“different tribes”

Today, I’m thankful for the “different tribes.”

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

Thanks to the differences between the tribes, we have all the different languages and cultural customs, we drive on different sides of the road, we can wear suits, thobes, and lungis, and we can enjoy sausage, schnitzel, kefta, kebab, and hambagu.

Life would be so boring if we were all the same.I know difference can be scary: witness all the conflict between people, everything from little internet spats to armed conflict between nation states. But God—in Islam, we call Him “Allah” but don’t let that distract you: there is only one God—made us different tribes so that we could get to know each other, not as a basis for conflict or distrust. Trust His wisdom.

And on top of that, the best of us are the most righteous, and God gets to measure, not you or I.

Anyway, today, I’m thankful for the different tribes. I’m a better person, in part, because I’ve been blessed with exposure to many different people and cultures, and I look forward to meeting and knowing more. I’m at my worst when I assume things about people or cultures, and at my best when I accept difference as beautiful in and of itself, and work to find ways to get along.

May Allah forgive me and grant me patience and understanding, and may He open my doors, as Mufti Menk would say.

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