While so many people across the world took to the streets in protest after the horrific killing of George Floyd, Jacksonville Imam, Yahya Abdullah, has been reminding other religious leaders like himself they also have a role to play in the fight for racial equality. What better way to do that than to model the behavior yourself? Week after week, Imam Yahya Abdullah has given dynamic Friday sermons where his central topic has been racial equality. He actually takes the conversation a step further by not only teaching on the need for racial equality but also the benefits of racial equality. In his last Friday sermon, he quoted from the Qur’an chapter 49 verse 13, in Arabic and the English translation of its meaning as the basis for what would be another educational and heartfelt sermon:
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). — translation of meaning (49:13) by Yusuf Ali
… so that we may know one another
In Imam Yahya’s usual style, he walked his congregation through every word of the Arabic text of the verse. One of the words or phrases he put particular emphasis on was ‘litaʿārafū.’
He reminded them chapter 7 of The Qur’an is entitled ‘Al-aʿrāf’, whose meaning is translated ‘The Heights’, and they should use this to help them understand the meaning of the phrase. With this in mind, he began to explain there were benefits to racial equality and what some of those benefits are. “It elevates the mind when you come into contact with other people from all over the globe,” he said.
- ALLAH MADE US DIFFERENT NATIONS AND TRIBES. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-Tkiy7pjjE. Last accessed: 7/4/2020.