(After Fajar, Tuesday 10th November 2020 – 24th Rabi-ul-Awwal 1442 A.H)
I was enjoying my daily stroll when I came near a set of trees lined up on the walkway. I had passed a few of the trees when a particular tree caught my eye and attention. This tree was very vibrant, full of colour and abundant with leaves. It had stuck out as the tree before it had lost most of its leaves and the leaves on the other trees were still mostly green.
I paused at this tree to have a good look at this incredible spectacle and a reminder of the greatness of my Creator. I noticed that this single tree had leaves that were of different colour and a range of shades. It was a beautiful sight and the mix of vibrant colours was a feast for the eyes. I stopped for a little while longer and admired the natural splendour and the vibrant beauty and looked closer at the various colours. It is autumn so the leaves have naturally started to change colour creating this vibrant infusion of colours.
The natural colour of the leaves of this tree is green. Hence, some leaves were still completely green. However, other leaves had changed its colour. Some leaves had changed to red; some to darkish purple; some to yellow and some to brown or yellowish brown. At the same time there were leaves which had a mix and infusion of colours. Some leaves had a mix of red, yellow and green whereas some leaves had a mix of purple and green and some other leaves had a mix of red, yellow and brown.
This tree and the line of similar trees were on the walkway at St Katherine Docks. The walkway is called Sun Walk and is located at the East Basin of the Docks. These line of trees (approximately ten) were planted here at this scenic and tranquil location by choice. It was known to those who designed the scenic landscape around the Docks and had suggested this type of tree (and the various other plants, flowers, etc) the changes that will occur in the leaves. These trees were planted as they are beautiful and would enhance and enrich the look of the Docks.
St Katherine Docks is Central London’s Marina. It consists of three basins (West Basin, Central Basin, East Basin). It has a range of classic and modern boats, barges and yachts of varying sizes and shapes moored at these three basins. The royal barge (Gloriana) is also regularly moored here. During the British occupation of India the ships laden with goods (loot) used to dock here as it was a functional dock then. One area of the Docks is called Commodity Quay which is located at the West Basin. The basin closest to the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
St Katherine Docks is a stone throw away from the iconic and one of the main defining landmarks of London i.e. Tower Bridge. It is north of the River Thames. It is worth visiting this Central but tranquil part of Central London.
I have a habit and I like to enjoy the natural scene and marvel at the beautiful creation of my Powerful Creator. I like to take particular interest and reflect at the immense power (Qudrat / قدرة) and beauty embedded in the natural creation and the subtle lessons and reminders they give. All the creation sing and display the power and beauty of the Powerful Creator. We human beings just need to slow down, pause, listen, look and open our eyes and see the natural beauty around us and within us. Besides human beings (and Jinn) all the creation are constantly in praise and awe at the Powerful Creator.
The thought that crossed my mind instantly when I looked closely at the leaves and saw the vibrant range of colours staring at me on this single tree and the beauty it was displaying was the beauty and richness that lies and is embedded in the range of races we have based on the colour of skin. This rich diversity in the colour of skin is a beautiful thing. It not only displays the power of Allah Ta’ala but it also enhances the human experience and life on Earth.
The Human Family also stem from one tree. The roots of every human being are our father Hazrat Adam (عليه السلام) and our mother Hazrat Hawwa (عليها السلام). All the human beings of any colour are the leaves of this single tree. Just as the tree I have discussed above is beautiful and pleasing to the eyes due to the range of colours and the vibrancy it has the human family with all the diversity in the colour of the skin is beautiful and an enriching factor.
It was interesting to see and notice the individual leaves on this particular tree were of the shape of a human hand. Each leaf consisted of 5 parts like the five fingers in the human hand. This makeup of the individual leaf coincides beautifully with the categorisation of mankind into five coloured races. They are: Aethiopian or Black, Caucasian or White, Mongolian or Yellow, American or Red and Malayan or Brown subgroups. All the fingers of a single hand are complimentary and are there to enhance and add strength to the power of the hand. Cutting of a finger or subjugating one or two or more fingers will only weaken the hand. It is also very interesting that the colours on the leaves on the tree are very similar to the five colours of the different colours of skin amongst humans.
I have passed these set and line up of trees numerous times but it was only this time this inspiration came glaringly to me as the right set of conditions were present. It is autumn and naturally the leaves change colour; the vibrancy existing in the colours at this particular time and then my mind and spiritual heart being open to receive this inspiration.
Similar to the colour of the skin is the case of the different languages that humans speak. They are all beautiful and enrich the human experience on top of the greatness of the Creator they display.
Allah Ta’ala by design created human beings with different colour of skin and differing languages. He knew exactly why He created this diversity. The goal was so human beings cherish this variety and appreciate its richness.
However, it also becomes a test for people if they want to abuse and create superficial barriers and setup arbitrary blocks based on the colour of skin or the language.
To use these differences to create divisions or to subjugate any race due to the colour of their skin or language or anything else (like religion) stems and is rooted in ignorance and enmity. It is also restricting the potential of human beings as a whole and is a recipe for oppression, discord and transgression in the world.
Discrimination on the basis of skin colour and various others forms of discrimination is an unfortunate reality and a cancer in our world that is on the rise the world over.
The truth is the issue and disease is not in the colour of the skin or the different language but in the mind and in the eyes who have tainted their intellect and sight. It is unfortunate that those who promote and incite hatred and divisions on these basis cannot see the beauty and the richness in this diversity and vibrancy.
Islam does not tolerate this discrimination and has condemned it in the strongest language possible. The condemnation is an integral part of the ethos of Islam and is enshrined in its holy book - The Quran - and the Prophetic sayings.
In the historic and farewell sermon by the Prophet of Islam, our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) made it clear and decided this issue of race and colour once and for all for all of humanity till the Day of Judgement by stating the below historic statement.
“Certainly your Sustainer (Rabb / ربّ) is one. Your parents are one (all mankind are 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 Red person has no superiority over a Black person nor a Black person has any superiority over a Red person except through piety of the heart and righteousness of actions.” (Tabrani)
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the taufeeq, strength, ability and capacity to appreciate and respect these differences and to understand the beauty and richness it embeds.
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the taufeeq, strength, ability and capacity to fight for fairness and justice for all so oppression is eliminated from this planet.
O Allah Ta’ala! Protect us all from looking down at anyone or thinking anyone is inferior due to these superficial differences of the colour of skin or language.
آمین یارب العلمین بجاہ سیدالمرسلین علیہ الصلوۃ والتسلیم
و صلى الله على النبى الحبيب الشفيع الرؤوف الرحيم
Note: This reflection is part of the Series of Short Reflections I have written on a number of important and relevant concepts.
P:S: I am a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. I certified as an Aalim and a Mufti at this prestigious seat of advanced Islamic learning. I thought it should be mentioned (and has been suggested) so it provides some credibility and comfort for those reading (and who don’t know me).