(O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female…) [49:13].
Said Ibn 'Abbas: “This was revealed about Thabit ibn Qays when he made a remark about the man who did not make room for him to sit: 'What, the son of so-and-so [referring to his mother]'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: 'Who mentioned that woman?' Thabit stood up and said: 'I did, O Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger said to him: 'Look at the faces of those present'. And when he looked, he asked him: 'What do you see?' He said: 'I see white, red and black people'. The Prophet said: 'Well, you are not better than any of them unless it be through [the good practice of] religion and God-fearingness'. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse”.
Muqatil said: “On the day Mecca was conquered, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, ordered Bilal to climb on the roof of the Ka'bah and perform the call to prayer. 'Attab ibn Asid commented on this: 'Praise be to Allah, that Allah has taken my father to Him and made that he did not see this day'. Al-Harith ibn Hisham said: 'Did Muhammad not find any other caller to prayer except this black raven?' Suhayl ibn 'Amr said: 'Allah willing, he will change him'. Abu Sufyan, on the other hand, said: 'I am not going to make any comment; I am afraid that the Lord of heaven will divulge what I say!' Gabriel, peace be upon him, went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and informed him about what they said. The Prophet summoned them and asked them about what they said and they admitted it. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse warning them against boasting about their lineages and abundance of wealth and against looking down on the poor”.
Abu Hassan al-Muzakki informed us> Harun ibn Muhammad al-Istrabadhi> Abu Muhammad Ishaq ibn Muhammad al-Khuza'i> Abu'l-Walid al-Azraqi> his grandfather> 'Abd al-Jabbar ibn al-Ward al-Makki> Ibn Abi Mulaykah who said: “On the day Mecca was conquered, Bilal climbed on the roof of the Ka'bah and performed the call to prayer. One person said: 'O servants of Allah! How can this black slave be allowed to perform the call to prayer on top of the Ka'bah?' Another man said: 'If Allah is displeased, He will change him'. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse (O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female)”.
Yazid ibn Shajarah said: “One day, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, passed by some of the marketplaces of Medina and saw a black slave standing while his seller was crying: 'This is for sale for whoever wants to offer more!' The slave kept repeating: 'I have a condition for whoever wants to buy me'. He was asked: 'What is your condition?' He said: 'He should not stop me from performing the five prescribed prayers behind the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace'. A man bought him on this condition. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, saw him at each prescribed prayer until he failed to see him one day. He asked his owner: 'Where is the slave boy?' He said: 'He has fever, O Messenger of Allah!' The Prophet said to his Companions: 'Let us go and visit him'. They went and visited him. After a few days, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, asked his owner: 'How is the slave boy?' The man said: 'O Messenger of Allah, the boy's lips have turned dark'. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, went and entered in on the boy. He found him feverish and he died in that state. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, took charge of his washing, shrouding and burial. His Companions were horrified and became greatly disturbed. The Emigrants said: 'We have left our homes, wealth and family, but none of us has seen in his life, sickness or death what this slave boy has'. The Helpers said: 'We have received him in our homes, helped him and consoled him with our riches but he preferred this Abyssinian slave over us'. Allah, glorious and majestic is He, then revealed this verse (O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female), i.e. you are the children of one father and one mother, and He showed them the merit of God-fearingness by His words (Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah…)”.
Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi , trans. Mokrane Guezzou