Are you a Muslim first or Human first? It’s a question many Muslims are asked nowadays. Similar kinds of questions asked these days to many Muslims, i.e. what came first, Islam or humanity? These seem very difficult and tricky questions but when we use our common sense and the basic principles of Islam and humanity, the answer to these problematic questions becomes simpler and obvious. Both Muslim and human (Insaan) are Arabic words and both these words appear in the Qur’an quite often. Let’s look at both of them one by one.
A Muslim is a title, not a birthright. The word Islam has two meanings: Peace and total surrender. A Muslim is someone who surrenders all his wishes to the will of Almighty Lord. And because of such dedication, he acquired complete peace internally and externally.
Why did God Almighty create humans in the world? What is his expectation from the human race? What should be our goal, what are the responsibilities? Every human must know this! Estimates are often incorrect.
From time to time, God Almighty sends His messengers in every region of the earth for guidance and gave His divine revelations to them. All the messengers were true and in the languages of their respective regions and in the style of their time, everyone delivers the same message of God Almighty to mankind. A person who goes against divine revelation and guidance may be a Muslim in the official record but not in the list of God Almighty. A Muslim is one who completely enters Islam and Islam is derived from the Arabic word ‘salm’ which means ‘peace’. Thus Muslim means peace-maker. The one who spread unrest is not a Muslim. Similarly, the basis of Islam is ‘Iman’ and ‘Iman’ is made of Aman meaning peace. A Muslim must have Imam. If there is no Imam in a Muslim, no matter how big a Muslim he is, but in the eyes of Islam he is neither a believer nor a Muslim. Along with Imam and Islam, the Qur’an also emphasizes on Amal-e-Saleh to be successful. The word ‘Saleh’ is derived from the root word ‘Sulah’ meaning doing the actions required for reconciliation and peace, commonly known as righteous deeds. Thus the Qur’an is a message of peace and humanity. The one who will follow the Qur’an truthfully will be the flag bearer of peace. And the one who creates unrest cannot be a follower of the Qur’an.
When we study the teachings of Islam, we see that the teachings of Islam are compatible with humanity. Qur’an says: Allah is the Lord of all the Worlds (1:1), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mercy and compassion for all the worlds (21:107), and the Qur’an a guide to all humans (2:185).
It would be utter ignorance to understand that God Almighty, His Prophets, and His divine books are for one community but all humanity.
Also, the Qur’an reminded again and again that all humanity is one and its ancestors are also the same and hence no distinction will be made based on caste, color, race, language, etc. Qur’an says:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (49:13)
The Qur’an also says that all human beings were once the same community – (2:213).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Said, All beings are the family of Allah and Allah loves him who treats his family with mercy – (Mishkat).
Not only with ordinary people, but Islam also order to do good and justice with enemies. The Quran says: O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do – (5:8).
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted – (4:135).
The Qur’an even said that to support all in the works of good, and not to support even the loved ones in the works of evil and excess, “…And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” (5:2)
The Farewell Sermon of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white, except by piety and good deeds.”
Islam refers to humanity as a single community, so a person who does not have humanity is not a Muslim, i.e. devotee of God Almighty.