The ultimate goal of social teachings of Islam is to train its followers in a way that they are able to attract others to the fold of Islam. Thus, Islam wants that all those social barriers be removed that divide humans into such groups and classes as might engage in mutual hostility and unhealthy rivalry. The Quran in this regard say:
“O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other); verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most pious of you; and Allah has full knowledge, and is well acquainted.” (49:13)
The Quran, therefore, declares the whole mankind a single family on the basis of common parentage.
The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ for the same reason instructed the Muslims to act upon this Quranic commandment by saying:
“Give food and greeting to those you know, and those you do not know.”
It is to be noted that the Islamic mode of greeting is unique in the way that it is a direct supplication by the one who offers it, and the recipient, in turn, reciprocates in the same way. The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ himself was in the habit of taking initiative in extending greetings to others. He also set several examples of showing kindness and cordiality towards his guests, especially those who happened to be strangers.
Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ had, in this regard, exclusively reserved a portion of the Mosque at Medina, the Porch or Suffah, where strangers were accommodated quite comfortably. He used to encourage his Companions to donate generously for the maintenance of the Suffah. As a result of this, many notable Companions were taken care of, the most glaring example being Abu Hurairah RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the greatest name in the Hadith literature.
Soon after the Hijra, the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ established the matchless institute of the Mawakhat (universal brotherhood between the Muhajireen and the Ansar) based on common faith, regardless of one’s nativity or nationality. This wonderful mission was accomplished in line with the Quranic injunction that states:
“The Believers are a single brotherhood, so make peace between your two contending brothers.” (49:10)
Then in order to set an example, the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ declared ‘Ali RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu as his brother. The institution of Mawakhat proved to be the strongest binding force for the unity of the Muslim Ummah. Faith alone was declared sufficient to unify strangers in the bond of fraternity. The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ in this regard instructed:
“O servants of God! be brothers.”
This again illustrates that mere service of God (true submission before His will) is sufficient to bring strangers closer to each other.
Finally, Islamic education stresses adopting such ways and manners as can attract all to Islam as well as towards each other. In this regard, a polite tone and a cordial way of addressing others is an effective means of demonstrating this spirit of Islam. The Quran, therefore, enjoins the Muslims to speak to all in a kind way:
“And speak kindly to mankind.” (al-Baqarah 2:83)