“O mankind! Be conscious of your Lord, who has created you from one soul (Adam), and out of it created its mate (Eve), and out of the two spread many men and women. And remain conscious of God, in whose name you demand [your rights] from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, God is ever watchful over you!” (Quran 4:1)
God addresses entire humanity and asks them to be conscious of Him, to be aware of His presence. God reminds people of a forgotten reality: their earthly origins. All human beings have One God, their Creator, one father – Adam – and one mother, Eve. The plight of modernity could begin to heal if human beings remember their origins.
Human beings did not appear on this earth by their own will. Rather, someone else willed that human beings inhabit earth. Someone else willed their existence and prepared the earth and sun in perfect balance to make life possible. If people were to recall this simple fact, they would proceed in the right direction. The One who willed human existence has perfect knowledge of humanity and their strengths and their weaknesses. If humans recognized this, they would obey the One they owe their existence to.
Just like human beings have come into existence by the will of the One, human beings also trace back to the same parents. If people were to realize this, racism, ethnic superiority, and exploitation would end. Siblings would stop fighting and taking each other’s life. Siblings would realize their common Creator and be conscious of Him, and give their “kin” their due rights. Human beings would not divide themselves into casts and classes. Human beings would not let race, skin color, or national origin determine superiority.
If human beings were to realize that another soul was created from the original single soul to be its mate and to spread both men and women throughout the world, they would respect women more. Women would not have to go through centuries of oppression, and their humanity would not have been denied for centuries. Unfortunately, when human beings tried to correct one wrong, they fell into another one. They forgot that a soul was created for a soul, that a woman makes a man complete. Men and women are not engaged in an eternal battle of genders; rather, they have been created to complement and complete each other.
God lays out the social fabric of human society, which lies in the family. God could have created multiple families instead of Adam and Eve in the beginning, but He chose to create Adam and Eve, and spread humanity from their seed. Islamic ethics considers the family to be the natural basis and cornerstone of a moral society. A family consists of a human couple and their (legal) children where both the man and woman have each essential roles to play in keeping the family happy and intact.
In the latter portion of the verse is a reminder to be conscious of God, to do what is right and to stay away from wrongdoing in whose Name people take oaths, swear allegiances, and ask favors.
Lastly, the verse ends with a reminder that God is ever watchful over everything, big or small; nothing escapes His knowledge and sight. The knowledge that God is watching helps one be conscious of Him.