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.

In short, Jubair was part of ‘As-haab al-Suffah’ (companions living in the sheltered housing). One day the Holy Prophet (saww) visited them and his eyes fell upon Jubair. He (saww) said to him, “How good it will be if you find a wife for yourself and get married….” Jubair politely replied, “Is it possible that someone will develop liking for me? I do not have any personal merit nor do I have a lineage. I am also not wealthy and do not possess any beauty”.

The reply which the Holy Prophet (saww) gave is lengthy but the gist of it is: “Islam has destroyed distinctions of the pagan era which were based upon race, colour, caste and social positions. We are all from Adam and Adam was created from dirt. The most honourable among men in the sight of Allah is one who is most righteous”. (For accurate text, refer the under mentioned book)

Then He (saww) ordered Jubair to go to Ziyad bin Labeed (most noble and wealthy man of the time) and tell him that it was the Prophet’s instruction that he should marry his daughter Dhulaifa to you. Jubair did as told and Ziyad was shocked. He asked Jubair to return and that he would personally meet the Holy Prophet (saww) to apologise to him because his married his daughters to only his equals. However, Dhulaifa had heard the conversation from behind the curtain and confronted her father saying, “How can you turn a person back who has been sent by the Holy Prophet (saww)? If this is his wish then the proposal is accepted by me”. As a result, Ziyad married his beautiful daughter to Jubair and also provided them with a house and other necessities of life.

Soon after this incident, the Holy Prophet (saww) despatched a group of his companions to the battle-front and among them was Jubair, who was martyred. However, his young wife did not remain as a widow for long before she remarried.  (Tafseer of al-Hujuraat: Ayatullah Ja’ffar Sub-Hani)   ]

Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, “A Mumin is the brother of another Mumin. They are like a single body. If one part of it suffers, the whole body feels the pain….”  (al-Kaafi)

He (a.s.) has also said, “There is no esteem for a Quraish nor for an Arab except through humbleness, and there is no honour except through Taqwa”. (Bihar)

CONCLUSION:

If the Muslim Ummah wants to unite then they will have to do away with false

Distinctions. This is indeed the message which the Holy Prophet (saww) and his holy progeny have conveyed to us. Islam was the first religion to destroy nationalism and all sorts of racism.

On the occasion of the Meelad of the Holy Prophet (saww) and Imam Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.), we extend our warmest greetings and felicitations to our Living Imam Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hassan al-Mahdi (A.J.) and to all the Muslims & followers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.)

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