A Question on Racism

[A reader made the following inquiry.]

Q. Please share with me Qur’an and Hadith verses and authoritative Islamic Commentary on Race/Racism, etc. (via .pdf or otherwise) demarcative of the limit beyond which The Deity requires absolutely no thought or action greater than mere disagreement with the clearest of wrongdoing in one’s own heart.

A. From the Qur’an:

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know.” (30:22)

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (49:13)

From the hadith:

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.” Farewell Pilgrimage Sermon

“Whosoever of you sees wrongdoing, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so [i.e., lacks the power], then [let criticize it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then he should detest it in his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

Finally, I commend this narrative: http://racisminislam.com/racist-statements-unacceptable.html.:

The Prophet (saws) used to talk to his companions, joke with them, and listen to their needs. He would correct any errors he saw them doing, especially when they were racial mistakes. Abu Hurairah said:
“Two people swore at each other once, and one of them insulted the other by ridiculing his mother. This reached the Prophet (saws), and he called the man and said: ‘Did you scoff at his mother?’ and he kept repeating it. The man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (swt), ask Allah (swt) to forgive me.’ He said to him: ‘Raise your head and look about, you are not better than any individual regardless whether he is of a red or black skin color. No one is better than the other except through piety.’” (Ibn Rahawaih)

The Prophet (saws) would not stand for another to make fun of anyone else in his presence. Once, while his Companions got together in a gathering and the Prophet s had yet to come, Khalid B. Al-Walid, Abdurrahmann B. Auf, Bilal B. Abi Rabah, and Abu Dharr were among those in attendance. The only dark skinned companion present was Bilal the Abyssinian. Abu Dharr began speaking, and Bilal corrected him. Abu Dharr exclaimed out of anger, “Even you, O son of a black woman, try to correct me?”

Bilal got up, visibly upset at what was said, and said: “By Allah (swt), I will report you to the Prophet.” He went to him and informed him of what was said and the Prophet (saws) became very angry.

Abu Dharr rushed to meet the Prophet (saws) and said “Peace be upon you, O Prophet of Allah (swt).” He continued, “I am not sure if he responded to my greeting due to his extreme anger.” Then he said: “O Abu Dharr! Have you ridiculed him on account of his mother? Indeed you are a man in whom there remain traits of the pre-Islamic era!” Abu Dharr wept and said: “O Messenger of Allah (swt), ask Allah  (swt) to forgive me.” He left the Masjid weeping and when he saw Bilal, he put his head on the ground and said to Bilal, “O Bilal, I will not move from my position till you put your foot on my head. You are the honorable and I am the disgraced.” Bilal wept, and kissed the cheek of Abu Dharr and said: “A face that has prostrated to Allah  (swt) is not to be stepped on—rather, it is to be kissed.” (Bukhari)

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

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