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How Islam Created Anti-Racism Environment

Explaining how Islam approached the racial discrimination issue, Dr. Wael Hamza highlighted in part 1 how Islam changed the prevalent racist beliefs and reformed people’s perception of race.

This part focuses on the practical side, showing how Islam brought about an anti-racism environment.

Develop Healthy Environment

Below is a simple, yet very effective, set of actions that created anti-racism environment in Madinah. To understand those examples, let us briefly talk about Bilal ibn Rabah, the main figure in many of these stories.

Bilal was a black Abyssinian slave who was one of the first people to embrace Islam. Despite his slavery, Bilal was a person of dignity and courage. When his master discovered that Bilal is a Muslim, he tortured and humiliated him in the streets of Makkah, making an example of him to all other slaves who are considering Islam.

Yet, Bilal was steadfast and refused to give in or abandon Islam. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq bought Bilal and set him free. Around Bilal many of the stories below happened.

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Acknowledging Value

The Prophet showed respect and value to people around him despite their race, color, gender, or even age:

  • Amr ibn Al-`As asked the Prophet (PBUH): “Who is the most beloved to you O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet answered, “Aishah,” a woman and the Prophet’s wife. (Al-Bukhari)
  • Talking about a young man, Abdullah ibn Umar, the Prophet said “What a man Abdullah is!”  (Al-Bukhari)
  • Bilal, the black man, was no different: “Tell me of the best deed you did after embracing Islam. I have heard the sound of your footsteps in front of me in Paradise!” The Prophet talking to Bilal. (Al-Bukhari)
  • Umar Ibn Al Khattab used to say about Bilal, “Abu Bakr is our master and he set free our master (meaning Bilal).” (Al-Bukhari)

These comments were not fake comments. They were genuine and sincere comments that made a huge impact on the environment.

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