Brotherhood based on blood relationships, brotherhood based on regions, on race, on caste, on creeds, etc. – But all these types of brotherhood – they are limited. Islam believes in Universal Brotherhood. It does not believe that human beings have been created in castes or in different levels. And I started my talk by quoting a Verse from the Glorious Qur’an, from Surah Hujurat, Chapter No. 49, Verse No. 13, which describes the Islamic concept of Universal Brotherhood, in the best way. It says that… ‘O human kind, We have created you from a single pair of male and female, and have divided you into nations and tribes, so that you shall recognize each other, not that you shall despise each other, and the most honoured in the sight of Allah (swt) is the person who has Taqwa – and Allah is all knowing, full of knowledge, and well acquainted with all things.’ This Verse of the Glorious Qur’an says that…‘O humankind, We have created you from a single pair of male and female’ – that means the whole human race originates from a single pair of male and female. All the human beings in the world – they have a common grandparent. And Allah (swt) says that We have divided the human race into nations and tribes, so that they shall recognize each other, not that they shall despise and fight amongst themselves.’ And the criteria for judgment, in the sight of Allah (swt) – this verse says… ‘Does not depend on sex, caste, colour, creed or wealth – but it depends, on Taqwa – that is God consciousness, that is piety, that is righteousness. Anyone who is more righteous, who is more pious, who is more God-conscious, is honored in the sight of Allah (swt) – and Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things. Further the Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Ar-Rum, Ch. No. 30, V. No. 22, that… ‘And amongst His signs, is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variation in your languages, and your colors. Verily in that, is a sign for those who know’ The Glorious Qur’an says that Allah (swt) has created various types of languages and different colors; black human being, white, brown, yellow – and these are signs. These variations in color and language, is not to despise each other, because every language that you have on the face of the earth – it is a beautiful language. It may sound funny, if it is unique to you – you may not have heard that language before – it may sound funny – but those people who speak that language, for them it is the most beautiful language. So Allah says… ‘He has created various languages and colors, so that you may recognize, you may know each other. And the Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Israa, Ch. No. 17, V. No. 70 that… ‘Allah (swt)… Almighty God, has honored the children of Adam.’ Allah does not say that He has honored only the Arabs or the Americans or a particular race – but Almighty God has honored all the children of Adam, irrespective of race, caste, color, creed or sex. And there are many faiths; there are many religions, which believe that the humankind has originated from a single pair – that is Adam and Eve (peace be upon them). But there are some faiths, which say, that it is because of the sin of the woman… that is Eve (May Allah be pleased with her) that the human beings are born in sin – And they put the blame only on the woman, that is Eve, for the downfall of human beings. In fact the Qur’an speaks about the story of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) in several places – but in all the places, the blame is equally put on both of them – Adam and Eve (peace be upon them). And if you read Surah Araf, Ch. No. 7: V, No. 19 to 27…‘Adam and Eve (peace be upon them), they are addressed more than a dozen of times’. And the Qur’an says that…‘both of them disobeyed Allah (swt)… Almighty God – both of them repented, and both were forgiven’. Both are equally blamed for the mistake – there is not a single verse in the Glorious Qur’an, which puts the blame only on Eve (May Allah be pleased with her). But there is a Verse in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Taha, Ch. No.20, V. No. 121, which says that Adam (pbuh) disobeyed Allah (swt). But if you read the Qur’an, both are equally blamed for not obeying Allah (swt) – they both repented and they both were forgiven. And certain faiths – they say that…‘Because Eve disobeyed Allah (swt) and is responsible for the sin of humankind’ – which Islam does not agree – ‘Allah (swt) cursed the woman, and said that she will bear labor pains.’ That means – Pregnancy is a curse, according to some people – which Islam does not agree at all. The Glorious Qur’an, Surah Nisa, Ch. No. 4, V. No. 1, says… ‘Respect the womb that bore you.’ In Islam, pregnancy does not degrade a woman – it uplifts a woman. And the Qur’an says in Surah Luqman, Ch. 31, V. No. 14, that… ‘O humankind, We have enjoined on you, to be good to your parents. In travail upon travail, did your mother bore him, and in years twain, was his weaning.’ The Qur’an says in Surah, Ahqaf, Ch. 46, V. No. 15…‘we have enjoined on the human beings to be kind to the parents. In pain did his mother bore him, and in pain did she give him birth.’ Pregnancy uplifts a woman – it does not degrade her. And in Islam, men and women are equal. And according to a Hadith which is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, Vol.No. 8, in the Book of Adab, Ch. No. 2, H. No. 2… ‘A person came to the Prophet Mohammed (saw)… Mohammed (pbuh), and asked him that… ‘Who is the person who deserves the maximum love and championship in this world?’ And the Prophet said…‘Your mother.’ The man asked…‘who next?’ The Prophet said… ‘Your mother.’ The man asked… ‘After that who?’ The Prophet repeated for the third time… ‘Your mother.’ The man asked… ‘After that who?’ Then the Prophet said… ‘Your father.’ In short 75%, ¾of the love and companionship of the children are due to the mother. 25%, ¼of the love and companionship goes to the father. In short, the mother gets the gold medal, she gets the silver medal, as well as the bronze medal – The father has to be satisfied with a mere consolation prize. These are the teachings of Islam. In Islam, men and women are equal – but equality does not mean identicality.
There are many misconceptions – especially when women are concerned in Islam. Many Muslims and Non Muslims – they have a misconception, which can be removed if you understand the authentic sources – Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith, correctly. As I mentioned, men and women are overall equal – But equality does not mean identicality. Let me give you an example – that if in a class of students, two students – Student ‘A’ and ‘B’ – they came out first – and both acquire 80 marks out of 100. But if you analyze the answer sheet, there are 10 questions, each carrying 10 marks. In the first answer student ‘A’ gets 9 out of 10, student ‘B’ gets 7 out of 10, so in question 1 student ‘A’ has a degree of advantage, than student ‘B’. In question 2, student ‘B’ gets 9 out of 10, and student ‘A’ gets 7 out of 10 – In question 2, student ‘B’ has a degree of advantage, than student ‘A’. In the remaining 8 questions, both get 8 out of 10 – and if you total the marks of both the students, both get 80 out of 100. So if you analyze, both student ‘A’ and ‘B’ are over all equal. But in the answers to some questions, student ‘A’ has a degree of advantage – In answers to some questions, student ‘B’ has a degree of advantage – but overall, both are equal. Similarly in Islam, men and women are equal. Brotherhood in Islam does not only mean that the same sexes are equal. The ‘Universal Brotherhood’ in Islam means, that besides race, caste, and creed, even the sex is overall equal. Men and women are equal in Islam – but in some aspects, the men have a degree of advantage – In some aspects, the women have a degree of advantage – but overall both are equal. For example, if a robber enters my house, I will not say that… ‘I believe in women’s right… I believe in women’s liberation – therefore my sister, my wife, my mother, should go and fight the robber.’ Because Allah says in Surah Nisa, Ch. 4, V 34, that… ‘Allah has given men, more strength than the other’ – that is, men have more strength than the women.’ So where strength is concerned, the men have a degree of advantage – so since they have been given more strength, it is their duty to protect the women – Here the men have a degree of advantage. Where love and companionship is concerned, where children should give to their parents – the women have a degree of advantage – As I mentioned earlier, the mother gets three times more respect and companionship, than the father. Here the women have a degree of advantage – but overall if you analyze, men and women are equal in Islam. The concept of Almighty God in Islam, of Allah (swt), is not that Almighty God… Allah (swt), is the deity of a particular race or a particular group of people. But the Qur’an says in Surah Fatihah, Ch. No.1, V. No. 2 ‘Praise be to the Lord of worlds.’ Almighty God is referred to as ‘Rabbil Aalamin’ the Lord of the worlds.’ And the last Surah of the Glorious Qur’an, that is, Surah Nas, Ch. 114, V. No.1 ‘That say: I Seek refuge with the Lord of humankind’. Almighty God… Allah (swt) is the Lord of the whole of humankind – not of a particular group of people, or a particular race.And there are various Verses in the Glorious Qur’an which begin by saying ‘O humankind’ ‘ And even the two Verses I quoted in the beginning of my talk – they began with …(Arabic)… ‘O humankind.’ And the Glorious Qur’an also says in Surah Baqarah, Ch. No. 2, V. No. 168 ‘Oh humankind, eat of what is on the earth, good and lawful for you, and follow not the footsteps of the devil, for he is to you an avowed enemy.’ Islam – in order for Universal Brotherhood to prevail in the world, it has a moral code… it has a moral law, which helps in Universal Brotherhood prevailing throughout the world, throughout the Universe. The Qur’an says in Surah Maidah, Ch. No.5, V. No. 32, that…‘If anyone kills a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it is as though he has killed the whole nation – all the people. And if any person saves a life, it is as though he has saved the whole of humankind – all the people.’ The Qur’an says that if any person kills any human being – whether it be a Muslim or Non Muslim – it does not specify the race or caste or color or creed – If any person kills any human being, unless it be for murder, or for spreading mischief in the land, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity. And if any one saves an human being, whether it be a Muslim or Non Muslim, from any caste, colour or creed, it as though he has saved the whole of humankind. The Qur’an has various laws of moral conduct, so that Universal Brotherhood will prevail throughout the Universe. The Glorious Qur’an says that… ‘No one should ever rob – it is a crime, it is a sin.’ Islam has a system of Zakat – that is, any rich person who has a saving of more than the Nisab level, 85 grams of gold – he or she should give 2.5 percent of that saving, every lunar year in charity. If every human being in the world gives Zakat, poverty will be eradicated from this world – there will not be a single human being who will die of hunger. And the Glorious Qur’an says, that…‘You should love and help your neighbours.’ The Qur’an says in Surah Ma’un, Ch. No. 107, V. No. 1 to 7, That… ‘Seeth thou not the person who denies the day of judgement, and deals the orphan with harshness, and encourages not the feeding of the indigent. Woe to those who are neglectful of their prayers, woe to those who pray only to be seen of men, who do not even provide neighbourly assistance.’ The Qur’an says that… ‘Woe to those people who do not even provide neighbourly assistance.’ And our beloved Prophet Mohammed (sws) said that…‘He is not a Muslim, who sleeps with his full stomach, while his neighbours are hungry.’ That means, any person who sleeps with his full stomach… that means… had a good meal, while his neighbours are hungry, is not following the commandments of Allah, and His Rasul. The Glorious Qur’an says that… ‘Do not be a spendthrift.’ The Qur’an says in Surah Israa, Ch. No. 17, V. No. 26 and 27, that… ‘Do not squander your wealth like that of a spendthrift, for verily spendthrifts are the brothers of the evil one… of the Satan.’ If you are a spendthrift, you are bound to disturb the Universal Brotherhood – because but natural, if a person squanders, it creates animosity, it creates enmity, it creates envy between the brothers. A person should not rob, a person should give charity, a person should provide neighbourly assistance – all these are moral conducts, mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an. The Qur’an further says that…‘You should not bribe.’ The Qur’an says in Surah Baqarah, Ch. No. 2, V. No. 188, that… ‘Spend not your wealth on vanities and do not use it as a bait for judges, in order that you may eat somebody else’s property.’ That means… ‘Do not use your wealth to bribe the people, so that you may eat up other people’s wealth’ – Islam does not agree in eating up your brother’s wealth. And the Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Maidah, Ch. No. 5, V. No. 90 ‘Oh you who believe Most certainly intoxicants and gambling dedication of stones, divination of arrows these are Satan’s handiwork Abstain from this handiwork, that you may proper.’The Glorious Qur’an says that… ‘Abstain from having intoxicants, alcohol, drugs, from gambling, from dedication of stones, divination of arrows – all these are Satan’s handiwork.’ And we know that intoxicants are one root cause for various evils in the society – it prevents the Universal Brotherhood form prevailing. And according to statistics – it tells us that… ‘In America, on an average everyday, more than one thousand nine hundred cases of rape take place – and in most of the cases, either the victim or the rapist, is intoxicated.’ The statistics of America tell us that… ‘There is 8% of incest in America.’ That means, every 12th or 13th person you come across in America, he has committed incest – that is, having sexual relationship with close relatives – father and daughter, son and mother, brother and sister – and majority… almost all the cases, it is under the state of intoxication. AIDS is spreading in the world – one of the reason is intoxicants. Therefore the Qur’an says…‘Intoxicants and gambling – it is a Satan’s handiwork – Abstain form this handiwork, that you may prosper.’ If you abstain from these evil things, Universal Brotherhood will be helped in prevailing throughout the Universe.