In the very first chapter of the Qur’an, Al-Fatihah (The Opening), the concept of universal brotherhood is highlighted. The translation of the relevant verse is as follows: All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Universe. (1:2)
According to this Qur’anic verse, God is not the God of some community or group, He is the God of all mankind. He alone is the Creator; He alone is the Sustainer; He alone is the Lord of the Universe. This oneness of God is the basis of the oneness of humanity. It means that God is one and so also is humanity. In the eyes of God, there is no difference between one man and another, between the whites and the blacks, between the poor and the rich. When, in the eyes of God, all humanity is one, it is but natural that mankind should adopt this kind of thinking and live as one divine people. There is a beautiful story about the Prophet of Islam which is a fine illustration of this Qur’anic concept. This story is totally authentic because it is narrated by al-Bukhari, who has the highest status among the group of muhaddissin (narrators of the Prophet’s traditions). The story goes like this: The Prophet of Islam started his mission in 610 AD. Thirteen years later, he migrated to Madinah, the second most important city of Arabia. At that time there were some Jewish tribes living in Madinah. It happened that one day the Prophet saw a funeral procession passing through a street in the town. The Prophet was seated at that time, but on seeing the funeral, he stood up out of respect. Then one of his companions said: “O Prophet, that was the funeral of a Jew. Why are you giving so much respect to a deceased non-Muslim?” The Prophet replied: Alaysat nafsan (Was he not a human being?) (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1312)
This example set by the Prophet of Islam shows that irrespective of religion or tradition, all men and women are equal, all are human beings, all are equally honorable members of humanity at large. Everyone was created by God like oneself and one’s community. This concept of universality is the first basis of universal unity among all mankind. According to this Qur’anic verse, God is not the
God of some community or group, He is the God of all mankind. Universal brotherhood is not simply an abstract idea. It has the capacity to inculcate the highest human values among all men and women. It widens the horizon of the individual, it makes people broadminded. It elevates people above all kinds of superficial thinking. It gives people a higher standard by which to live their lives. It revolutionizes people’s minds and fosters this universal belief: I am for all and all are for me. The concept of universal brotherhood is a killer of all kinds of negative thinking. It originates a new kind of thinking, by which people are bound to adopt God-based thinking. After adopting this principle, every society becomes a kind of universal society. This concept serves as a bulldozer of all kinds of prejudices and discrimination.