Behold and see! In Ind’s domain
Thou shalt not find the like again,
That, though a Brahman’s son I be,
Tabriz and Rum stand wide to me.”
→ Allama Muhammad Iqbal (RahmatUllah `alayh), translated Shaykh AHM
BismiLlahir-Rahmanir-Raheem. Praise be to Allah, and Salawat (Blessings) and Salaam (Peace) be upon the Messenger of Allah, the Prophet of the Gentiles, the Prophet of all nations, and upon His House and Companions, eternally, forever; multiplied by the number of all things in Allah’s knowledge. Ameen.
We have 2 Schools of Aqidah (Ash’ari, Maturidi) in Islam, 4 Schools of Law (Shaf’i’, Hanafi, Hanbali & Maliki), many Schools of Spirituality (Silsilas).
The Elders of our Ummah include Lord Bilal the African, Lord Suhayb the Roman, Lord Salman the Persian… the Mothers of the Faithful, the Consorts of the Prophet of Islam ﷺ, include Mother Umm Ibrahim Maria the Copt, and Mother Safiyyah and Mother Rayhanah the Israelites… radhiAllahu `anhum ajma`een.
Not to mention Islamic history has been enriched with Saints and Heroes of all ethnicities, whether they be Arab, Persian, Turk, Kurd, Chinese, Subcontinental (Indo-Pak) or Indonesian…
Islam has always taught us Unity in Diversity:
“And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.” [Qur’an 30:22)
The fundamental difference between the Pax Islamica that has dominated the global stage from the time of the Prophet til the Ottoman decline, and the Pax Britannica and Pax Americana that have dominated since, is just that. The European powers have always promoted a sort of racist supremism. Britain during the Colonial era primarily sought to turn the whole world into Englishmen, and deemed all the local cultures and beliefs to be primitive and inferior. Their haughty attitudes are still echoed in modern America and Europe, where many believe that the world can never truly be free without the adoption of Western values. This leads to a clash of cultures that is the root cause of much of the violence in the world today.
Compare the half-Millenium of Ottoman rule to the Western monochrome. It is startling that the Ottoman Empire extended from Iraq to Vienna and Algeria, encompassing hundreds if not thousands of different ethnicities. Yet, one does not find a ‘Turk supremism’ imposed upon the local populace. Such sentiments did not even exist until well towards the final days of the Empire, and that too because of Western influence. Was not the Holiest Site in Islam, the Sacred Chamber in Medina containing the Blessed Grave of the Prophet Himself ﷺ, guarded by Africans since the 12th century?
Was not Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s mother, the Valide Sultan, the most powerful woman on the planet, a Russian? (And yes, being the Sultan’s mother she was, in fact the most powerful person on the planet – despite being, ironically as it were, a Muslim woman). Even his grandmother was Russian, and so was his wife Hurrem who became the next Valide Sultan. How long did it take for the Americans to elect a Black President? Just some three hundred years?
Islam is like a blessed rain that, when it falls it brings dead culture to life. Whether it be the Muslims of China or Crimea, of Morocco or Indonesia, the arrival of Islam caused their national and cultural identities to blossom. To this day, their diverse ethnic and cultural identities are preserved in complete harmony with their shared Faith.
The Ummah can be likened, therefore, to a flower garden – Arab Muslims roses, Persians tulips, Indians, Bengalis and Pakistanis sunflowers, Africans violets, Turks daffodils, Indonesians water lilies, Circassians can be petunias, inter alia. Each with its own beauty and fragrance.
Yet, we are all one, of the same garden under the care of the same Loving Gardener. We are united in our diversity. This the complete opposite of the Western monoculture. We are people with the same beliefs, but everything else is harmoniously, exquisitely and oh-so-beautifully different.
This is the essence of Islam. It is the Message of the Creator for all His created communities, nations, tribes, ethnicities, colors, for speakers of all languages, for all cultures, islands, for the lands and the seas… for the Semites and the Gentiles… for the Ahmar and the Aswad:
The Prophet ﷺ said, “I was sent to the Fairest and the Blackest (referring to skin color).”
«بُعِثْتُ إِلَى الْأَحْمَرِ وَالْأَسْوَد»
We are all Ummatis of Allah’s Beloved ﷺ. We all belong to the Prophetic Community, our different colors being a beautiful sign of Prophetic Love being for all. Who was dearer to the Prophet ﷺ than Sayyiduna Bilal, the Negro who stood atop the Kaaba itself and called men to prayer – and yes, because called Negro or Al–Habshi is an honor for any Muslim. Who was dearer to the Arab Prophet ﷺ than Salman the Aryan, who the Prophet declared to be a part of His Own Family, Ahl al-Bayt?
We are just different colors of the same rainbow, or different flowers of the same garden.
… Though a Kshatriya’s son I be,
Tabriz and Rum stand wide to me!
Picture Credit: HDFreeWallpaper
Mawlaya Salli wa Sallim da`iman `abadan `ala HabeebiKa Khayr il-Khalqi Kullihimi. ﷺ