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Unification of Mankind & Globalization: Islamic Approach

The Message of the Qur’an: Let us look at the verdict of the Qur’an in this respect. Islam is not a new religion. It reflects continuity in the beliefs and values of all revealed religions. God sent His Messengers, peace and blessings of God upon them all, to all people around the world at different times. All these Messengers came with the same Message as clearly indicated by the Qur’an: “Nothing is being said to you [Muhammad] what was not said to Messengers before you” (41:43). A new Messenger came only when the Message of the previous Messenger was lost or distorted. All these Messengers came to unite people and not to divide them, particularly in the case of Islam. Why? The reason is very simple: all human beings are the khalifahs or vicegerents of God and, therefore, brothers to each other. They have, accordingly, to live together peacefully in this world like brothers to ensure the well-being or falah (welfare) of all.

Given the concepts of one God and the unity of mankind in Islam, the verdict of the Qur’an is:


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Mankind was created as one nation, but they became divided because of differences among them. (19-10)

The question is that if they were created as one nation, why did they become divided? The Qur’an has an answer to this question as well. It says:

They became divided even after knowledge had reached them because of their transgression against each other. (24-14)

This knowledge that has come to them is the worldview, which is termed beliefs and moral values in religious paradigms and institutions in institutional economics.

One of the major purposes of all Messengers sent by God to this world was to give mankind the necessary values or rules of behaviour. These rules indicate how the people should interact with each other in this world so that there is justice, fair play, cooperation and solidarity among different nations, different groups of people, and all members of the family. However, justice, cooperation and solidarity have not necessarily prevailed. The reason, as stated by the Qur’an, is transgression against each other. And the cause of this transgression is vested interest, injustice, prejudice, exploitation, non-fulfillment of contracts and obligations, and misuse of power. These factors have prevented peaceful interaction and integration. To remedy this situation, Messengers, including Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him [pbuh], were sent by God to this world. About Muhammad, pbuh, the Qur’an says:

We have sent you as a blessing for mankind. (21:107)

Blessing cannot be with injustice, exploitation, and division. It can only be with the fulfillment of everyone’s needs, family integration, social solidarity, and peace and harmony. This is what is implied by blessing. Islam has come to unite people and not to divide them. The Qur’an stands for the unity of mankind. It is human beings themselves, who have failed to create the righteous atmosphere for this purpose.

The Message of the Sunnah: The Qur’an is only one part of Islamic teachings, the other part is the Sunnah. And the Sunnah’s verdict is also very clear:

Mankind is the family of God and the most beloved of them before God is one who does good to his family.

This family does not consist of just Muslims. It consists of all people, irrespective of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, white or black, rich or poor, and male or female. There is no difference. The Prophet (pbuh) proclaimed on the Day of the Hajj that:

“Oh people! Listen, Your God is One and Your father is One. An Arab does not have superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab, or a white over a black, or a black over a white, except by means of character.”

The Prophet {pbuh) also said:

Have mercy on those on earth, and He Who is in the Heavens will have mercy on you.

All human beings are, hence, members of the same family of God and equal. They should not only be treated with dignity and respect but should also be helped. It is the duty of a Muslim to do his best towards them. This is essentially the teaching of Islam with respect to unification of mankind and globalization. Killing people, destroying their property, devastating a whole country with weapons of mass destruction, as has been done by the United States recently in Iraq, cannot be in harmony with the teachings of Islam or indeed any other revealed religion.

M. Umer Chapra

 

Source: Essays on Muslims and the Challenges of Globalisation, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad. Republished with permission.