Race in Islam

April 13, 2013 · Print This Article

Insignificance of Race in Islam

Racism has existed throughout human history. It may be defined as the hatred of one person by another because of skin color, language, customs, or place of birth.  For some it is also the belief that one race is less than human.  Racism has influenced wars, slavery, and legal codes.

Open or hidden Racism is an evil aspect of life which Islam seeks to eradicate. It is clear from the verses of the Quran (Muslims holy book) and the many sayings of our final prophet Mohammad (peace and blessing be upon him) that differences in color, tribe, race, or tradition are not excuses for unjust behavior or treatment. In the Quran, the almighty Allah repeatedly states the wrongness of racial discrimination and forbids it in Islam. Isla m does not consider race or lineage as determining factors in distinguishing people.  Allah (God) Almighty says in the Quran chapter 49 verse 13:

O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you”

Allah addressed all mankind not just Muslims by reminding them that He has created them from one man and one woman (Adam and Eve) through the same process.   Almighty Allah made human beings into different tribes, languages, and colors. These differences are a sign from Allah as Allah says in the Quran chapter 30 verse 22:

And among His Signs are the creation of the sky, the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. Verily, in that are indeed signs for those who know”

There is no equivalency to the word race in this verse or any other verse in the Quran.  Islam limits the purpose of these differentiations to knowing each other. This is not meant to be a source of division or false pride as in tribalism, nationalism, colonialism, and racism.

In Islam the measurement of greatness among humans is Taqwa (fear of Allah or piety).  Being more conscious of our Creator in every action and interaction is the only thing that makes a person better or greater than another person. Taqwa is immeasurable by humans; because of thi, we should not judge each other; Allah is the best judge because he knows all and is aware of everything that we reveal or conceal.   The prophet Mohammad (pbbuh) said:

“O people, Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a black has no superiority over white, nor does a white have any superiority over black, except by Taqwa.

In Islam, racism or any type of discrimination is unacceptable … everyone is equal. Righteousness, sincerity, and modesty are the prerequisites to gain the love of Almighty Allah.  Lineage, color, beauty, and wealth do not make someone superior.


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