Our essential characteristics are not defined by the things we have no control over, but rather the things which we do.
Devoid of all worldly distractions, each mature person of sound mind living on this vast planet will readily acknowledge that the land in which we are born, the colour of our skin, the people we originate from or are attributed to, are areas that are not within our immediate control.
Placing a new judgement or exercising a pre-existing stereotype upon others for these very issues in the cold light of day, can ultimately hold no intrinsic or evidential value.
Although we may experience the world from this common point of origin, it does not define who we are in any ultimate sense. What defines us as people of this earth, is the content of our character; the voluntary actions we undertake, the beliefs to which we subscribe. These are that areas that we consciously have control over, exercising the extent of our own free will or volition.
In the Qur’anic text, such concepts are expounded with the upmost eloquence, conveying a deep underlying wisdom for all to engage with:
ومن آياته خلق السماوات والأرض واختلاف ألسنتكم وألوانكم إن في ذلك لآيات للعالمين
Another of His signs is the creation of the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and colours. There truly are signs in this for those who know. [30: 22]
ومن آياته خلق السماوات والأرض وما بث فيهما من دابة وهو على جمعهم إذا يشاء قدير
Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and earth and all the living creatures He has scattered throughout them: He has the power to gather them all together whenever He wills. [42: 29]
أفلا يتدبرون القرآن أم على قلوب أقفالها
Will they not contemplate the Qur’an? Do they have locks on their hearts? [47: 24]
‘An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; the white has no superiority over the black nor does the black have any superiority over the white except by piety and good action.’ Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
The address made in the next verse, is to all mankind, the wording of which, is truly astounding.
يا أيها الناس إنا خلقناكم من ذكر وأنثى وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا إن أكرمكم عند الله أتقاكم إن الله عليم خبير
O Mankind – We created you all from a single man and woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognise one another. In the sight of Allah, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: Allah is all knowing, all aware. [49: 13]
What is remarkable when reflecting upon these, as well as other verses in the blessed Qur’an, is that premium is placed upon the voluntary actions mankind undertakes, the net results of the content of one’s character and the beliefs to which we subscribe.
Labelling an identification upon ourselves or indeed others, can be never structured upon areas that clearly are not within our scope of control. Rather, they are signs given to us by the Lord of all creation – to think, to ponder over and ultimately, to recognise his mastery over all that is in existence.
For in the ultimate scheme of things, without belief, good deeds the exhortation to truth and steadfastness, mankind does sink to an abysmal state. And while there may be some which categorise all of mankind into their own perception of disparate identities, the fundamental truths outlined in the final revelation shine as a beacon of hope to all of mankind, wherever on this earth they may be.
والعصر. إن الإنسان لفي خسر. إلا الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات وتواصوا بالحق وتواصوا بالصبر
By the onset of time, mankind is [deep]in loss; except for those believe, do good deeds, urge one another to the truth, and urge one another to steadfastness. [103: 1/3]