ONENESS OF HUMANITY AND DIGNITY OF HUMAN BEINGS

Oneness of humanity:
The Quran places emphasis on the oneness of human beings. It introduces the idea of common human origin and ancestry at four different places and says that humans have their origin in a single cell or soul.

“O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single soul, created, of like nature, the mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.” (Quran 4:1)

“It is He Who hath produced you from a single soul: here is a place of sojourn and a place of departure: We detail Our signs for people who understand.” (Quran 6:98)

“It is He Who created you from a single soul, and made the mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord, (saying): If Thou gives us a goodly child, we vow we shall (ever) be grateful.” (Quran 7:189)

“He created you (all) from a single person: then created, of like nature, his mate; and he sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs: He makes you, in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness. such is Allah, your Lord and Cherisher: to Him belongs (all) dominion. There is no god but He: then how are ye turned away (from your true Centre)?” (Quran 39:6)

Thus the purpose is to ensure that the unity of humanity is never compromised and the differences that exist among people are resolved through a process of mutual understanding on the basis of ideas that are divine revealed.

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“Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace guided the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guided whom He wills to a path that is straight.” (Quran 2:213)

The Quran acknowledges the diversity in humanity but described it as a functional aspect of existence and not structural.

“To you We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that has come to you. To each among you we have prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He has given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute; (Quran 5:48)

The Quranic assertion about the oneness of humanity is a powerful message for all those who still want to live in their own tribal, national and ethnic cocoons without any respect and regard for the other. The Quran does not want a person to cancel one’s identity by birth but wants that identity to enhance inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness.

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“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Quran 49:13)

The idea that despite differences in our DNAs and fingerprints, we all have a common origin and can relate with each other accepting every human as part of our extended family whether we are able to trace our bloodlines or not is in itself a powerful unifying idea, an idea whose time has finally come in a world that is shrinking every day.

Dignity of Human Beings:
The Quran places great emphasis on the dignity of human beings regardless of their gender or race or even status. It says: “We have bestowed dignity on the children of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of our creation.” (Quran 17:70)

The dignity comprises rights and duties. It means that all human beings are created equal by the One Creator, and no one is superior to another on the basis of his or her birth or family or tribe. It is only the divine that alone is the judge to decide who lived up to his/her dignified status accepting the dignity of the other. The dignity also means that human beings have a right to life, right to freedom of religion, right to freedom of lifestyle, right to labor, right to security and right to family are secured, even if that means that human beings do not accept divine guidance.

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The Quran does not want people to deprive others of these rights because of their color, gender or even religion. The Quran does not give preference to one over the other. The Quran does not say that only Muslims or who have faith in God deserve dignity or rights that are associated with dignity. It talks in a broader term and declares that no one has a right to deny humans their dignity that is a God given right.

Not very long ago, the world had difficulty in realizing the validity of this Quranic message. People were discriminated on the basis of their ethnicity or gender or status and religious scholars and political experts were providing justification for these discrimination. Cases can be found in many parts of india where people were discriminated on the basis of their ethnicity or gender or status and religion. In the United States, we had the “N” word for African-Americans in vogue for several centuries and is still uttered in several private sessions. But no one in the world today can argue for segregation and discrimination on the basis of race, religion,, gender etc. The world has begun to realize and implement the Quranic message of the dignity of humankind. This message is relevant in our time more than ever before, regardless whether Muslims practice it or not because it certainly can inspire people of all faith to stand with each other in defense of human dignity of all.

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