Living in the United States, and North America in general, poses some interesting problems. One issue that is absent from practically every other nation on the face of the planet is that of diversity. We have ethnicities from all over the world living within these borders. Not only that, this country was built by a diverse ethnic labor force, that spanned the globe. Almost every people have had a hand in making the United States what it is today and it is also what keeps the nation going. Some unfortunately see this as a problem rather than a strength.
The only other nation that experienced such a diverse make up was that of the Muslim nation. Within 100 years of the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, Islam had spread as far west as Morocco and Spain and as far east as China. Islam brought with it one unifying trait and that was to recognize that the Creator was One. Other than that and the primary tents of the faith, such as daily prayer, alms giving, fasting in Ramadan and making pilgrimage to the ancient ancient house of worship in Mecca, the faith allowed for much diversity. All strata of life and from all corners of the Earth, people were accepted as who they were and seen as equal to any other person, regardless of skin color, language, or financial class. The only trait that distinguished a person from another was that of piety, and that could only be judged by the Judge Himself on the day when we all return to Him.
This diversity is what made the Muslim nation so powerful and why whenever Muslims went to new lands, people accepted what they brought as a new way of life. The Muslims also incorporated what these new cultures had in the way of philosophy, science, industry as long as it aligned with the tenets of the faith and this propelled civilization to great heights during the 800 years of the golden age of Islam, as it has been called. It was on the shoulders of this Giant that the new world benefited from greatly in its formation. However, this time, the diversity came to the new land rather than diversification coming to it. Growth and prosperity seemed to follow diversity wherever it appeared.
However as of late, there seems to be a push toward conformity, purity, and indistinguishability. The unfortunate by-product of such an idea is that of oppression and, I don’t want to say ethnic-cleansing as that is to narrow a view, but rather a difference-cleansing. Anyone that is different needs to be removed from society and expunged from history. And whether this is coming from here in the West or from the East, it is a corruption and the very antithesis of not only diversity but Creation itself.
Just look out into the natural world and count the number different types of trees, fish, mammals, insects, or anything else for that matter. The beauty of this is that every one of those different entities have a role to play in the grand scheme of the the universe. Diversity is the hallmark of all of Creation. In a scared tradition or hadith qudsi from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, the Prophet said “When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: My mercy prevails over my wrath”.
This being the case and the fact that we can see an incredibly diverse universe should be self-evident that diversity is Mercy. Why anyone would want to remove oneself from the Mercy of God is beyond me.
Unity, true unity, comes from within through the recognition that we are all the same and that we can be in concert with the rest of Creation unified in the glorification of The One who made us all.
In that we will find beauty, peace and a Mercy from the Most Merciful will pervade us all and we will exhibit that to each other.
Till Tomorrow, Peace.