Islam is the only religion that has established racial equality 1400 years ago, declaring that all people are equal in the sight of God. In the farewell sermon of Prophet Muhammad (saw) he stated: “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 black, nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” We Muslims are already ‘feminists’ as racism is not permitted in Islam. The first racism was committed by Satan himself, as he was racist towards Adam because he thought. He is better than Adam as he was created from fire, and Adam is made from mud and water. As mentioned in the Quran. He refused the order of Allah’s (SWT) to prostrate to Adam. The religion of Islam forbids racism and racial inequality.
In the rich history of Muslims, there were many black Muslims who were able to reach the highest level of leadership, scholarship, run dynasties, lead armies, etc.
It’s also an important thing to note that prophets came from the lineage of black people. There are authentic narratives that have both Prophet Musa and Sulaiman were men of color. Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with him, stated that the prophet Muhammad (SAW) “On the night of my Ascent to Heaven, I saw Musa (Moses), who was a tall, brown man…” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim.] Furthermore, black Muslims have also risen to the top of leadership at all levels. Like to best level of scholarship like ‘Ataa bin Abi Rabi’ah who was the first Mufti of Makkah they had a dynasty known as the Mamluk dynasty, have also led armies (Tariq ibn Ziyad), etc.
Prominent Black figures in Islam:
1. Story of Sa’d al-Aswad
He was one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he was from Bani Sulaym, and he was a black man. He came to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and asked him will he would not be able to enter paradise because of his unpleasant features. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) responded that it would not, as long as he was mindful of his Lord and believed in him. Sa’d accepted Islam immediately. Sa’d then explained to the Prophet of Allah that he was searching for a wife, but was rejected by all because of his complexion. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) sent Sa’d to marry Amr bin Wahb’s daughter who had recently converted from Bani Thaqif, who had also retained many pre-Islamic prejudices.
2. Story of Ubadah Ibn As-Saamit
He was a companion who was one of the first of Ansar and a black man. He was a companion who had accompanied the prophet in all the battles and was a literate man who used to write the revelation. When the delegation traveled by boat to al-Muqawqis and entered his palace and Ubadah stepped forward to read him the message al-Muqawqis was startled by his blackness. He said, “Take this black man away from me and let someone else come and speak to me!” So the delegation replied to him “This black man is the best of us in knowledge and wisdom. He is our leader and the best of us and has been appointed over us. We all refer to his opinion, and our leader has appointed him over us and ordered us not to go against him. And to us, a black man and a white man are the same!”
3. Story of Julaybeeb
This story is one of the most famous stories among Muslims. There were multiple reasons why he was looked down upon in society. No one would consider him for marriage. Prophet Muhammad went to the father of the most beautiful and righteous woman and said “I would like to marry your daughter, not to myself but Julaybib.” He said let me talk to her mom. He went to her and told her the prophet wants to marry your daughter to Julaybib. She started to scream, “JULAYBIB!” at the top of her lungs. “I will never marry her to Julaybib!” The daughter heard the recommendation of the prophet and insisted on marrying him just because the Prophet of Allah had brought the recommendation. Uthman (RA) paid his Mahr.
These stories showcased how the Prophet of Allah tried to tackle the problem of racism and attempted to erase the racist attitude that existed at the time by giving positions of religious/political leadership through marriage and social/family interactions and not to judge others based on the color of their skin.
All human beings created by Allah are beloved to him regardless of the color of their skin.
Selected Verses from the Quran on Justice:
- “Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others: and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression. He admonishes you that you may take heed”. (Quran 16:91)
- “God commands justice and fair dealing…” (Quran 16:90)
- “O mankind, we have created you from a male and a female; and We have made you into tribes and subtribes that you may know one another. Verily the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most righteous among you. Surely Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware” (49:14)
- “And the heaven He raised and imposed the balance. That you do not transgress the balance. And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.” (Quran 55:7-9)