Martin Luther King Jr. was a social activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement. Through harmonious protest, King fought for equality of African Americans who were economically disadvantaged and victims of injustice in the mid-1950s. He is commemorated each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as it is a U.S. federal holiday. This holiday provides Muslims an exceptional chance to resonate upon Islam’s golden principles of equality which were established fourteen hundred years ago.
Islam declares equality among people. God states in the Holy Qur’an, “O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious. Truly, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware” (49:13). The verse explains that Islam respects a human for being a human and does not differentiate on the basis of status, wealth, color, or race.
In Islam, the principles of equality are so crucial that this was part of the final speech of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). For Muslims these final words in the Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are the most inspiring and intense to be found in history. In this sermon he said: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.” After thousands of year, the content of this message is still powerful. It teaches us uniformity, fairness and equality.
I hope this year when we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we give precedence to the universal principle of equality of all human beings.