Universality and Equality
The principle of equality in dealing with people of different colors, socioeconomic status and cultures is absent from the dominant ideologies of today's world.
Indian society has suffered from a rigidly applied caste system for many centuries: some people are looked at as gods (avatars), while others are treated little better than slaves.
Although Christianity has seldom been applied as a system for living, it contains, among its contemporary teachings doctrines that can be viewed as discriminatory. The Talmud (the basis of contemporary Judaism) considers the Jews to be privileged over all other people (the Gentiles).
The list could be expanded to include the communist slogan of equality-all people are equal- then never practiced, which, in reality, means that some are more equal than others. Capitalism, as applied in several Western societies, isThe communist slogan of equality-all people are equal- never practiced, which, in reality, means that some are more equal than others. Capitalism, as applied in several Western societies, is not geared theoretically to establishing equality, since it encourages division between the rich and the poor. Socialism, which in theory is supposed to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism and communism, successfully highlighted the inherent weakness of communism and capitalism.
not geared theoretically to establishing equality, since it encourages division between the rich and the poor. Socialism, which in theory is supposed to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism and communism, successfully highlighted the inherent weakness of communism and capitalism. Yet, could not prove itself as a more viable alternative.
Of all the existing ideological systems, only Islam remains the only option that appeals to all because it respects the rights of all people and regards all humans as members of one nation living under God (Allah), in peace and harmony, in spite of their many differences. Historical and contemporary evidence stand as witness to the non-negotiable Islamic equality.
1. CHRISTIANITY AND EQUALITY
In this section, I will examine some of the teachings of Christianity in order to determine if such views could appeal to all people regardless of their differences
To be objective, reference will be made to the book of Christianity, The Bible, to document whether the message of Christ (pbuh) was for the world or limited in time and space to his people, the Isra- elites. Hence, it does not have a universal appeal.
According to Matthew, the message Jesus (pbuh) re- ceived was limited to one nation.
Jesus (pbuh) stated clearly in his instructions to his disciples that they were not to spread the message beyond the tribes of Israel.
Go not into the way of the gentiles, and into any town of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel .....(Matthew 10:5, 6)
Another incident narrated about Jesus (pbuh) further illustrates the point in question:
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon's possession. Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, send her away, for she keeps crying out after us. He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. The woman came and knelt before him. Lord, help me! she said. He replied, it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.(Matthew 15: 21 - 26).
In these biblical excerpts, Jesus (pbuh) has clearly stated that his message was to be spread among the people of Israel only and, not to the people of all nations.
However, as a Muslim who believes that Jesus Christ (pbuh) was a great Messenger of Allah, I am convinced that Jesus never said the underlined quote from the Bible (Matthew 15:26).
Hill and Cheadle (1996) mentioned that colored people have been mistreated through out the history of people of European descendants. "Western European tradition has generally segregated blacks and throughout history, moving their roles and contributions into the background or omitting them completely"
Though the prophets of God can never preach hatred or discriminations, the continuous additions to the Bible by different groups to manipulate its teachings for their own interests, some passages denote discriminatory sense.
And Mariam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman (Numbers 12:1).
Such excerpts from the Old Testament might explain the discriminatory treatment against the Jews of an African origin in the State of Israel. The feeling of discrimination among the African Christian American led to the reactionary feeling of some predominantAfro-American Clergy. On Good Friday, 1993, Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, Jr. of Washington D.C., burned an image of a white Jesus in the street as he proclaimed its "historical inaccuracy": "Jesus was an 'Afro-Asiatic Jew'."9 To realize the extent the level of racism in the world's most pow- erful country, there are around 327 white supremacy groups in the U.S.
2. THE JEWISH POSITION TOWARDS OTHER NATIONS.
As we will see in this sec- tion, the true unashamedly dis- criminatory nature of Judaism means that it cannot be nomi- nated as a universal system for all humankind to follow. Despite its nature or perhaps even be- cause of it- the Jewish lobby is very powerful and plays a very effective role in shaping US for- eign policy; especially those in Israel's interest.
The Jewish book of guid- ance, the Talmud, the preemi- nent authority for the Jews,11 ranks them above all other people. Jews are considered to be the chosen people of God. They are supreme, and the mul- titude gentile (non-Jewish) sur- rounding them are considered unclean and sub-humans.
The reason that Jews claim selected by God and the gentiles as unclean is that the Jews were present at Mt. Sinai, but gentiles were not.
When the serpent came into Eve he infused filthy lust into her.... When Israel stood in Sinai that lust was eliminated, but the lust of idolaters, who did not stand on Sinai, did not cease(Abodah Zarah 22b).
Let's look in the Zohar, where the Jewish rabbis inter- preted the verse from Genesis: "Now the serpent is more subtle than any beast of the field". Their interpretation is:
More subtle that is towards evil; than all the beasts, that is, the idolatrous people of the earth. For they are the children of the ancient serpent which seduced Eve.(Zohar 1: 28b)
As a matter of fact, non-Jews (gentiles), whether Chris- tians, Buddhists or Hindus are not considered equal to the Jews in any way; the Jewish doctrine regards them as if they were non-humans. The following excerpt from the Tal- mud would make any one puzzle over the way they dispar- age other people:
A gentile Ö is not a neighbor in the sense of reciprocating and being responsible for damages caused by his negligence; nor does he watch over his cattle. Even the best gentile laws were too crude to admit of reciprocity.(Bek. 13b)
See how this conflicts with the true sense of justice in the Qur'an:
O ye who believe! Stand out firmly forAllah, witness in justice, and let not the hatred of others make you depart from justice. Be just: That is nearer to piety. And fear Allah, forAllah is well-acquainted with all that you do.(Qur'an 5: 8)
Christians and other non-Jews (called heathens in the Talmud) were not exempted from the hatred and the dis- trust of Jews:
Where a suit arises between an Israelite and a heathen, if you can satisfy the former according to the laws of Israel, justify him and say: This is our law; so also if you can justify him by the law of the heathens justify him and say (to the other party): This is your law; but if this can't be done, we use subterfuges to circumvent them.(Baba Kama 113 a)
The Jewish Encyclopedia summarizes opinions of the sages about this law by stating:
The Mishnah... declares that if a gentile sues an Israelite, the verdict is for the defendant; if the Israelite is the plaintiff, he obtains full damages.