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The Stance of Islam on Racism
Mohamed Helal 334

The Stance of Islam on Racism

What is the stance of Islam on racism prevalent in some civilizations?[1]

     During this century, the German leader Hitler came to the fore, claiming that the Arian race is more highly elevated than other races and that the German people, by nature, outwit other Semitic peoples--the Jews, the Arabs and the like. Such a claim has turned into an ideology that supports the desire for pride and hegemony on the part of the Germans and their equals.

     What a meaningless superstitious thought is this! Nevertheless, this thought is graven not only in the minds of the Germans, but also in the minds of the Europeans and the white army members in general.

     As far as creation is concerned, all Adam’s children are equal as they were brought into being by the Almighty Allah’s Spirit that he breathed in the dust of the earth. So, all humans have one common origin and one lineage. Allah, the Almighty, explains this fact in the Qur’ān stating that Allah is the One,

“who gave everything its perfect form. He first created man from clay; then made his descendants from an extract of underrated fluid (semen). Then He moulded him and breathed from His Spirit into him; thus, He gave you hearing, sight, and minds. How seldom you are grateful!” (32: 7 – 9).

     There is no difference whether people’s complexion is white, black, yellow, or red as these colors resemble the different roses and flowers seen by eyes and do not refer to superiority or inferiority.

     However, many people seem happy with fabricating these differences and being fanatic about them. They also deem that such differences have special bearing on their preference, underestimation, approval or disapproval.

     I saw many people who adhere to these illusions of differences as they undeservedly grant them much honor and give them precedence over other strenuous people. Strangely enough, someone considers oneself a master only because s/he belongs to a certain race and thus thinks that other people were created from despised semen while s/he was created from honorable semen.

     With all due respect for genetics, it is clear that genes do not bring greatness or inherently achieve success, as some Prophets’ own fathers were disbelievers and some wicked persons’ fathers were Prophets. Abu At-Tayyib Al-Mutanabby was an outstanding poet of great genius while his father did not know anything about poetry or prose. Likewise, Abu Al-‛Alāˀ was a pessimistic philosopher while his father did not know anything about philosophy.

     The sources of genetic origins are obscure among the children of the one and same generation, not to mention different generations. We all may know the joke of the beautiful woman who wanted to marry an ugly genius man to beget a son, inheriting her beauty and his genius. He told her, “I fear that he may inherit your stupidity and my ugliness”[2].

     Thinking that a particular race is intrinsically intelligent or stupid because of its creation origin is an apparently fake claim since environment conditions make wonders, and may develop or kill talents. Moreover, they may also revive or kill the human instinct.

     The white race in the west and north Europe, that now imposes its guardianship and hegemony over the whole world, was once known of its stupidity and deterioration for a long period of time. In my book, entitled ‘With Allah’’, I quoted a passage from the speech of the orientalist Philip Hitty who dwelled on the civilizational precedence of the advanced Andalusian Arabs over the backward Europeans. At the time when Oxford University thought that having showers is a pagan habit, generations of Cordova scientists were having showers in top-notch institutions. Our Arab ancestors called Europe inhabitants ‘the Barbarians of the North’. Their idea about them is echoed by the scholar of Tolaitola, the Judge Sa‛īd (died in 1070), who describes Europeans, saying, “Due to the fact that the sun is very far away from the pores of their heads, their air became cold and their faces were revealed. So, their mood became cold, their blood congealed, their color white, their bodies fat, and their hair grew long. They lost their wits and shrewdness. Moreover, ignorance, dullness, blindness and stupidity became prevalent among them”.

     Have you not seen this description of the people of Europe who are leading the world today? It is not a description of the Indians, Negroes, Arabs or the rest of the third world people.

     The world today looks at the Arabs' defeats at the hands of the Jews and sarcastically laughs as the ancestors of those who were defeated used to despise and disown the Jewish cowardliness. They also said to their Prophet in their first fight with the pagans, “We will not say to you as the Children of Israel said to Moses: ‘Go with your Lord to fight, and we sit here (and watch)’, but rather say, ‘We will fight with you. If you cross this sea, we will cross it with you and no one of us will retreat’”.

