In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
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.(49:13)
That is, I created you as peoples, nations, and tribes, so that you might know one another and the relations between you in social life, and assist one another; not so that you would regard each other as strangers, refuse to acknowledge one another, and nurture hostility and enmity.
Since the elevated truth stated by the above verse concerns the life of society, I have been compelled to write it in the tongue, not of the New Said, who wants to withdraw from society, but of the Old Said, who was involved in the social life of Islam. It is written intending to serve the Qur’an of Mighty Stature and to shield it against unjust attacks.
In explanation of the principle of mutual acquaintance and assistance alluded to by the above verse, we say this: an army is divided into divisions, the divisions into regiments, the regiments into battalions, and companies, and squads, so that all the soldiers may know their many different connections and related duties. In this way, they all will perform properly a general duty in accordance with the principle of mutual assistance, and the collectivity they form will be safe from the attacks of the enemy. The army is not arranged thus to be divided and split up, with one company competing with another, one battalion being hostile to another, and one division acting in opposition to another.
Similarly, Islamic society as a whole is a huge army that is divided into tribes and groups. Nevertheless, it has unity in numerous respects: its groups’ Creator is one and the same, their Provider is one and the same, their Prophet is one and the same, their qibla is one and the same, their Book is one and the same, their country is one and the same; a thousand things are one and the same.