A person is either your brother in faith, or your equal in humanity. -Imam Ali
As I grow older and more aware of my self, I find that I have become more understanding of the issues pertaining to the world today. Growing up, I never liked politics (and it still does not capture my attention, to be honest) or issues of inequality around the world because I did not want to accept that injustice existed. I remember when I was in my early teen; I hated watching any news, be it eastern or western: I hated seeing oppression and misfortune.
I wanted to believe that everyone lived in a secure environment. I knew this was not the case, but I did not want to see the horror of people suffering on T.V. or even on social media. I know this is naive now, and mind you, my family was not living in a bubble or having a perfect life. We had many hardships, but I did not want to accept that torture, killings, rape, or even child trafficking exists beyond my line of sight. It is kind of odd in a way, but I never wanted to feel the sorrow people across the world felt, and I knew I would feel that sorrow simply by listening to their story.
It was not until I got into the university life that I started to allow myself to take in all of this in. I became more aware of the issues, and how I need to learn more about what is really going on on the other side of the Earth. It was around this time that I learned a quote that has changed my entire perspective on humanitarianism. It is a quote by a man revered in Islam, Imam Ali son of Abu Taleb, who was the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. The quote states: “A person is either your brother in faith, or your equal in humanity”. There is so many ways to apply it to my life, and specifically, to feel for those oppressed around the world.
If you are a Muslim, then you are my brother or sister in faith, whether we are from the same school of thought or not. We need to stand together as one Ummah (nation) and look past our theological differences. We believe in the Oneness of God and the Prophet Muhammad is his final messenger. We may agree to disagree, but what happened to polite academic discussions and eloquent debates to increase our knowledge about each others beliefs? This is how the early scholars got to know each others beliefs, and this is something we need to bring back.
It is all about tolerance for each other, for if we do not support one another as Muslims, we will be digging our own graves.
Let’s look past our differences and accept that we are one complete entity.
On the other hand, if you are not my brother or sister in faith, then you are my equal in humanity. You are still entitled to my respect, my empathy, my kindness and generosity simply because you are a human being just as I am. You have the right to a healthy meal, clean clothes, a safe home or environment to live in, and most importantly, the right to choose the life that you want to live. This goes to the people living right here in the United States, or in a small village in East Africa.
We are all one body, so let us breathe together, and bleed together.