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Living Racial Equality in Islam
Qur’anic Basis for Inter-Racial Relationships
Inter-racial Relationships in the Life of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh
Inter-racial Events in Muslim Communities in History
Observations on American Islamic Race-Relations in the US –
Yesterday and Today.
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female
and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one
another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the
most righteous of you. Indeed, God is Knowing and Acquainted.
[Quran: 49:13]
The Private Quarters Al Hujurat
And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and
the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that
are signs for those of knowledge. [Quran 30:22]
The Romans Ar-Rum
Mankind is naught but a single nation, and God sent Messengers
with glad tidings and warnings.”[Quran 2:213]
The Cow Al-Baqarah
Bilal, Ethiopian Slave
O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is
called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday],
then proceed to the remembrance of God and leave
trade. That is better for you, if you only
knew. (2:185) Al-Baqarah The Cow
Muhammad, pbuh:
After dreaming of a human call-to-prayer, The
Prophet appointed a black, freed-slave who had
been tortured for believing in Islam to be the first
muezzin. The muezzin, ranked just below the
Among them there were Afro-Arabs, Comorians, Copts (Egyptian),
Jewish, Kurdish, Sindhi Jat, Persian, Tamil Chera (Indian), Assyrian
Life of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh (Sunnah)
Things Muhammad Said (Hadith)
Follower: "O Messenger of God, I have neither wealth nor beauty; nor
do I have a noble descent or lineage. Who will marry me? And which
woman likes to be wife of a poor, short, black ,and ugly man like me?“
Muhammad: “God has changed the individual's worth through Islam.
Many people were high-placed in the pre-Islamic society and Islam
brought them down. Many were despised non-entities and Islam
bestowed them with honor and high rank and brought them up. Islam
abolished the un-Islamic discrimination and pride of lineage. Now all
people irrespective of their color and origin are equal. Nobody has
superiority over others but through piety and obedience to Allah. Among
the Muslims, only that person would be higher than you whose virtues
and deeds are better than you.”
The man eventually married a woman of wealth and high-standing….
Life of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh
Things Muhammad Said
-- Continued --
Muhammad’s Farewell Sermon
(March 632 CE):
"O mankind, your Lord is One and your
father is one. You all descended from
Adam, and Adam was created from earth.
He is most honored among you in the
sight of God who is most upright. No Arab
is superior to a non-Arab, no [colored]
person to a white person, or a white
person to a [colored] person except by
Summary of Muslim Beliefs on Race
(1) All men are created by one and the same eternal God, the supreme Lord of all.
(2) All mankind belong to the human race and share equally in the common parentage of
Adam and Eve, may God exalt their mention,.
(3) God is just and kind to all His creatures. He is not partial to any race or age. The
whole universe is His dominion and all people are His creatures.
(4) All people are born equal, in the sense that no one brings any possession with him; and
they die equal in the sense that they take back nothing of their worldly belongings.
(5) God judges every person on the basis of his own merits and according to his own deeds.
(6) God has conferred honor and dignity on all men,.
Inter-Racial Events in Muslim Communities
Moorish Spain – 711-1492 CE
Conquering Muslims -- edict assuring subject races
Liberty for all – no differences
All people on equal footing.
Intermarriage acceptable
Sephardic Jews – emigrated to Spain ~1000 CE, practiced
religion openly. When the Moors (Muslims) forced out, the
Catholic regime issued the “Alhambrah Decree of 1492:” All Jews
not already converted to Christianity expelled.
Moved to Muslim countries: Northern Africa or Ottoman Empire.
Ottoman Navy evacuated many
Decree voided in 1968 – DNA test for citizenship
Interesting contrast with ISIS and Yazidis!?!
While at Hajj, all Muslim men wear the same thing – two white cloths –
reminding them that all are equal before God. (Women are allowed to
wear whatever color they wish. Most wear white or black.)
Life-changing for Malcom X (more about this in a minute)…..
Slavery in Islam
Pre-Islam – slavery entrenched – region and world
Islam: all are equal before God, but slavery not outlawed
Carefully controlled under Islam
Source – Spoils of war
Treatment – Treatment like family
Right to freedom – several methods
Muslims encouraged to free slaves
Penance for sins
Charity (personal or community)
Slavery essentially outlawed
Fiqh (Shariah) – considers public good and cultural norms
Contemporaneously with Europe and US
Example: Letter to Al Baghdadi/ISIS: Item 12
From Open Letter: To Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, alias ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’
19th September 2014 CE
12. Slavery: No scholar of Islam disputes that one of Islam’s aims is to abolish
slavery. God says: ‘And what will show you what the obstacle is?, the freeing of a
slave, or to give food on a day of hunger’ (Al-Balad, The City, 90:12-14); and: ‘…
then [the penalty for them is] the setting free of a slave before they touch one
another …’ (Al-Mujadilah, The Pleading Woman, 58:3). The Prophet Muhammad’s
Sunnah is that he freed all male and female slaves who were in his possession or
whom had been given to him45. For over a century, Muslims, and indeed the
entire world, have been united in the prohibition and criminalization of slavery,
which was a milestone in human history when it was finally achieved… After a
century of Muslim consensus on the prohibition of slavery, you have violated this;
you have taken women as concubines and thus revived strife and sedition, and
corruption and lewdness on the earth. You have resuscitated something that the
Shariah has worked tirelessly to undo and has been considered forbidden by
consensus for over a century. Indeed all the Muslim countries in the world are
signatories of anti-slavery conventions. God says: ‘… And fulfil the covenant.
Indeed the covenant will be enquired into.’ (Al-Isra, The Night Journey, 17: 34) You
bear the responsibility of this great crime and all the reactions which this may
lead to against all Muslims.
Race-Relations in American Islam
Slaves from Africa – 10% - 30% Muslim
Malcolm X – Nation of Islam/Separatist
– Hajj: Racial harmony (1964)
– Embraced mainstream Sunni Islam
– Most black Muslims followed
Mohammad Ali – World Heavyweight Champion
– Nation of Islam/Sunni (1975)
– Muslim conscientious objector/philanthropist
Professional Athletes, Actors, Singers, etc.
– Observant/Un-observant
Politicians – Keith Ellison, DNC Chairperson?
– Andre Carson
~30% of American Muslims
~50% of Converts to Islam in America
Race-Relations in American Islam
Numerous “non-European” ethnicities are large fractions of
many/most American mosques.
ISA: Members of 32-ethnicities . How many “races”?
Saudi Arabia
All are considered equal…