By Sr. Shamaa Siddiqui
Different cultures and different ethnicities are spread throughout the entire world. This is a blessing from our Lord, yet, for thousands of years, humans have abused this gift. Throughout time, cultures have been putting labels on and discriminating against one another due to differences between them. We are all still human, but we are all different.
Imagine a world without any cultural or physical differences; how boring life would be: no new knowledge to seek, no meeting interesting people with different backgrounds. Life would be plain and dull.
Discrimination has been around since the time of the creation of Adam, when Iblis declared that he would not bow down to Adam, because he felt that he was superior to Adam. This continued throughout history, in the time of the pharaohs, when they discriminated against the Phoenicians and the Children of Israel. In more recent history, in the past few hundred years, this discrimination continued between the whites and blacks. This discrimination between white and black is still somewhat evident today, as was displayed in the case of Ferguson, Missouri and in many similar incidents.
One may question: “What causes people to have such biases?’ One explanation may be fear; fear of the unknown. It is human nature to fear what we do not understand; this fear then soon transforms into hate. Another explanation may be that people condition themselves to find faults within others, which then causes them to become biased and discriminate against them.
Whatever the explanation, there is no place for discrimination in Islam. In the end, no one should ever forget that, regardless of age, gender, religion, culture or ethnicity, we are all simply human, created by Allah SWT. He says in the ayah from Surat ul-Hujuraat: “Oh ye people, I have created you from a man and a woman and have made you into tribes and nations so that you may get to know one another. Verily, the best of you are the most God-conscious.”