What is the wisdom behind the creation of different races?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Question: What is the wisdom behind the creation of different races?

            “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”. (al-Hujurat, 13).

            “In the era when the Quran was sent down, there was a strong tradition of boasting among Arab tribes, and regarding themselves superior to others among Arabs. When Islam proclaimed the equality of people, there were some people who had difficulty in accepting it; some noble families and tribes did not want to marry their daughters off to their freed slaves and other tribes. The Prophet struggled against them, educated the believers and addressed all humanity as follows in his famous Farewell Sermon:” 1

            “O people! Your Lord is the same. Your father is the same. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action. Listen! Have I informed you about this divine truth?” Those who listened to him said all together, “Yes.” Then, he said, “Let those who are here inform those who are not here about it.” (Musnad, V/411)

            Another interpretation of the same verse is as follows:

            "I created you as peoples, nations, and tribes, so that you might know one another and the relations between you in social life, and assist one another; not so that you would regard each other as strangers, refuse to acknowledge one another, and nurture hostility and enmity.

In explanation of the principle of mutual acquaintance and assistance alluded to by the above verse, we say this:

An army is divided into divisions, the divisions into regiments, the regiments into battalions, and companies, and squads, so that all the soldiers may know their many different connections and related duties. In this way, they all will perform properly a general duty in accordance with the principle of mutual assistance, and the collectivity they form will be safe from the attacks of the enemy. The army is not arranged thus to be divided and split up, with one company competing with another, one battalion being hostile to another, and one division acting in opposition to another.

Similarly, Islamic society as a whole is a huge army that is divided into tribes and groups. Nevertheless, it has unity in numerous respects: its groups’ Creator is one and the same, their Provider is one and the same, their Prophet is one and the same, their qibla is one and the same, their Book is one and the same, their country is one and the same; a thousand things are one and the same....

All these things being one and the same necessitates brotherhood, love, and unity. That is to say, being divided into groups and tribes should lead to mutual acquaintance and mutual assistance, not to antipathy and mutual hostility.2


1.Kur’anYoluTefsiriVolume: 5 Page: 97-98.
2.Nursi, B.S. Mektubat. p. 411-412.

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