Islamic Prescription for Racial Discrimination

(Part 1/2)

Mind What Counts

The short speech above brings to attention what really counts in the eyes of Allah. It is not our color, wealth, or family. It is not our physical appearance. Rather, it is our hearts and our actions. As the Prophet said above and in many other hadiths, and as Allah said in the Quran, {The best of you before Allah is the person of highest taqwa (God Consciousness)} (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

The Prophet also said,

“Allah does not look at your appearances or your financial status, but He looks at your hearts and your actions.” (Al-Bukhari)

Even wealth and clan have no value,

{It is not your riches nor your children that draw you closer to Allah, except for him who has faith and acts righteously …} (Sabaa’ 34:37)

People like to compete with one another towards success. Islam redefined success to be that which is with Allah. The competition is not based on anything but faith and action. Even that, no one can judge except Allah. Value was removed from race, family, socioeconomic status, and was placed on righteousness and good deeds.

Beware of Arrogance: It is a Severe Sin

Racism is a vicious cycle: racism creates pride and pride feeds racism. In order for this vicious cycle to end, Allah made pride a severe sin, an atom-weight of which deprives one of Paradise. The Prophet said,

He whose heart has an atom-weight of kibr (pride and arrogance) will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)

He later explained kibr to his companions saying, “Kibr is rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” (Muslim)

Removing kibr from the hearts of people was like drying the substance that fuels racism.

 

Difference in Races is a Sign to Reflect on

Another idea that was brought to people’s attention is the scientific and artistic nature of creation. Allah says,

{And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors. Indeed there are signs in this for the men of knowledge.} (Ar-Rum 30:22)

Instead of considering race something to fuel supremacy, this verse encourages the reflective minds and hearts to think of the beauty and miracle of creation:

– How have all these races came out of one family? (genealogy)

– How did people develop into nations and tribes , all speaking different languages? (anthropology)

– How would the world look if humanity been all one race? (sociology) This positive way of thinking about race creates not only awe of Allah and His ultimate power, but also respect to people that are different.

 

Injustice is Strictly Forbidden

A final fundamental point in fighting racism is banning of any form of injustice. Allah said in the divine (qudsi) Hadith,

O my servants, I made injustice forbidden on Myself and I made it forbidden amongst you; so do not commit injustice to one another” (Muslim)

As the Prophet said in his speech above, “…your blood, wealth, and honor are sacred …” When Abu Bakr was elected to lead, he clearly stated that,

“…the weak are strong before me until I bring them their rights, and the strong are weak before me until I make them deliver the rights of others.”

Discrimination is an ugly form of injustice and those who are unjust suffer severe consequences on {the Day when excuses offered by the unjust shall not avail them. Theirs shall be the curse and a woeful abode.} (Ghafir 40: 52)

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