Muslim Ummah

The Universality of Islam: Embracing Diversity in the Muslim Ummah

Allah sent hundreds of messengers and prophets to the world, from time to time, for the guidance of man. However, it was the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who sealed the prophet hood by bringing Islam. Allah taught Holy Quran to Muhammad (PBUH) as the perfect source of guidance. The teachings of Islam are universal, and its message continues to resonate with millions of Muslims around the world. From the pilgrimage of Umrah in Saudi Arabia to the practice of daily prayers and charity, Islam provides a comprehensive guide to leading a righteous and fulfilling life. Let us examine how this divine faith unites believers in embracing diversity within the Muslim Ummah and fosters a deep connection with Allah and the principles of peace, compassion, and brotherhood.

What makes a religion universal?

Universality requires a system or a religion to put justice and equality above everything else. Such a religion must promote peace, equality, and tolerance through its teachings.

Islam, as a universal religion, embraces these principles and holds the concept of Muslim Ummah at its core. The teachings of Islam transcend cultural, regional, and temporal boundaries, applying to everyone in the same way, in every period. The unity within the Muslim Ummah fosters a sense of brotherhood, where Muslims from diverse backgrounds come together as one community, bound by their faith in Allah and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This sense of unity and solidarity highlights the true universality of Islam, as it unites believers worldwide in their pursuit of justice, equality, and compassion for all humankind.

Teachings of Islam that make it a universal religion: –

Islamic teachings comprehensively fulfill all the requirements of a universal religion. 

Piety over ethnicity: –

One of the basic beliefs of Islam is that Allah created everyone as the offspring of Hazrat Adam and Hazrat Hawa. Thus, Islam negates geographical, ethnic, or any form of superiority of one sect over another.

When Islam took birth, dark clouds of ignorance and injustice hovered over the lands of Arabs. The rich and powerful maltreated the poor. The society treated women as worthless objects. People considered daughters as a source of shame. 

Muhammad (PBUH) came as a ray of hope and salvation for the oppressed. Islam laid down the principles of equality and justice. In his farewell pilgrimage, he addressed the Muslims and gave the first universal charter of human rights. 

“No Arab is superior over a non-Arab, and no white man is superior over a black man, except by piety.” He also commanded Muslim men to treat their wives well. 

Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH)whole life exemplified how Islam is a universal religion, uniting the Muslim Ummah irrespective of their ethnicities. Hazrat Bilal (RA), a blessed companion of Muhammad (PBUH) was an Ethiopian slave. He also had a slight slur in his speech. However, his devotion to Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) earned him an exalted status as a Muslim. He became the first Muezzin of Islam who gave the first call to prayer in Masjid-e-Nabvi. It was a revolutionary event for an African descendant enslaved person to hold such a prestigious rank in an Arab land. 

Islam unifies the Muslim Ummah, embracing individuals from diverse backgrounds. Hazrat Salman Farsi was a Persian and one of the most loyal companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was upon his proposal that Muslims dug a trench during the Battle of Trench and gained victory over the mighty Quraish tribe.

Tolerance of differences in beliefs: –

Islam is a very tolerant religion towards other religions. People belonging to different faiths live in peace and harmony, under Islamic rule. Fateh Sultan Mehmet gave the historic declaration on religious freedom for his non-Muslim subjects.

 Not only religious freedom, but Islam also commands Muslims to be tolerant of the opinions and practices of people. It discourages people to fight or argue amongst themselves because of differences. 

Hajj-an illustration of the universality of Islam:-

Islamic forms of worship illustrate the universality of the religion. Upon hearing the call to prayer, everyone leaves their work, performs ablution, and bows in front of Allah to offer their gratitude. A Muslim in Moscow, Istanbul, Karachi, or New York breaks his fast upon hearing the Maghrib azan. However, the best illustration of the universality of Islam is through Hajj. Muslims from all over the world wear the same white Ihram and perform tawaf around the Holy Kaba. Rich or poor, white or black, male or female, everyone becomes equal and offers their humble worship to their Creator. 

Islam encourages advancement in science and technology:-

Islam is the only religion that encourages its followers to investigate and explore everything in the universe and beyond. The Golden Era of Muslims, also known as the Muslim Ummah, gave birth to renowned scientists and scholars, such as Al-Khwarizmi, Al-Beiruni, Al-Battani, Ibn al-Arabi, and many others. Baghdad flourished as the City of Knowledge where disciples from all over the world would come to seek knowledge. The contributions of the Muslim Ummah’s scientists in Math, Astronomy, Physics, Philosophy, and Architecture are unparalleled. Their dedication to seeking knowledge and understanding the mysteries of the universe has left a profound impact on the world’s scientific and intellectual development.

Islamic teachings address complex and modern issues of the world:-

There is no matter in the world upon which the Holy Quran does not shed light. From commerce to social issues, marriage to the dissolution of marriage, inheritance to healthcare, Islam addresses all kinds of issues. Islam has given the most comprehensive financial mechanism whereby everyone enjoys the shares or bears the losses equally. Zakat and charity is a wonderful way of circulation of wealth from the rich to the poor. 

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