The Concept of Race in Islam

The Concept of Race in Islam

The basis for the following article was originally published in 2003 by the Taliyah al-Mahdi. Many edits, elaborations and further additions have been made to the text, in order to reflect the evolving approach of the Inner Circle of the occulted group, and current events.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

People who believe in discrete biological boundaries of specific “races” are engaged in the myth of racialism and racism, whether systemic or merely individuals lost in a delusion created by white supremacist pseudoscience.

The Qur’an explains: “O mankind, we have created you male and female, and appointed you tribes and families that you may know one another. Surely the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most fearing of Allah; Allah is All-knowing, All-aware.” Qur’an 49.13

In the Name of Allah, Al-ilah, there is no god but Hu. There is no separation in Iman, no division in the true practice of Islam (Submission to Allah). We are all One people, under One God, with One Aim, moving forward to One common Destiny; Forward to Eden.

The One God who is the Creator of us all, the One God who has made us Hu’s people, Hu’s family, has created all things in both manifest existence and potential existence as One. The rain falls upon all equally, paying no mind to race, sect or creed.

“Have you not seen that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it we bring out produce of various colors. And in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of colors, and black intense in hue, and so among men, crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors.” Qur’an, Sura 35.27-28

As the Great Prophet Muhammad said, there are neither races nor tribes in Islam; all of the children of Adam are created from One Source in a common state of equality. One culture may boast: “We have manifested this civilization and this one. See now that we are born into a state of inherent superiority.” Some from other cultures will argue and stake claim to these civilizations. These are like the colonialists who came to the lands they called the “Americas.” They stole this land and that saying, “It is mine! It is mine! I have made a piece of paper to prove to you that it is mine.” But this was a foreign concept to the Indigenous people of these lands. They said;“How can you claim to own that which belongs to the Creator of us all?”

These colonists, however, could not comprehend this because their hearts had been calloused over. We cannot claim civilization or cultural greatness to be of any of our workings any more than we can claim responsibility for the Greatness of the Earth, or claim that the Earth is our own to the exclusion of others. If one culture succeeds, then it is solely because it has built and sustained itself in a state of primordial, “Fitrah” Islam. If the culture fails, then it is solely because the people of that culture had trodden down the crooked paths of unrighteousness. Any illusion of “success” beyond or aside from that, is just that: an illusion. As the Qur’an teaches: In the rise and fall of nations are signs for those who reflect. And Allah is Witness over all things.

The Prophet Muhammad taught that: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab is not superior over a non-Arab nor is a non-Arab superior over an Arab. A person with white skin is not superior over a person with black skin nor is a person with black skin superior over a person with white skin; except by piety and good action. YOU ARE ALL EQUAL. 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.”

Still, today, how many are those in the so-called “Islamic” world who have failed to heed the meaning of these words?

Superiority of imagined race or segregation is not only eliminated and void in the Jam`at al-Fitrah, but the equality of mankind is an absolute reality in the eyes of the true Mu’min. All are from one father and one mother and are members of one family. From the aspect of nobility, origin and connections they are equal partners. No one is better than anyone else, except in purity and devoutness.

“There is no superiority for one who is of the [tribe of] Quraysh over one who is not of the Quraysh, nor for an Arab over a non-Arab. All of you are from Adam and Adam was from dust,” the Prophet Muhammad taught.

He further stated, “I have been sent to all: red, black and yellow.”

The concept of race itself is foreign to the Islamic Path. Any form of religion describing itself as “Islam”, which contradicts this, is simply not Islamic at all. It is part of what we call the “Islamicate” world: a world that designates itself as something which it is not. A culture of “Imposter Islam” – Dajjalic Islam.

It is not that Islam teaches that all races are created equal… That is far from the case. No, the reality is that Islam teaches there is simply no such thing as “race” to begin with. The shade or tint of skin does not define race, for there are many non-European cultures who are characterized by fair skin. Many Levantine Arabs look no different than many Europeans, and yet, because of artificial borders and antiquated pseudoscientific notions of there being approximately five discrete “races”, these are considered different. Many dark-skinned peoples would quickly call Ashkenazi Jews “white” – as much so as any European descended people. Yet to over half of the German population today, and to Neo-Nazi’s throughout the world, Jews are the furthest from “Aryan” among all of the non-germanic descended peoples. Ironically, most Mizrachi Jews from immediate North African and Middle Eastern Jewish communities, have smaller, more stereotypically “European” noses than many Ashkenazim. Many North African, Levantine and Persian Jewish communities are often just as fair-skinned as Ashkenazi Jews, just as many Syrians like Bashar al-Assad, and even well-known Palestinians like the activist Ahed Tamimi, can easily pass as “white” throughout the world. Were “race” a biological reality, this should never be the case.

