​Freedom and Equality in Islam 

In islam, questioning is greatly encouraged. We have an example from the early history of Islam. When Umar Faruq was caliph, he once delivered a speech. Then he asked if anyone in the audience had a question. Umar was a very tall person, so his shirt was also very long. A person from the audience demanded an explanation as to how Umar was able to make such a long shirt: from where he got so much cloth? Umar said that his son Abdullah would answer the question. Abdullah explained that he gave some cloth to his father as he could not make a shirt from the cloth available to him. This shows that there was a lot of freedom for people to even question the caliph, leader of a great empire. There was an open environment for questioning at that time. This incident also points out to the equality that existed between people. Moreover, the caliph did not censure the person for such a question, indicating that there was no concept of superiority or inferiority. People at that time lived in an environment of openness, which is basic for intellectual development. MK Gandhi has said: ‘Abu Bakr and Umar were masters of a vast empire, but they lived as paupers.’
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan


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