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Introduction: We must first of all know that Allah Almighty in the Noble Quran loves us because of our Righteousness and not because of our race or gender: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (The Noble Quran, 49:13)"
Muhammad the racist?
The sections of this article are:
1- Muhammad the racist?
2- More elaboration on Noble Verse 49:13.
This is a rebuttal to the Christian "Answering Islam" team's lies against our beloved Prophet peace be upon him. Before we start, it is important to know the following story:
One of our beloved Prophet's best friends was a black Ethiopian from Africa. His name was Bilal Al-Habashi. Bilal used to be the slave of Prophet's Muhammad's Uncle Umayya, who was a Pagan. When one of our Prophet's close companions, Ammar, was caught during the early times of Islam when Muslims used to meet in secret in Mecca, Umayya ordered Bilal to flog him. Bilal refused to accept the order because he heard from Ammar during the little dialog that happened between Ammar and Umayya and some other Pagans that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said:
"People are as equal as the teeth of the comb." The old Arabic combs had equal in height and width teeth for combing the hair.
When Bilal refused the order, Umayya punished him severely by flogging him on his stomach while he was laying on his back tied with ropes on the very hot sand in the middle of the day in what we call today Saudi Arabia.
When our Prophet peace be upon him learned about this, he ordered for Bilal to be bought from Umayya. So Abu Baker, one of our Prophet's close companions and the first Caliph in Islam went to Umayya and requested to buy Bilal. Umayya refused at first and kept insisting on refusing to sell Bilal. Abu Baker may Allah Almighty be pleased with him and rest his soul and grant him Paradise went as high as 200 Dinars to buy Bilal. This was way too much money at that time. Bilal was immediately set free by our Prophet peace be upon him.
Later on, when the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Madina, and the first Mosque in Islam was built, our Prophet peace be upon him was Bilal's best friend at that time. He gave Bilal the job to be the caller for the daily prayers, which back then was one of the most honorable jobs to have. Bilal, the black Ethiopian from Africa, was one of the few best friends of our beloved Prophet that we know about from our Islamic History.
Below are their comments and my responses:
Here is what they wrote:
"Muhammad the Racist against Black people!!
Black skin and Creation:
"Abu Darda reported that the HOLY PROPHET SAID: Allah created Adam when he created him (sic). Then He stroke (sic) his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds, and He stroke (sic) HIS LEFT SHOULDER and took out a BLACK RACE as if they were coals. Then He said to those who were in his right side: Towards paradise and I don't care. He said to those who were ON HIS LEFT SHOULDER: Towards Hell and I don't care. - Ahmad" (Mishkat ul-Masabih, translated by Karim, v. iii, p. 117)
FROM IBN ISHAQ'S "SIRAT RASULALLAH", translated as, "THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD" by A. Guillaume, page 243.
"I have heard that it was of him that the apostle said, "Whoever wants to see Satan let him take a look at Nabtal b. al-Harith!" He was a study black man with long flowing hair, inflamed eyes, and dark ruddy cheeks. He used to come and talk to the apostle and listen to him and then carry what he had said to the hypocrites. It was he who said: "Muhammad is all ears: if anyone tells him anything he believes it." God sent down concerning him: "And of them are those who annoy the prophet and say he is all ears, Say: God ears for you. He believes in God and trusts the believers and is a mercy for those of you who believe; and those who annoy the apostle of God for them there is a painful punishment." (Sura 9:61)"
The above doesn't in anyway suggest that black people are destined for hell, nor the sayings come from the trustful resources such as "Sahih Bukhari", "Sahih Muslim" and "Sunan Abu Dawud" volumes! The quotes don't at all come from reliable Islamic resources. I would like to see the above existing in any of the volumes that I mentioned. Anyone can come up with a book and make up a lie against our Prophet peace be upon him.
Let's assume for a second that the above Saying is a valid one, even though as I said, it doesn't come from a trustful resource. The Arabic words for "Race" and "Group" are one word, and that is "Jama-aa". The Arabic word "Jins" could also be sometimes used for "Race", but "Jins" means more "sex" than "race". Anyway, the Saying above doesn't at all suggest that Africans are going to hell. Islam is never ridiculous to make such a claim. Below you will see how Allah Almighty loves us for our good deeds and righteousness. Our genders and race don't count when judged by Allah Almighty.
Important Note: When Adam was created, no race or gender existed by him. He was every race and gender of Mankind. How can Africans or black people be taken into the offensive consideration if they didn't even exist yet? It is quite obvious that the word "Race" is a mistranslation.
Anyway, the translation above, which it is quite possible that the hypocrites of the Christian "Answering Islam" team might have twisted it a little bit suggests that a "race" or "group" will be black and the other will be white. In Islam, we are taught that Angels mark bad deeds with "black" points. It is clear that the Saying above suggests that the "black group" will go to hell, and the "white group" will go to heaven.
Important Note: In Islam, we are ordered to shake hands with the right hand, and to enter doors with the right foot. Does this mean that left-handed people are cursed? Of course not! Same thing with black or African people. Islam has no offense toward them.
As we all know, when one burns himself too much, his skin would turn blackish or black. So, this Saying is suggesting that the people of Hell will eventually be burnt and blackened, and the People of Paradise will be lighter.
There is no racism in this Saying! But again, it doesn't come from an Islamic authentic resource anyway!
Many lies had been inserted in history against our beloved Prophet peace be upon him; "A section of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] say: Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers (Muslims), but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) turn back (from Islam). (The Noble Quran, 3:72)"
The above false claims clearly contradict what Allah Almighty said in the Noble Quran in the following Noble Verse:
"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes [people with different cultures, races and religions], that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (The Noble Quran, 49:13)"
Also, please visit Human equality in Islam VS. Christianity section to see how Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him treated people and slaves, and how he liberated slaves and ended slavery that was practiced during the Judeo-Christian and Pagans times.
More elaboration on Noble Verse 49:13:
The following is an email that I received from brother Usman Sheikh; may Allah Almighty always be pleased with him.
Walaikum Assalam Br Osama.
Here is the answer by Abdal Hakim Murad:
"As-salamu alaykum. The key text is Qur'an 49.13, 'and created you peoples and tribes that you might know each other. The most noble of you in Allah's sight is the most pious.' Imam Qurtubi explains that the 'peoples' (shu'ub) are those with unknown genealogies, unlike 'tribes' (qaba'il). Hence all human collectivities, of whatever race, are included in the verse, which moreover states that ethnic identity is a natural and legitimate thing, insofar as it does not obstruct religious solidarity.
There are many hadiths which indicate the prohibition of anti-African attitudes. In one, the pagan al-Harith ibn Hisham is shamed for expressing amazement that the honour of calling the adhan should have been conferred upon Bilal, an Abyssinian. In another hadith, we read: 'A red-faced (i.e. white) man is not superior to a black one; superiority is only in piety. You are all from Adam, and Adam is from dust.' (Bukhari and Muslim)
There is also the famous incident narrated by Ibn al-Mubarak in his Kitab al-Birr wa'l-Sila, in which Abu Dharr (r.a.) asks Bilal (r.a.) to put his foot on Abu Dharr's head, because he fears that he has committed the sin of racism against his Abyssinian brother.
Finally, we note that in all four schools of fiqh, racial affiliation is of no significance in legal entitlements and duties.
The hadith you have cited (and which are only imperfectly translated) therefore refer to the Qur'anic use of the metaphor of darkness and light. Light is one of Allah's names, and darkness refers to ignorance of His presence and acts.
Salams and best wishes,
The above answer by Hakim Murad was posted at the al-Zawiya group by a brother who is in touch with Hakim Murad.
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