Taqwa: Criteria of Superiority


“O People! Verily We have created you from a male and a female, and We have made you into various nations and tribes so that you may recognize each other, verily the most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most righteous (conscious of God)”. (49:13)

The above is a very important verse. It contains the true message of ‘peace’ for the entire mankind. The Holy Prophet (saww) had been instructed NOT only to recite it to the people BUT also to demonstrate it to them.

TAFSEER:

After ‘Fat-He Makkah’ (Conquest of Makkah), the Holy Prophet (saww) instructed that Adhaan should be called out. Bilal, who was black and also an African companion of the Holy Prophet (saww) climbed onto the roof top of the Holy Ka’bah and called out Adhaan. This disappointed some Arabs particularly those, who up till the conquest were pagans. But soon after, they accepted Islam to save their lives and the Holy Prophet (saww) pardoned and freed them.

‘Itaab bin Aseed said, “I am thankful to God that my father is not alive today to witness this”.

Harith bin Hishaam said, “Didn’t the Holy Prophet (saww) find somebody else to call Adhaan other than this black crow”.

Thereupon this verse was revealed. (Tafseer-e-Qurtubi & Namoona)

EXPLANATION:

The message of Islam is clear. All human beings are equal. No one enjoys superiority over other and distinctions based upon race, colour, caste and social positions are null and void. In the sight of Allah (SWT), the most honourable is one who is Most conscious of God and the most righteous.

Once the disciples of Prophet ‘Issa (a.s.) asked him, “Who is to be considered as superior among men?” He (a.s.) took a handful of dust in his hand and said, “All men are from the dust and they shall return to dust. In the eyes of God, he is most honoured who is most righteous”. (S V Mir Ahmad Ali)

DEMONSTRATION BY THE PROPHET (SAWW):

Equality of all human beings and Taqwa being the only criteria of honour – is the message which the Holy Prophet (saww) came to convey. He (saww) did not only recite the verse but practically demonstrated it to the people. The incident of Jubair is an instructive one.

[ Jubair was from Yamamah. He was short, not handsome, dark and had an African complexion. He was also very poor. When he came to Madina and accepted Islam, the purity of his heart and his poverty attracted the Holy Prophet (saww) towards him.

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