Friday, October 31, 2008

Equality in Islam

From: Gulf Times

By Abdul Rahman al-Sheha*

Islam removes all the impositions of barriers and classes among the members of the Islamic society in order to enable them to enjoy and practise their legitimate rights. No discrimination of any type is allowed in Islam. Lineage, colour, region or language must not give individuals any special class or status in the Islamic society. This is done essentially to avoid difference between the privileged or under-privileged on account of his colour, race, social class, nationality or any other means of discriminations.This is based on the verse of the Glorious Qur’an Sura Nisa [Women] 4:1 the meaning of which is translated as: “Oh mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, Who created you from a single Person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; fear Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.”

It is also based on the statement of Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “O Mankind! Your Lord is One. Your (grand)father is one. All of you belong to Adam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Adam is created of soil (earth dirt). Truly, the most honourable person in the Sight of Your Lord, the Almighty Allah, is the most pious among you. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab. There is no superiority for a non-Arab over an Arab. There is no superiority for a red (race) person over a white person. Likewise, there is no superiority of a white over a red (race) person except for the level of piety (mindfulness of God, the Almighty Allah in life and practices)”[Ahmad, Hadith No.411]. *

The basis of humanity with all its races, according to Islam, is one source without any distinction. Islam does not tolerate any false pride in lineage, social status and belonging and the like. Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) says, “The Almighty Allah has removed the false pride-taking, which was practised in the pre-Islamic period, where individuals took false pride with their ancestors (forefathers). All mankind belongs (in lineage) to Adam. Adam is created of soil (earth dirt)”[AbuDaoud, Hadith No.5116].*

Furthermore, Islam bans all types of discriminations, as pointed earlier. No racial discrimination is allowed or tolerated according to Islam. Previously, Jews and Christians considered themselves of a higher breed, race or class of people. Based on this the Almighty Allah exposed the truth of Jews and Christians as stated in the Glorious Qur’an Sura Maiedah [The Table] 5:18 the meaning of which is translated as: “(Both) the Jews and the Christians say:We are sons of Allah, and His beloved. Say:Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay, you are but men, of the men He has created: He forgives whom He pleases, and He punishes whom He pleases: and to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)”.

It is also reported that one of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) namely Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) once said to black slave who served him, calling him as follows: O the son of the black lady. Upon hearing this call, Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) turned to Abu Dharr and said to him immediately: “Are you insulting this man with his own (black) mother? Truly, you still possess some of the qualities of the pre-Islamic era. It is over. It is over. There is no virtue or merits for the son of the white woman over the black woman except for piety and righteousness or good deeds and actions”[Ahmad, 4:145]. Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) upon hearing the comment of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) put his head down on the ground for his slave servant to come and step with his black foot on his head although the Prophet did not command him to do so. Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) felt very bad and regretted what he did and that was the reason that urged him to lay his head on the ground for his black slave servant to step on it in retaliation and revenge for what he, the master, attacked his servant with. Moreover, Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) wanted to discipline himself in a hard and humiliating way so as he would never repeat such a sin in the future.* Similarly, all people are alike and equal in terms of the various acts of worship.

The rich, the poor, the leader, the peasant, the white, the black, the dignified, the humiliated are all alike and equal before Allah in terms of all acts of worship in Islam. All commands, and all prohibitory items, are applicable to all without any distinction because of class, social status or race. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an Sura Fussilat 41:46 the meaning of which is translated as: “Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is Your Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His Servants”.

The differentiation between individuals in the Sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is based on their levels of piety, righteousness, compliance of the Commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an Sura Hujurat [The Chambers] 49:13 the meaning of which is translated as: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the Sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. In addition, Allah has full Knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”*

All individuals are equal in Islamic code of law. Penalties, judgments and legal sentences are applicable to all classes of people without any distinction. There are no particular forms of penalties or sentences for a certain class of people. All people are equal within the jurisdiction of Islamic law. No individual or class of people has immunity over and above the Islamic laws.‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Koraishites were too concerned when a Makhzoomi woman stole and Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) wanted to apply the corporal punishment in her case, amputating her hand. The Koraishites consulted among themselves and said, ‘The best person to talk about the Makhzoomi woman thief to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is his most beloved Companion (and the son of his most beloved companion) Osamah bin Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him)’.Thus, Osamah (may Allah be pleased with him) spoke to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) concerning the Makhzomi, woman. Upon listening to Osamah (may Allah be pleased with him), Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘O Osamah! Are you coming to intercede concerning a corporal punishment set by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? (How dare you do this?)’.Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stood up, as soon as he finished his conversation with Osamah and delivered a speech saying, “The people (or nations) before you were destroyed due to the fact that when a noble person among them would steal, they let him go unpunished, but if a poor, weak and gullible person among them steals they will apply the corporal punishment to him. By Allah! If Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with him); the daughter of Muhammad stole (the value where she will be subject to corporal punishment) I shall cut her hand” [Bukahri Hadith No.6406 and Muslim, Hadith No.9].*

All members of the nation have the right to benefit from the national resources. Also, all are equal in this right. This means that individuals have an equal right to receive a fair share of the national Islamic wealth. However, they will not be equal in terms of work they present.The first Caliph; Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) distributed the gifts among the Muslims equally. A group of people differed with him in opinion on this distribution and argued, ‘O Caliph of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)! We notice that you have distributed the gifts in equal shares among people. However, certain individuals have certain virtues and priorities. We wish that you had given a special gift to such individuals’.Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) replied: “How can I tell the specific virtues and privileges of the individuals you mentioned? What I give is merely a living allowance. Offering an equal living allowance to people is better than favouring certain individuals. As for those who presented extra work for Islam their rewards are preserved with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) As for this worldly wealth, it is here for the good pious person and the evil ones. This wealth is not remuneration for the works they presented” [See, Abu Yala, ‘al-Ahkahm al-Sultaniyah’ (Sultanic Rules), p.222].

Each member of the Islamic society has a right to the national wealth and buried land resources, such as oil, gold, silver, diamond and other precious metals. Islamic government must exert every effort to secure job opportunities for its constituents and organise the utilisation of such national resources. None has the right to monopolise, abuse or act for his personal interest on national resources. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an Sura Mulk [The Kingship] 67:15 the meaning of which is translated as: “It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse you through its tracts and enjoy of the Sustenance which He furnishes: but unto Him is the Resurrection”.*

Islam declares all people equal in terms of human values. The only distinction between people is on the basis of service that the individual presents to his society and community. Moreover, Islam looks at the religious, social or worldly services that individuals offer to their society and community.Islam, for instance, does not look at a hardworking individual and a sluggish on equal footing in terms of pay and financial rewards. Islam, also, does not treat the good and evil individuals equally in terms of rewards and punishments. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an Sura Anam [Cattle] 6:132 the meaning of which is translated as: “To all are degrees (or ranks) according to their deeds: for Your Lord is not unmindful of anything that they do”.

*From his book Misconceptions About Human Rights in Islam

Blogger comment:

1- To be noted there is no socialism or communism in Islam.
2- There is however social jusitce.
3- Flat taxes is encouraged.
4- Giving money to the poor is common in the major three religions. Islam has it as a fixed value of 2.5% of non-used capital to be sure we have the minimum to support the poor.
5- Sharia is only applied on Muslims.
6- Making a cut in a theif hand was made quite difficult as a law to apply. It is the job of the government not let people became theives.
7- The law of stonning for adultry was made quite difficult to apply. It protected the sinners and more so the crazy honour killing. Meanwhile Islam is very strong in upholding the virtue and pure society.

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