People are different in many aspects including color, race, sex, etc. This is an undeniable fact that can be easily noticed by naked eye and no one can argue otherwise. As Islam is a religion that goes in line with natural disposition, it admits this fact. It is clearly stated in the Qur’an (11:118) that Allah willed this diversity and had He, Glory be to Him, willed otherwise, He would have created all mankind one nation, i.e. identical in race, color, sex, etc.
Accordingly, difference among human beings is something that Islam admits. The very acknowledgement of this fact has some implications from Islamic perspective. First, Allah, Glory be to Him, does not permit anyone to coerce another to follow Islam. He, Glory be to Him, says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Quran, 2:256). The mission of Muslims is only to convey to others the pure and true teachings of Islam and its divine essence. Having being informed of the true message of Islam, people are free either to accept or refuse it, so long as they are well acquainted with the consequences of their choices.
The second implication of the Islamic acknowledgement of difference among human beings is that people’s rights should be preserved. No one is allowed to violate the life or property of another for religious reasons. Followers of other religions should have the same rights Muslims enjoy, and holding them accountable for denying Allah or disbelieving in Him is a sole right to the Almighty Allah alone.
The third implication is that although we are different from each other, which leads by necessity to the existence of different communities and nations, there should not be any kind of superiority of a community or a nation over another. Superiority in Islam is only for those who establish God’s order and try their best to achieve prosperity on earth. This meaning is reinforced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as he said, in his Last Sermon, “There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; or for white over the black or for the black over the white except in piety. Verily the noblest among you is he/she who is the most pious.”
The purpose of being created different is to seek to know one another and cooperate with each other. Allah stated it clearly in the Qur’an, “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another." (Qur’an 49:13) The Arabic term for “that you may know one another” is “li ta‘ārafū”. In the broader sense, this term may be interpreted as ‘you are created different and divergent so that you may coexist with each other and hold dialogue among yourselves about your different religions and cultures in order to promote prosperity and welfare on earth.
In essence, our diversity is meant to be a way for making matters easy for us, to let us complete each other, to cooperate with each other, and to lead prosperous lives. Therefore, we should make use of this privilege to the best of the whole humanity, and not to make it a pretext to destroy one another and spread chaos on earth.