Tolerance, Racism and Islam
Racism from the perspective of a Muslim
Author: Usraat Fahmidah
Islam is considered one of the most peaceful creeds in the world predominantly for the message it preaches. As a Muslim, we are aware of how Islam teaches us that all of humanity is considered a brotherhood. That’s the principle on which other teachings have stemmed from. Islam denotes this universal concept of brotherhood to everyone and urges us to be kind to other humans. But with the recent Black Lives Matter movement taking the world by storm, I was curious if the Holy Quran or Islam addresses this violation of human rights issue particularly. Afterall, the Holy Quran is considered the book of life and has the answer to every question. Now, the principle teaching of Islam uses this universal concept but it’s difficult to view the current world who perceives the world through racial terms. It’s imperative to understand how the preachings are applied in relation to the current status quo.
Fundamentally, Islam teaches us to be more inclusive and that is evident from this quote. “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. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.”
― the prophet Muḥammad (pbuh)
This quote was from the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is believed that with this speech all the bricks of Islam had been filled that day. The quote directly implies that no human is superior because of his/her physiognomy, and neither is one inferior because of it. If we dig out information, we can get a clear picture of how inclusive Islam is. After surfing the internet, I stumbled upon some articles. One of the most astonishing facts is that I discovered was-Islam spread fast among several countries and continents, gaining followers from diverse background which resulted in their inclusive preachings. We also need to understand that tribalism, racism existed during the times of Muhammad (pbuh) as well. It wasn’t as systematic back then. The question now arises, how do these teachings correlate to current societal status and what would be the present-day apprehension of it?
We know the teachings of the Holy Quran has been made easy for everyone to comprehend. But we need some sort of context to understand the gravity of the issue. I have personally encountered a few Muslims who dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement arguing it wasn’t our issue. But what most of us don’t know is the heritage of certain prophets in Muslim. Even though, Islam has a general tolerance policy, the importance of knowing these certain Prophets’ heritage is more important than ever. It has not been highlighted eminently but it needs to be addressed now to ensure Muslims around the world are aware of their part against this fight against injustice. According to some sources, Sulaiman (AS.) was described biblically to have dark skin. Similarly, Hazrat Musa (A.) who was known to have spoken to Allah, the Most Merciful, and the only human who has been mentioned in the Holy Quran the most, was described to have similar features as that of the people of Shanu’a and Az-Zutt (the two darkest tribe amongst the Arabs).
Why is this information relevant? It’s because if you have a problem with the skin colour of Musa (As.), you have an innate problem with the Holy Quran and Allah. It’s imperative for us to be educated about history. Because people are disregarding this issue saying it’s not their concern but in order to be a good Muslim, we must uphold the values taught by the prophet Muhammad (SM.). In Islam, one of the reasons why diversity has been celebrated is because how it spread to different demographics and ethnicities in such a short amount. As a Muslim, we must acknowledge how Racism is a contemporaneous menace that has affected people previously and in current time. We need to understand the context to make sure Muslims are not dismissing this issue arguing it’s not our concern. We need an Islamic framework to pull people together in a string to work against systemic racism.
Usraat Fahmidah is a freelance writer born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She enjoys reading about conspiracy theories and philosophy. In her spare time, you will find her whining about her work load while taking on more work.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views or positions of Converge Interfaith.