By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com
Allah says in the Quran, Surat Al-Maaidah (5:48):
To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.
The differences between us, differences of religion, ethnicity and nationality, are a test and a blessing. They are a part of Allah’s plan. If He had willed it, He could have made us all one single Ummah, with no disagreements and no variations, homogeneous like a field of grass, all blending together so that the eye could rest on any one person and he would look no different from any other. Allah could have made us all with the same language, same faces, eyes and hair, same customs and traditions, same cuisines, same art and architecture… But that doesn’t sound like a very interesting or exciting world, does it?
The religious differences among us are a test. The other differences are blessings.
Never let the vast variety of human tongues and traditions become a source of hostility, suspicion or despair. Never let the physical distances between us become a source of frustration. Be grateful for the beauty of a Tibetan monastery high in the Himalayas, or the tang of Thai curry, or the beating of the drum at an Indonesian wedding, or the great variety of cultures found in your own hometown. Be glad for the opportunity to be exposed to something different, and to let your mind open like a flower.
If the differences between people present a challenge, then welcome the challenge; Allah has given you that challenge for a reason, so look for the opportunity to learn. It is there.