I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“O Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allaah is that (believer0 who has At-Taqwa (i.e he is one of the pious). Verily, Allaah is All-knowing, All-Aware.” Qur’an 49:13
All sane persons are unanimously agreed upon the common origin of man – Adam and Eve. This common denominator of man has been repeatedly echoed in the Glorious Qur’an and equally in the Bible and even the Jews are not in contention. Indeed, there was over man a period of time, when he was not a thing worth mentioning. And from one origin (Adam), the progeny of Adam was created from Nutfah (drops) of mixed semen (sexual discharge of man and woman). Hence, the amazing rhythm in the statement; One Allaah, one origin, one universe, one (legitimate religion -Islamic Monotheism).
Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his few words favored with comprehensiveness said: “Verily, Allah Almighty created Adam from a handful which He took from the earth, so the children of Adam come in accordance with the earth. Some come with red skin, white skin, or black skin, and whatever is in between: thin, thick, dirty, and clean.” Sahih al-Jami’ (1759)
From time immemorial, man has oppressively and deliberately turned a blind eye to this common origin of his with other humans. Satan, who had promised aforetime that he will mislead the progeny of Adam will stop at nothing to achieve his sinister agenda. Undoubtedly, Satan has a share in all the sins that happened and are happening on the face of the earth, but he can only beguile, he cannot force anyone to disobey.
Allah the Exalted says (the interpretation of the meaning): “Satan (Iblees) said: ‘Because You have sent me astray, surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You)’” Qur’an 7: 16-17. Indeed, one of his arsenals against humans is that of creating hatred and enmity between them. Racism is the highest form of unjust hatred against a fellow human.
Throughout history, man has chanted racial slogans and has falsely worn the garb of racial superiority over other races whom he sees as inferior to him. He enslaves, brutalizes and metes out the most inhumane treatment against those he mistakenly assumed to be less equal than him. The 21st-century civilization still remains uncivilized in terms of racial equality. In Europe, in America, in Africa, in Asia, everywhere, racism has torn the garb of humanity and brotherhood apart. The world as it is today, primarily seen as a global village, still remains far from being a village to many.
Racial hatred has led to violence against many innocent people in developed nations and even in developing nations. The concept of medical apartheid is a reality in places like America. How then did Islam solve the racial problem 1400 years ago that even the most developed worlds of today are yet to find a solution to their racial disease?
Islam as a religion came to liberate humanity from all forms of darkness and ignorance to the glorious light of Monotheism. It detaches man from the worship of idols and his inner desires to the worship of Allaah and submitting to His Will. There is no single emphasis on racial superiority in Islam, nay, each time Islam discusses race, it does so in the light of its insignificance on the scale of judgement.
To buttress the above statement, it was narrated on the strength of Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: “Behold! Verily, you have no virtue over one with white skin or black skin, except by favor of righteousness.” Shuaib al-Arnaoot said it is Sahih lighayrihi; Takhreej al-Musnad (21407).
Yet another significant statement relevant to the issue at hand is what has been stated by Ibn Abbas (may Allaah be pleased with him); he said: “A man might say to another man, ‘I am nobler than you,’ yet no one is nobler except by the mindfulness of Allaah.” Sahih al-Adab al-mufrad (689).
One a young man from the Muhajirs (the emigrants – from Makkah) and a young man from the Ansaar (helpers) quarreled. So, the Muhaajir said: “O Muhaajirs! (meaning: rally to my help).” And the Ansaaree said: “O Ansaar!” So the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard this and said: “Is it with the call of jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic period) that you are calling out, and I am present amongst you!” Sahih al-Bukhari.
It is clear from the above that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not allow Racism nor tribalism to crop up amongst his Ummah (nation) let alone grow. He instantly cut off its evil roots. He (peace be upon him) demonstrated that through his close relationship with Bilal (peace be upon him) who was an Abyssinian (African origin) slave, also Shu’aib ar-Roomi (may Allaah be pleased with him) from Byzantine Empire and Salman al-Farisi from Persian Empire and how each one of them rose to become from amongst the high ranking companions.
The Message was simple, a man’s worth is not kept in his skin color, rather, it is a product of his inner self ie piety (his fear and mindfulness of Allaah). If the world can embrace the racial equality that Islam preaches, it will be a better place to live in.
In conclusion, the hadith on the strength of Jabir bin Abdullah (may Allaah be pleased with him) regarding the last sermon of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on a month like this (Dhul-Hijjah) sums up the solution Islam proffers to racism.
“O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message? Silsilatu As-Saheehah (2700)
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, is the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd & a Lecturer at Baze University, Abuja. Twitter: @Penabdull Instagram: @Penabdul