From A Single Person

3 08 2011

O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of the womb (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you. [An-Nisaa’ (Women):1]

Presenter: “Why does God mention that He created us all from a single person? How is this relevant here?

This statement reminds us that at the end of the day, we (all humans) are kin: black, white, Asian, American, European, Australian, young, old, men, women, rich, poor. We are all equals. We need to remember this and we need to remember that God can ALWAYS see us. He is watching, completely and perfectly. So we fear Him in our treatment of one another by being compassionate and kind.“

I had to stop here. I connected this verse to the different forms of discrimination I had both witnessed and experienced both in my country and out. Once it’s the color of my skin. Then, it’s the way I dress. Then, it’s because I am Muslim. Then, I am not as rich as . . . . or as elegant as (what/who?). Then, it’s because I am a woman. Then, it’s because I have my own ideas and mind. Then, it’s . . . .

If we all come from one father and one mother, how can we be so cruel towards one another? How are we so easily able to hurt one another and actually feel and believe that we are superior to others? How can one group/person believe that they are innately better because of their color, beliefs, nationality, financial status, or the way they dress? Where do people get the (insert word here) to judge and violate one another?

Where do these “standards” that we find ourselves mistreated on failing to meet come from? The Creator Himself, you know, the one that manufactured all of us, didn’t set any of these standards that result in “us” and “them” and all the atrocities that follow.

I was translating for a pair of foreign young women a few months back. These were very beautiful and very strong young ladies. One night, they were travelling between cities here and called me from their taxi and asked me to speak to the taxi driver and explain that they did not want to stop for rest.

Me: (Faking my “I am so tough, you better watch out” voice.) Hello? Do you know where you are taking them? They want to get to their destination tonight.

Taxi-Driver: (Completely disinterested in what I am saying and interrupting me) Yes, Yes. I know. I know. Just tell them. There’s an apartment where they can rest. It’s available.

Me: I just told you! They don’t want to rest.

Taxi-Driver: I know. I know. Just tell them there’s an apartment where they can rest and sleep if they want.

Me: Did you hear me?

Taxi-Driver: Yes. Yes. I know . . . (And the cycle went on).

Me to the girls: (Shaken) Look, try to be very firm and serious with him. Shout if you have to.

One of the girls: Yes, Yes, I know. I understand. He and his friend want to sleep with us. They think they are entitled. I just wanted to make sure I got my message across to him.

The next time we met, they talked to me about how much insulting they endured as guests in my country, how many Muslim men thought they were entitled to “ravage” them since they weren’t Muslims, how others had point-blank told them, “You will burn in Hell because you are not Muslim.” Where on earth does this come from? Isn’t this another form of discrimination that we Muslims complain about when it’s practiced against us? Everywhere you go, it’s “us” and “them.” And somehow, “us” are always better than “them,” and “them” simply deserved what they got.

I guess this verse shows that not only is this NOT Islam, but God directs the call to all, Muslims and non, to remember that we are all kin and to treat one another accordingly.

The verse that comes next talks about protecting the rights of the weaker among us: the orphans:

And give unto orphans their property and do not exchange (your) bad things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by adding it) to your substance. Surely, this is a great sin. [An-Nisaa’ (Women):2]

Again, compassion.

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