The Brotherhood of All Human Beings
Muhammad (peace be upon him) presented to the world a perfect model of brotherhood among human beings. He (peace be upon him) taught that no race is superior to another, for all are equal in origin and equal in their responsibilities and rights. One's degree of faith and piety is the only criterion for preference. His companions were given equal opportunities to belong to and serve the religion. Among them were Suhayb, a Byzantine, Bilal, an Abyssinian, and Salman, a Persian, all working side by side with their brothers among the Arabs.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived in a society dominated by class discrimination based on wealth, ethnicity and race. This was not particular to the Arabian Peninsula, but was the general condition of the world at large at that time. Hence, we can perceive the immense transition that Muhammad (peace be upon him) effected among the Arabs and other inhabitants of the earth through the revelation he conveyed from his Lord. It called for brotherhood and equality among human beings and made clear that what distinguishes one person from another is none but righteousness, morality, benefit and good deeds; and that one's appearance, color or race has no role in this preference.
The Arabs used to enslave those born free either by the sword in battle or by deception and betrayal. The slave was considered to be no more than a possession with which the owner could do as he pleased. If he decided to kill him, he would not be blamed or criticized for it, and female slaves were forced to practice prostitution to increase the owner's income. Slaves were driven like cattle to hard labor while no objection was ever raised by them since they knew that this was the law and the normal course of life.
Transition was effected in that culture by Muhammad (peace be upon him) through revelation from Allah when he declared openly and decisively that the then prevalent system of discrimination was annulled. Allah revealed the following in this regard: “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Surat Al Hujurat: 13].
And He affirmed a single origin for all of mankind in many verses of the noble Qur'an, such as: “Certainly did We create man from an extract of clay” [Surat Al Mu'minun: 12].
And: “It is He who created you from clay and then decreed a term [of life] and a specified time [for resurrection] to Him; then you are [still] in dispute.” [Surat Al An`am: 2].
The final Prophet (peace be upon him) declared: "O mankind, unquestionably your Lord is one and your common ancestor is one. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab or for a non-Arab over an Arab; neither is there for a white over a black nor for a black over a white, except by righteousness." [Reported by Ahmad].
And he (peace be upon him) said: "People are the children of Adam, and Adam was [created] from dust." [Reported by At-Tirmidhi].
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