The Prophet himself emphasized this by his actions and his behaviour, by treating all human beings as his equals, even his slaves. There is an interesting story about this. It is related that the Prophet’s wife, Khadija had a slave called Zaid, whom she gave to the Prophet to help him with his personal affairs. The Prophet treated him as his son, and the youth never left he was a slave. According to the law of Arabia before Islam, when war broke out between two tribes the winner could take the women and children of the defeated tribe as slaves. Zaid had become a slave on one of these occasions, and he moved from one hand to another until finally he reached the hand of the Prophet. His father and uncle were looking for him every where. At last they discovered that he was in Mecca with the Prophet Muhammad, and they went to Mecca and asked the Prophet to return Zaid to them.

They offered the Prophet whatever he wanted as exchange for the boy. When the Prophet heard this, he called Zaid to him and said: “This is your father, and this is your uncle.”

Zaid recognized them, and said he knew who they were. The Prophet said: “If you want to go with him, you are free to go, and if you want to stay, you are welcome to stay.” The Prophet left the choice with the boy, and what Zaid answered astonished his father and his uncle: Zais refused to go with them, and said to the Prophet: “I will never prefer anyone to you, not even my father.” His father and uncle were surprised and annoyed, and said: “What are you saying, Zaid, do you prefer slavery to freedom?”
“No,” said Zaid, “but there is no one who could treat me like the Prophet treats me!”

When the Prophet saw that, he wanted to please the father and uncle of Zaid, and he went out in public and announced that Zaid was not his slave, but his son. This shows us the new system the Prophet introduced among Arabic people, with equality for each man, no matter what his tribe or colour.
Read also An Approach to The Study of Religion

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