I always find it unfortunate when others make it their aim to impose on you, how you should behave, act, and then use their standards to define you. What is even more disappointing is when the talk begins, in other words slander – because you are unwilling to confine to their tight box, even when we preach diversity, tolerance, equality, and the right to be true to yourself.
We should advise, we should hold on to our values, but to impose your views and then to begin a mission to cut all others who differ with you is troublesome and harmful to our overall society.
It is moments like this when we must seek solace in Allah ‘azza wa jal who praises diversity.
While describing many of Allah’s signs for mankind, the Qur’an states, "And of His signs is… the diversity of your [mankind’s] languages and your colours. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge" [30:22]. The Qur’an elaborates further in another chapter, saying, “O mankind, we have created you… into nations and tribes that you may come to know one another [and not deny one another]” [49:13]
In our Islamic history we have characters who are different to each other, you have ‘Umar bin Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was known to be firm and he took a harsh approach on certain manners in the love of upholding justice. On the other hand, we have Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) who was known to be soft in nature, and then we have ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) who was known to be shy. We have Bilal bin Rabi’ah, who in our times would be seen as the working class, perhaps even the homeless who was trying to get on his feet – but still, when it came to him, the believers changed their whole perception of him regardless of his ethnicity, work ethic, language, and how he carried himself – they respected him, because he was a human being and their faith built a bond which became unbreakable as long as they appreciated each other.
It was their faith which bred tolerance, because of the harsh warnings against slander, backbiting, violence, and breaking communities.
Each of these mighty characters within Islamic history are known, loved, cherished, but they were extremely different. What bought them together was one goal – it was the bond which kept them together.
And may Allah, our Creator revive this level of tolerance within us, and give us an understanding of these core concepts which were legislated for the sake of harmony, aameen.