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Are Black People Going to Hell According to Islam?

Questioner

Khadijah

Reply Date

Feb 20, 2017

Question

Assalam alaykum! My Sister told me that some Arabs believe that all black people will enter Hellfire. I want you to clarify the issue. She said that there are hadiths stating so and here is the reference: Ibn Hanbal narrated a report that in effects states that God created the white race (dhurriyah bayda) from Adam's right shoulder and created the black race (dhurriyah sawda) from Adam's left shoulder, then decreed that those on the right shoulder of Adam will enter heaven, and those on the left will enter hell. Ibn Hanbal Musnad (6:492). You can read page 248 of speaking in God's name by Khaled Abou El Fadl.

Consultant

Answer


Are Black People Going to Hell According to Islam

Salam Dear Khadijah,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Before explaining the hadith, we first have to acknowledge that it does not have anything to do with white or black race. If this is so, where is the mention of other races such as people from India and China who are neither white nor black.

Many Arabs are dark complexion themselves such as the people of Sudan. Several of the Prophet’s companions had dark skin as well and one of the most beloved to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was Bilal ibn Rabah (may Allah be pleased with him) who used to call the Adhan (ritual prayer call) and the Prophet promised him Paradise.

I would like to thank you also for the transliteration in Arabic, I was able to find the hadith you are referring to, under different Muhaddiths and it is an authentic one (sahih), but unfortunately your sister misinterpreted it either because it was mistranslated or not properly explained in the book that she was reading; let me clarify.

I will first begin with the translation of the hadith:

“When Allah created Adam He hit his right shoulder from which his descendants who are as white as pearls came out, then He hit his left shoulder from which his descendants who are as black as charcoal came out; then He said to the one’s on his right enter the Paradise and that would not diminish from My dominion to the least and He said to the one’s on his left enter Hell-fire and that would not increase anything in My dominion” (Al-Haythami & Abul-Wazir Al-Yamani)

We have to be careful when attributing information to Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him); if anyone else writes information that is contradictory to Islam then we should tactfully correct them; however, in Islam no one corrects Allah and His messenger because they are our source of knowledge.

In addition, there is no one who is really white or black because there is no individual on earth who is as white as a pearl or as black as charcoal. Our skin colors are either different shades of beige or different shades of brown.

When talking about the people in the Hereafter, Allah says in His book:

{On the day when some faces will turn bright (Tabyadu) and other faces will turn dark (Taswadu)} (Aal-Imran 3:106)

I have purposely quoted the Arabic words because “white” was translated into bright, while “black” was translated into dark, which is correct since Arabic uses colors in many occasions to describe bright and dark.

Our hadith is no more than an explanation of the above mentioned verse. Therefore the hadith is clearly talking about good and evil human beings, which is found among every nation, every race, and every religion.

Furthermore, Allah says in His book this self-explanatory verse:

{O People! We created you all from a male and a female, and 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 most God fearing of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.} (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Also Jabir Ibn Abdullah said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) addressed us during his farewell pilgrimage and said:

“O People! Indeed your Lord is but One Lord, and Indeed your father is but one (Adam), an Arab is no better than a non-Arab, and non-Arab is no better than an Arab; and no dark skin person is better than a red skin, nor a red skin person is better than a dark skin except in piety. The most favored in front of Allah among you are the most righteous.” Then he (peace be upon him) said: “Have I delivered the message?” The people replied: “Surely! O Messenger of Allah”. He said: “Let the one who is present inform the one who is absent”… (Al-Bayhaqi)

Abu Huraira narrated that the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Indeed Allah does not judge you according to your physical appearance and wealth. He instead judges you according to your hearts (intentions) and deeds (actions)” (Muslim)

It was narrated regarding the merits of Sayyiduna (our honored master) Bilal ibn Rabah, who was freed by Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Assidiq (may Allah be pleased with them); the Prophet (peace be upon him) said (to Bilal):

“I heard the sound of your shoes in Paradise just in front of me.” (Al-Bukhari)

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Islam Kills Racism – Malcolm X

Towards Achieving Unity in Islam

No Place for Racism in Islam

 




About Maan Khalife

Maan has many years of experience in dawah work and has established the first Muslim cemetery in the state of Arizona. He is currently the Ask About Islam Consultant and Editor.

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