What we saw in August in Charlottesville, VA was truly heartbreaking. Heather Heyer lost her life and many other innocents got injured. These sad incidents depict the growing divisions in our society, from which hatred and discrimination sprout.
Nowadays, hate speech is equated with free speech. I wonder whether the proponents of free speech had ever upheld this freedom of speech to promote an ideology of hate or hurt. This subject is very precisely dealt with by His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Worldwide Head and Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community when he said: “Let it not be that in the name of freedom of speech the peace of the entire world be destroyed.”
If we look deep into the prevailing divisions in societies around the world, they are based on the false notion of superiority despite the fact that it is the essence of all religious teachings that every person is born equal. This is the message which the Qur’an teaches me. It states, “O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; We have made you into tribes and sub-tribes that you may recognize one another. Verily, the most honorable among you, in the sight of God, is he who is the most righteous among you” (49:14).
A practical manifestation of this Islamic teaching of equality is seen these days at the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) where Muslims from all corners of the world come together and without discrimination, in the same clothing, and under the same sky stand shoulder to shoulder to pray to the same God and perform same rituals.
This message of equality was so special to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that during his farewell pilgrimage to Mecca, in the Plain of Arafat, while delivering his last Sermon he said, “An Arab has no superiority over a non Arab, nor a non Arab over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one.”
Eid ul Adha is celebrated by Muslims around the world on the 10th day of the Islamic month, Dhul Hijjah, in which Hajj is performed. On this occasion, Muslims sacrifice animals such as goats, cows, and others. Through the sacrifices offered, Muslims are given the message that pleasure of God and true righteousness instill such traits as shunning one’s ego, being humble and willing to offer sacrifices for others. God clarifies this subject in the Qur’an when it states about the animal sacrifice: “Their flesh reaches not God, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him” (22:38).
This is the message Muslims should adopt in their daily lives. Our relationship with God is not based on our color of skin or on the language we speak or the wealth we possess etc but it is purely upon our deeds. I wonder if God looks at our actions and not our appearances then why we as humans are content with the contrary?
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