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7.1† Human Brotherhood and Equality I

Host:† How does this series related to the previous (6) series that we have completed?

Jamal Badawi:

In the first five series the focus was mainly on matters of belief and worship in Islam.† For example, these series dealt with the question of monotheism, prophethood, Muslim belief and the Pillars of Islam.† In other words the focus was mainly on matters of belief and pure acts of worship.† The sixth series Moral Teachings of Islam it looked into the moral code in Islam including prohibitions and moral virtues.

The connection of this serious with the previous series and the ones to come will all go back to the basic definition† that Islam is a way of life.† Islam is not a ďreligionĒ in the commonly understood form of religion as a set of beliefs or devotional acts.† The Arabic word is dean which means a complete and comprehensive way of life that guides human existence not only in matters of belief and worship but also in moral aspects, in social life, political life, economic life and all other aspects of life as a whole.† Islamís organization of society is only part of Islamís comprehensive view of life as a whole.

Host:† What are the kinds of topics that are relevant to the social system of Islam?

Jamal Badawi:

There are two basic topic groups that fit under the title Social System of Islam.† In the first group of topics we hope to show the connection between the social system of Islam and its basic roots.† We will look at its belief roots, moral foundation, conceptual foundation or in other words the basic principles that rule how the social system should be established and how it should run in accordance with the revelation and the word of God.† Today we will cover human equality, brotherhood, just balance, social solidarity cooperation and the role of leadership which all pertain to an ideal true Islamic society.† The second group of topics has to do with the family.† When one looks at society or community the arch type is the family.† The corner stone of a family in Islam (and other faiths too) is the woman.† We will cover the status of the woman in Islam from the human, spiritual, social, political and economic rights.† We will also address how the Islamic view is similar or different compared to other beliefs or ways of thinking.† Then we will address the issue of the family, which is very important in the structure of Islam.† We will cover the rules of engagement, marriage procedures and laws, rules regulating marital life and relationship, rules for how Islam to solves problems and what steps are followed for dissolution of marriage (rights and obligation of both parties and the question of custody).† We will cover the mutual rights and obligations of parents, children, relatives neighbors and the human interaction within close and distant family members.

Host:† Is there anything unique about the way Islam perceives human equality and brotherhood?

Jamal Badawi:

There are some similarities between Islam and other revealed faiths in terms of the common origin of mankind.† For example many faiths believe in the origin of Adam and Eve as the parents of mankind.† It is not just people who are religious or those who believe in the ďrevealed religionsĒ that believe this common origin of man.† Even evolutionists or people who do not believe in God at all agree on the point of common origin.† The difference is that they say the origin of man is not Adam and Eve but apes.† Creationists (those who believe that the human being was created) say that there might have been stages of evolution of lower levels of existence but that mankind was created differently and as a human (he may have gone through stages of development) and there is a separating line between humans and other lower levels of existence.† In any case the commonality is the parenthood of Adam and Eve.† However Islam is quite a distinct faith and is not just a copy of previous faiths or that it borrows information from other religions.† After all the source of Islam is from God as it was revealed.

We find that there are some areas regarding the origin of mankind that are not quite consistent with Islam.† In some of the ancient religions for example, a belief used to be held that people were created in different levels.† For example they believed some people were created from godís head, their function is to be religious teachers, some who were created from godís arms, in charge of being guards or soldiers, some who were created from godís legs or thighs, are supposed to be farmers, and finally they believe that there are those who are created from godís feet and their function is to serve other levels of human beings.† This belief has nothing to do with the belief in Islam but actually is contrary and inconsistent with the common brotherhood of mankind and that all humans are created equal in the sight of God.

There are also other faiths that uphold the belief in the basic story of Adam and Eve but which have fundamental differences.† For example, we find in some scriptures that God is referred to as God of a particular racial group; in the Quran there is not a single example where it says that God is the Lord of Arabs, of Muslims, of east or west, of blacks or whites but rather it always says the Lord of the universe or the Lord of humankind.† This depicts that God does not favor a specific group of people or race but that He is God of all humanity.

In scriptures prior to the Quran we find that men are referred to as the sons of God and women are referred to as the daughters of men.† Why is there a distinction?† Why should men be identified as sons of God and women are not?† This may reflect ideas that did not originate from revelations but came from peopleís religious writings which are not quite as expressive of the will of God.† The Quran talks about men and women as creatures of God and both as being children of Adam and Eve and that they are all servants of God.

