Discrimination refers to the act of distinguishing one subject from another However, in modern usage, the term refers to “wrongful discrimination,” or distinguishing among people on the basis of prejudice instead of the basis of prejudice of individual merit. In psychology, it is the ability to perceive and respond to differences among stimuli .It is considered a more advanced form of learning than generalization, the ability to perceive similarities, although animals can be trained to discriminate as well as to generalize.
Discrimination is a very strange and problematic activity in our contemporary society. Many a times, I have interacted with my colleagues from different schools of thoughts regarding the same issue and have complained about the same. Our great religion, Islam, is against all forms of racism and bigotry, on the basis of both revelation and reason. Racism is defined as the belief that one ethnicity is superior to another, or one color of skin is superior to another, or the people of one region or superior to another it is a type of prejudice, to prejudge demographic of people based upon their benign and arbitrary physical characteristics.
Such repugnant beliefs are the traits of pre-Islamic ignorance (al-jahiliyyah; rather, in Islam, we believe all people are born equal in the sight of Allah and the only characteristics that makes someone superior to another is righteousness (al-taqwah). Allah has dignified the children of Adam all human beings in the world, with blessed provisions such as reason, intelligence, and empathy.“Respect and honor all human beings irrespective of their religion color, race, sex, language, status, property, birth, profession/jo and so on”(Al-Isra,17:70).
Gender inequality, a topical issue is genetically ascribed to religion whereas its causes are purely non-religious. It originates from political, economic, social and cultural factor. As for Islam, gender equality is part of its jurisprudence and fundamental teachings. Indeed, the various languages, colors and castes of human beings, are the sign of Allah’s majesty and a beautiful lesson for us to learn about humility and equality among other things .“Mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into tribes and nations that you may know each other.” (Al-Hujurat, 49:13)
Numerous verses of the Holy Quran and Prophetic traditions enjoin gender equality which categorically proves that gender inequality is not faithbased: “O Mankind! Fear your lord who (initiated) your creation from a single soul, then from it creates it’s mate, and from these who spread (the creation of) countless men and women” [throughout the earth] ( Al-Nisa, 4:1)
However, despite religious injunctions and edicts, day by day, discrimination has become one of the severe and alarming issues of our society. It is our duty and responsibility that we must take initiatives and pains regarding the same; otherwise it would be very hard for our coming generation to survive their lives especially for the families of vulnerable classes and minorities of our society because they are suffering a by different means.
Meanwhile society has petrified in such a way when someone is looking for marriage , we and our family enquires first his or her caste, color, profession, property, income and so on instead of his or her moral education. People are being labeled by their jobs, profession and wages. Sometimes, some egotistical elements of our society use these thin classes for their political purposes and don’t care and even cannot feel their feelings and pains. They use us just for vote bank and nothing more.
I would like to convey a personal message to society: please, for God’s sake, don’t pay heed to so called contractors and representatives of our society . They only use us for their own political purposes by dividing us into various sects. These cynical operators pretend to have sympathy with us but, in reality, they are contractors of humanity who use everyone for their own political purposes.
I have seen and interacted with a couple of families of vulnerable classes of our society that are performing and have tremendous potential. But, the mind set and behavior of our society towards them functions as a barrier which does not allow these classes to realize their potential. Another big issue is “prejudice” means to pre-judge. In simple words, we can say that, “Discrimination is putting your prejudice into action” and we are becoming judgmental to judge a person from their past life which also affects peoples’ lives by different ways. To avoid such an activity, Hazrat Ali (AS) has said “Don’t judge a person by his past”. Verily, discrimination creates a gap between each other which results into hatred and barriers against each other.
No doubt discrimination can ruin and scar lives. It is time that we stop it!
—The author, a Government employee, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org