Racism in Islam
There is no religion, system or philosophy that has campaigned for, and demonstrated, the equality between races, ethnicities and colour, the way that Islam has. The essence of Islam was to bring forth due justice and fairness amongst people, once upon a time, driven by tribalism, racism and discrimination. We must all recognise and appreciate that we all come from dust and we shall return to dust. This is our reality. There are numerous Qur`anic verses and Prophetic traditions that renounce any form of prejudice or racism based on colour, ethnicity, language etc. Hereunder, we quote some passages.
“We have certainly honoured the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided good things for them, and We favoured them over much of what We created, with decisive preference.” [17:70]
“And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are signs for people of knowledge.” [30:22]
“O mankind, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Quran 49:13)
“And He it is who has brought you all into being out of one living entity, and has appointed for each of you a time-limit on earth, and a resting-place after death. Clearly, indeed, We have spelled out these messages unto people who can grasp the truth.” [6:98]
“And among His signs is this: He creates you out of dust, and then, behold! You become human beings ranging far and wide.” [30:20]
Hadith (Prophetic words)
“O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favour of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?” [Musnad Ahmad]
“Behold! Verily, you have no virtue over one with white skin or black skin, except by favour of righteousness.” [Musnad Ahmad]
“Verily, Allah has removed from you the pride of the time of ignorance with its boasting of ancestors. Verily, one is only a righteous believer or a miserable sinner. All of the people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust. [at-Tirmidhi]
Abu Dhar RA once reproached Bilal RA about his mother, saying, “O son of a black woman!” Bilal RA proceeded to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and told him what he said. The Prophet became angry and turned his blessed face away from Abu Dharr as he came. Abu Dharr RA asked, “O Messenger of Allah, have you turned away because of something you have been told?” The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Have you reproached Bilal about his mother? By the one who revealed the Book to Muhammad, none is more virtuous over another except by righteous deeds.” [Shu’ab al-Iman]
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) – The Role Model
Some of the well-known prophets, companions of the Prophet PBUH and illustrious scholars in Islam were from different races and ethnicities. The great sahabah who were from African origin include: Bilal b. Rabah, Usamah b. Zaid, Salim (freed-slave of Abu Huzaifah), Ammar b. Yasir, Najashi*, Amir b. Fuhairah, Abu Bakrah, Wahshi, Aswad, Mihja`, Julaibeeb, Yasar, Anjashah, Mugheeth, Asla, Ayman b. Ubayd, Umm Ayman, Bareerah, Barakah, Mid`am and Abu Laqit (the above two were the freed-slaves of Prophet PBUH), Rabah (doorkeeper of Prophet (PBUH)), Zu Mihdam, Zu Dajan and Zu Manahib (the above three came from Abyssinia and accompanied the Prophet PBUH) etc. From amongst the tabi`un were Ata b. Abi Rabah, Yazid b, Abi habib, Masruh b. Saburah and Aslam (the latter two were from the freed slaves of Umar RA). The biographies of many of these companions can be found in numerous texts. The Prophet PBUH maintained equality between his companions at all times, be it a slave or a non-Arab. When entering the Ka`bah for the first time upon the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet PBUH entered the Ka`bah with Bilal ibn Rabah RA and Zaid ibn Harithah RA. They, both, were former slaves. Bilal RA, a non-Arab former slave, was appointed as a caller to salah and was honoured in ascending the ka`ban upon entry in Makkah. Umar RA would say, “Our master Abu Bakr RA set free our master Bilal.” [Bukhari] He PBUH appointed many freed slaves, such as Zaid b. Thabit RA and his son Usamah, to positions of leadership. Salim was a freed slave and the Imam, leading the likes of Umar in congregation, in Madinah; rather, Umar RA once said, “If Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhayfah, was still alive, I would have appointed him as my successor.”
What can we do?
- Seek protection from racism;
- Educate ourselves and our families about it;
- Discuss it. Acknowledge it exists. Address it. Share ideas on how to combat it.
- Condemn it. Speak against it. Challenge it.
- Report it; it is not okay to be a racist.
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Posted in General on 22nd Jul 2020 by Our Imam | 44 Views