All of Mankind are the Children of Adam عليه السلام and Hawwa' عليها السلام
Mufti Muhammad Shafi رحمه الله writes, commenting on the ayah,
"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair of a) male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allaah is the most righteous of you." (49:13):
"The current verse proceeds to set down the basis of an all-comprehensive and all-pervading principle of human equality. It has firmly laid the axe at the false and foolish notions of superiority, born of racial arrogance or national conceit.
All men have been created from a single male ['Adam عليه السلام] and a single female [Hawwa' (Eve) عليها السلام] as human beings. Therefore, all people are the descendants of 'Adam عليه السلام and Hawwa' عليها السلام and have been declared equal in the sight of Allah سبحانه و تعالى. No one is allowed to take pride nor to degrade others on the basis of pigment of his skin, the amount of wealth he possesses or by his rank or by his social status, descent or pedigree, but by his moral uprightness and the way he discharges his obligations to Allah سبحانه و تعالى and man. The entire human race is but one family. Division into nations, tribes and sub-tribes of all sizes, and races is meant only to give a better identification of one another."
Circumstances of Revelation
This verse was revealed on the occasion of the conquest of Makkah. When it was time for prayer, the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked Sayyidna Bilal رضي الله عنه to call the adhan.
One of the pagan Quraish cynically remarked: 'Thank God that my father died before this happened, and he did not have to see this bad day.' Harith Ibn Hisham remarked: 'Could Muhammad not find anyone better than this black crow to sound the adhan in the Sacred Mosque!' Abu Sufyan رضي الله عنه said: 'I do not wish to utter anything for fear that the master of the heavens will inform him.'
Thus Jibra'il عليه السلام came down and informed the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم about this conversation. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم called them and asked them about it. They admitted. At this, the current verse was revealed.
Taqwa of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is the Basis of Honour
This verse made it plain that human beings can earn honour on account of their faith and righteousness. The immediate application of the verse was to Sayyidna Bilal رضي الله عنه, and therefore the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said to those people: "You are empty (i.e. you have no moral leg to stand on.) Sayyidna Bilal رضي الله عنه, on the other hand, is equipped (with high moral qualities); and he is better and more honourable than any of you." [Baghawi, as cited in Mazhari].
Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas رضي الله عنهما says: 'For people "honour" lies in wealth, whilst in the sight of Allah سبحTانه و تعالى it lies in righteousness.'
Analysis of Important Words in the Verse
The word Shu'ub is the plural of Sha'b which refers to a large group of persons of the same origin, (like a nation). Then it consists of clans and tribes.
The largest group in this arrangement is called sa'b, and the smallest is called 'ashirah. Abu Ruwaq رحمه الله says that the words Shu'ub and Sha'b refer to non-Arab nations whose lineage is not preserved, whilst qabail refers to Arabs whose lineage is well-preserved. The word asbat is used to refer to the children of Israel.
Lineal, National and Linguistic Division of Mankind: The Underlying Divine Wisdom is Identification
The Qur'an in this verse has made it clear that Allah has created all mankind from a single mother and a single father, and made them into a single brotherhood. But he has divided them into different tribes, nations, races, lineage and language-speakers/linguistic groups. The underlying Divine wisdom in such a division is mutual identification.
For example, if there are two persons bearing the same name, they could be differentiated by family name. It can also show the near and remote relations. Their Shar'i rights can be fulfilled on the basis of near and distant lineage. It is incumbent to determine the near and remote agnate heirs when applying the law of succession or dividing the estate of a deceased. In short, reference to one's lineage for the purpose of identification is not deemed to be pride and conceit.