Diversity, a sign of God’s Wisdom and Might
By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota
The following verses are from chapter 35 of the Qur’an, titled Fatir or Originator
اَلَمۡ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ اَنۡزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً ۚ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا بِهٖ ثَمَرٰتٍ مُّخۡتَلِفًا اَلۡوَانُهَاؕ وَمِنَ الۡجِبَالِ جُدَدٌۢ بِيۡضٌ وَّحُمۡرٌ مُّخۡتَلِفٌ اَلۡوَانُهَا وَغَرَابِيۡبُ سُوۡدٌ
(35:27) Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring out produce of various colours. And in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of colour, and black intense in hue.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَآبِّ وَالۡاَنۡعَامِ مُخۡتَلِفٌ اَ لۡوَانُهٗ كَذٰلِكَ ؕ اِنَّمَا يَخۡشَى اللّٰهَ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِ الۡعُلَمٰٓؤُا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَزِيۡزٌ غَفُوۡرٌ
(35:28) and human beings too, and beasts, and cattle diverse are their hues. From among His servants, it is only those who know that fear Allah. Verily Allah is Most Mighty, Most Forgiving.
The verses point to the fact that of diversity within the universe created by Allah. Diversity all around us and no homogeneity and uniformity; all shades of color and various types of creation everywhere. Diversity in the food we eat, not just in color but shape and size. Even in the mountains, are variations of colors.
Likewise with human beings and animals. You can be identical twins and still have different temperaments and dispositions, personalities, etc.,
The diversity all around us that we appreciate should teach us to recognize the diversity within us as well.
Diversity is a sign of God’s Wisdom and Might. When one ponders over the differences in human temperaments, personalities, intelligence, in particular, one will see the beauty of the creator.
This was evident during Hajj, where you were conversing with all these different cultures and ethnicities. Such depth of diversity points to a designer of a Wise Plan. I code programs at work, and I never coded a program without bugs or one that just by chance worked so well, and had this much diversity within it. And even then, the code no longer works as new information rises, as well as more programs, are written, resulting in performance problems, storage problems, and defects. A change to one system requires so many heads on board to make it run smoothly. Still, there is a post mortem to review what went wrong. One small change impacts so many systems and at times, causing some to shut down.
A small janitorial problem caused the entire Data Center to shut down.
Yet, we see all sorts of seasons and weather blending into each other, working with flawless perfection.
Hence, the more one ponders over creation, the more a person increases in awareness of the attributes of God. The reference to knowledge in this verse does not imply knowledge of academics but the knowledge of His Divine Attributes.
This is a knowledge that is coupled with the fear of God in one’s heart. One will face ethical questions with this knowledge. Knowledge is power. Some use this knowledge to abuse and torture, while others use it to nurture and benefit, like water that comes from the sky.
Abdullah bin Masud and Hassan Basri both mentioned that knowledge of God must be coupled with the fear of God.
He is the All-Mighty and can punish the wrongdoer as He wills. Yet, He is Most-Forgiving giving respite to the wrongdoers for an appointed time.
We see this in the presence of thunder and lighting, then rain from the sky, signs of fear and hope.
Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US. She has completed training in restorative justice at the University’s Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking. She was a 2008-2009 policy fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
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