     Islam has shown that individuals and races themselves determine how victorious their days will be. They are in an open contest in which everyone could attain advancement or backwardness according to their exerted efforts, regardless of their colors or races. Allah says in the Qur’ān,

“It is one of the mightiest things--a warning to all mortals, to those of you who choose to go ahead and those who lag behind.” (Qur’ān, 74: 35-37)

     A black person may precede the others in the present life and the Hereafter and it might be the other way round. Likewise, the scale of a balance of a person from the public may be of greater weight than that of a Prophet's descendant and it might be the other way round. The Qur’ān says,

“On that Day the weighing of deeds will be true and just: those whose good deeds are heavy on the scales will be the ones to prosper, and those whose good deeds are light will be the ones who have lost their souls through their wrongful rejection of Our messages.” (Qur’ān, 7: 8-9)

     It is reported in the Sunnah that Prophet Muḩammad (pbuh) warned his companions, “Do not come to me taking pride in your lineages, whereas people come to me taking pride in their feats”. He also says, “Whoever is hindered because of his bad deeds, his lineage will be of no avail to him”. These Prophetic traditions are in line with some Qur’ānic verses that are to this effect. Allah says,

“On the Day when the Trumpet is blown, the ties between them will be as nothing and they will not ask about each other: those whose good deeds weigh heavy will be successful, but those whose balance is light will have lost their souls forever and will stay in Hell”. (Qur’ān, 23: 101 - 103)

The Almighty Allah also says,

“Everyone will be ranked according to their deeds and Allah will repay them in full for what they have done: they will not be wronged.” (Qur’ān, 46: 19)

     Islam frequently reiterates the principle given in the Qura’nic verse that says,

“People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In Allah’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him: Allah is all knowing, all aware” (Qur’ān, 49: 13).

     However, it has been noted that the Arabs brag of their lineages and crafts so exaggeratedly that they make them the criterion around which their oppressive appreciation and blind tribal fanatical enthusiasm pivot.

     The Arabs used to think that tillage is a despised craft and the word 'farmer' is linked to a low-ranked man. Alfurazdaq, the famous Arab poet, satirizes Jareer, another Arab poet, labelling him as a son of a blacksmith. On the contrary, Alfurazdaq praises himself as being granted a house of highly-elevated pillars by the One Who erected the heavens. Strangely enough, he did not mention the reasons why he deserved that house.

     These Bedouin traditions imposed themselves not only on the Arab community, but also on the Muslim jurisprudence. A great number of jurists maintain that a Hashemite family member is superior to an ordinary Arab person, and a non-Arab man cannot be an equal husband to an Arab woman. A Muslim judiciary gave its verdict that a high-born wife must be divorced from her husband, Sheikh Ali Yusuf, the editor of the famous newspaper of Al-Muˀayyad. Thus, the jurists and judges ignored the Prophetic ḥadīth in which the Prophet says, “If there comes to you a man with whose character and religion commitment you are content, marry your daughter to him; otherwise, there will be turmoil in the earth and widespread corruption”. As these traditions penetrated the jurisprudence field, they penetrated governments and politics. So, there has been factionalism among tribes in the past times and among families in the modern age with a view to gain presidency and domination.

     These ignorance-based defects, once explored, will be the foremost among the reasons for the Muslim society corruption and the Muslim civilization deterioration.

     Till today, the family position and lineage values are given precedence over personal efficiency in a time when the entire world vies everywhere for enhancing scientific research, realizing abundant production, producing improved goods, exploring the unknown, observing foes and making friends. Such a competition determines nations' destinies and religions’ futures. What then is our situation?!

     The Sunnah books mention that Abu Horayrah reported that Prophet Muḩammad (pbuh) said, “On the Day of Judgment, Allah will command a caller to say, ‘I made a distinction criterion and you made another one. I made the value that the most honored of you is the most righteous, but you refused and only took pride in family lineage, claiming that the son of so and so is superior to the son of so and so. Today, I definitely elevate my value of lineage and despise yours. Where are the righteous ones?”.

     It was reported by Jāber that Prophet Muḩammad (pbuh) addressed his companions, in the middle of the three days of the Sacrifice Festival, in the Farewell Sermon, saying, “O people, your Lord is One and your father is one. Not an Arab is privileged over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab; or a white-skinned person over a black-skinned one; or a black-skinned over a white-skinned one, except by righteousness. The most honored of you is the most righteous. Have not I conveyed my message?” The people said, “Yes, the Prophet of Allah”. He said, “You should convey this message to those who are not present here .”.

     Abu Hurayrah reported that Prophet Muḩammad (pbuh) said, “People should stop bragging of their dead fathers, who are the fuel of the Hell-Fire, or they will be more humiliated with Allah than the beetle that rolls dung with its nose. Indeed, Allah removed from you ignorance of the Pre-Islamic era and its boasting about lineage. A person is either a pious believer, or a miserable sinner. People are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust”.

[1] [1] Muḩammad El-Ghazāli, “A Hundred Questions on Islam”, Al-Azhar Center for Translation (ACT), 2017, p. 122.

[2] The author here refers to the American Actress, Marylin Monroe and the Irish writer, George Bernard Shaw.




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