Variations in Our Colors

Over the past few months, news and social media outlets in the United States have been littered with stories of police brutality and fatal shootings, judicial injustice, and of public outrage, disgust and disbelief regarding the incidences.

At some point many of us have witnessed, and even experienced the prejudice, hate, animosity, and unfair bias that one person can have for another person because of skin color, religion, place of birth, and/or social and economic status. There is no reason, no justification, and no excuse for this except that the human being – driven by ego and ignorance – can be profoundly arrogant, unjust, and cruel.

As residents of one of the most diverse cities in the world – NYC – we get to see both the worst and the best examples of how people of varying backgrounds interact with one another. As Submitters to God alone, it is our responsibility to be among those who consistently set the best example by fighting oppression, standing up against injustice, and advocating freedom and equality.

[2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship  GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.
[16:90] GOD advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.
In light of the current situation with the police and the country’s institutionalized racism, let us take a look at what God says regarding the differences in our colors.
[30:22] Among His proofs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors. In these, there are signs for the knowledgeable.
[35:28] Also, the people, the animals, and the livestock come in various colors. This is why the people who truly reverence GOD are those who are knowledgeable. GOD is Almighty, Forgiving.
[49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.

God tells us in these verses that He created everything in various colors and provided us with distinct languages as a sign from Him, and as a means for us to recognize each other. We also understand that the best among us – regardless of the differences in our colors, languages, or gender – is the most righteous. The most righteous. Period.

However in the realms of this worldly life, we are encouraged to think that there are other more visible and worthy factors that qualify someone as better than another. As students of the Quran, only one example comes to mind when pondering where this idea might come from. It is found in these verses below:

[38:75] He said, “O Satan, what prevented you from prostrating before what I created with My hands? Are you too arrogant? Have you rebelled?”
[38:76] He said, “I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from clay.”
This interaction is repeated in verses 7:11-7:12, where God questions Satan regarding his refusal to follow the commands given to him, “What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?” to which Satan responds, “I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud.” Satan’s statement in verse 7:12 exposed his bigotry.

God provides us another example in the Quran to help us understand this Satanic phenomenon:

[34:34] Every time we sent a warner to a community, the leaders of that community said, “We reject the message you are sent with.”
[34:35] They also said, “We are more powerful, with more money and children, and we will not be punished.”

In the midst of everything that we are hearing, seeing, and feeling, as Submitters and worshippers of God alone, let us try to remember what God tells us in the Quran about His creations, the qualities that He loves, and what we should strive for so that we may be among the most righteous – to be the best among the people.

Let us be righteous.

[2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.

Let us advocate and stand up for justice.

[49:9] …You shall maintain justice; GOD loves those who are just.

Let us fight oppression and aggression.

[2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.

Let us be  equitable and just.

[55:9] You shall establish justice; do not violate the law.
[4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
[5:8] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses. Do not be provoked by your conflicts with some people into committing injustice. You shall be absolutely equitable, for it is more righteous. You shall observe GOD. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

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