The other basic difference is that other scriptures (before the Quran) mention the story of Adam and Eve as a historical chronology.† In the Quran, however, the story of Adam and Eve is not just presented as history but as a something that is appealing to the mind and heart as it motivates the individual to carry through this concept of the common origin of mankind and to establish true human equality and brotherhood.† This is why throughout the Quran when the story of Adam and Eve is mentioned the concept is reiterated as a practical implementation of a workable system of human equality and brotherhood.

Host:† How does human equality and brotherhood related to matters of belief in Islam?

Jamal Badawi:

Many people do not tie in belief to human equality and brotherhood.† I beg to differ with this separation of belief from everything.† The corner stone of belief in Islam is monotheism (belief that there is one soul creator and sustainer of the entire universe.† If this belief is not present other consequences would effect the concept of equality.† If a person believes that there is more than one power in the universe; there can not be equality or unity of mankind because it is automatically negated with the presence of two different powers.† If someone believes there is another being or creature of God who shares in His authority or omnipotence then again there is no equality because it creates different levels humanity.† The belief of an existence or creator between human beings and God as an intermediary would negate a deep foundation of human equality and brotherhood.

The opposite is also as true in monotheism, the belief in one true creator and sustainer of the universe and only creator of the whole universe, as it follows that all human beings are equal in the sense that they are all the creators of God.† The foundation then is laid down for true brotherhood and equality.† A Muslim not only believes in the oneness of God but also in the oneness of prophet hood and that they were chosen righteous people (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (PBUT)) in order to convey His message to mankind.† A Muslim believes that all of the prophets carried the same essential message which taught knowledge of God, knowledge of self, knowledge of human nature and knowledge of creationsí role and wisdom behind it.† The prophets brought basic guidance for mankind in regards to political, economic and social.† In that sense all prophets are viewed by Muslims as brothers.† If the prophets were like links in the same chain of revelation throughout history it must follow that anyone who claims elegance to those prophets must also be brothers or else they are negating the very foundation of the relationship of the prophets.

Host:† How does human equality and brotherhood relate to the moral code of Islam?

Jamal Badawi:

Generally speaking the moral code of Islam relates to human brotherhood or the structure of society in the same way that all that all other aspects of the human on earth are related in Islam as one organic whole.† There is an organic connection between belief, worship, moral code, economic life, political life and social life.† The human body with its bone structure, circulatory system, digestive system and nervous system which are not separate compartments but rather interconnected with one another.† In the same way Islam doesnít view life as separate compartments (religion, state, from, sacred, mundane) but as one with its moral code being defused within all teachings, including this particular topic.

In our discussion of the moral teachings in Islam we discussed prohibitions in Islam.† The things that are prohibited such as drinking, gambling, fornication and adultery are not simply individual morals but are actions that are linked to social morality.† The harm of these acts do not only effect an individual but harms society as a whole.

In the last ten programs about Moral Teachings of Islam we discussed a variety of topics dealing with moral virtues which effect the social structure positively if present and negatively if they are not implemented.† The social system of Islam has its own roots in beliefs and in moral teachings.

Host:† How is the story of Adam and Eve depicted in the Quran?† What is the difference between this version and others?

Jamal Badawi:

The basic story is found in in the Quran but the distinctive feature of it is that it is not just a chronological story that is mentioned but rather a theme that runs through the entire Quran.† The Quran is quite distinct because it does not throw the blame of the first mistake of Adam and Eve on Eve alone.† Some people believe that it was the snake who tempted Eve and Eve who tempted Adam and that she carries the responsibility of tempting Adam and in some beliefs she is the reason for the fall of mankind.

In the Quran says that Adam and Eve both carry equal blame for their mistake.† This is linked to human brotherhood, because if we blame one section of humanity for the fall of man then we will never be able to achieve human brotherhood (includes males and females).† The Quran also indicates that both Adam and Eve prayed in repentance and that God forgave them and thus there is no concept of original sin in Islam.† In Islam the human is not on earth as a punishment but is here as a trustee of God who was created for the purpose of living on earth.† When the Quran speaks of the mistake of Adam and Eve it says Adam disobeyed his Lord and was mislead then God chose him, forgave him and guided him.† There are three blessings that the Quran mentions.† One, that God chose Adam for a very important mission on earth despite his mistakes.† Two, God forgave him and so there is no original sin.† Three, God provided him with guidance in order for him to achieve happiness in his earthly life and the life hereafter.† It is quite clear when the Quran refers to the origin of man that it approaches it from the angle that all human beings are equal in the site of God and that all human beings are brethren whether they are male or female regardless of any of the artificial boundaries (race, color, social status etc).

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