Race was a pseudoscientific concept invented to sustain the social stratification of subjugated peoples. It is only related to genetics in the loosest way, when there is any relation at all. Race is a crude concept invented by people to exclude others and justify the domination of Europeans over those subjugated either through colonialism and imperialism, or through human trafficking and genocide. Race should never be misunderstood as anything but this. Race itself is borne of white supremacy and maintained by white supremacy, just as it maintains white supremacy itself when we buy into it and propagate it as biologically-rooted or historically real. To that end, we must deconstruct not only the concept of whiteness, but the very idea of race itself as biologically and historically real. In so doing, our work is to directly attack white supremacy and racism: striking at the very root of both, in the concept of whiteness and race itself.

Put simply, you cannot have the pseudoscientific concept of race without the racism that created it and that it was created to support. The concept of “race” was borne of white supremacy, and to destroy one, we must destroy the other, as they are interrelated and intertwined.

Popularly, a child of a so-called “white” parent and so-called “Black” parent is considered neither race by many, while others consider them “Black” alone.

Public Enemy famously sampled the quote in “Fear of a Black Planet”:

“Black man, black woman, black baby
White man, white woman, white baby
White man, black woman, black baby
Black man, white woman, black baby”

Almost no one would consider such a person to be “white.” Why is that? Because the idea of “whiteness” itself is one borne of racism. Only “whiteness” is an ahistorical and unscientific concept of European pure breeding. Some children with parents from this sort of background may have kinky hair, while others may have completely straight hair. Some may have Caucasian-shaped eyes, while others may look more Asiatic. Indigenous Europeans like the Sami people, on the other hand, may have Indigenousn-looking “Asiatic” eyes, like many Africans. Some of those from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Indigenous Americas, and so on, may have brown skin, while others may have very fair skin, even as fair as that of Europeans in many regions. What then is “white” besides a racial fantasy created in order to attempt to justify social stratification and a slave-caste in the West?

There is simply no definitive place to draw up borders and boundaries for the divisive notion of race; and beyond that, there is no significant reason to do so even if we could. No one can truly define race, nor can they even accurately say how many races there are, or “what” someone “is” when they are descended from a multi-ethnic background (and to be sure, nearly ALL people are from multi-ethnic backgrounds).

There are simply no races in Islam. When one is a Muslim they do not ignore race, they awaken to the Reality that race is an illusory and divisive concept. They realize that the eyes of man would have never conceived of such separation had they not been living in a state of defiance to the Law of Allah. Submission to Allah mandates and is a by-product of awakening to the Reality of the First Kalimah – Ashadu an La ilaha ill-Allah – bearing Witness that there is nothing, no false sense of division, no separate deity floating around in the sky to be worshipped, there is only Allah.

Islam forbids boasting of our ancestors. The Holy Prophet Muhammad said:“Let people stop boasting about their ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. All men are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust.”

Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq narrates that the Prophet said:“Whosoever possesses in his heart `asabiyyah (prejudice in any of its forms such as tribalism, racism, nationalism) even to the extent of a mustard seed, Allah will raise him on the Day of Resurrection with the `Aaraab of the Jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic era).”

Also, in the Qur’an, we read:“The Believers are brethren; therefore, make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that Mercy may be had on you.” Qur’an, Surah 49.10

Accordingly, all Asians, Africans, Europeans, Americans of white, black, red, or yellow appearances who are Muslims are brothers, and no one can claim superiority to another. The greatest leader of Islam, the Seal of the Prophets, acted on this principle. He showed his special affection for Salman Farsi of Iran, Suhaib of Asia Minor, and Bilal of Abyssinia. On the other hand, he rejected Abu Lahab (whose name means ‘Father of Flame’), his own uncle who was condemned by a chapter of the Holy Qur’an which said:“Perish the hands of the Father of Flame! Perish he!” Qur’an, Sura 111.1

“A man once visited the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah. There he saw a group
of people sitting and discussing their faith together. Among them were Salman (who came from Persia), Suhayb who grew up in the Eastern Roman empire and was regarded as a Greek, and Bilal who was an African. The man then said:
“‘If the (Madinan) tribes of Aws and Khazraj support Muhammad, they are his people (that is, Arabs like him). But what are these people doing here?’
“‘The Prophet became very angry when this was reported to him. Straightaway, he went to the mosque and summoned people to a Salat. He then addressed them saying:
“‘O people, know that the Lord and Sustainer is One. Your ancestor is one, your faith is one. The Arabism of anyone of you is not from your mother or father. It is no more than a tongue (language). Whoever speaks Arabic is an Arab.'” (As quoted in Islam The Natural Way by Abdul Wahid Hamid p. 125)

Islam pays no mind to shade of skin pigment. For in truth there are no “colors” of “races.” Skin is pigmented by melanin. Every person has some amount of melanin unless they are albino. In humans, melanin exists as three forms: eumelanin (which is subdivided further into black and brown forms), pheomelanin, and neuromelanin. Even the idea that melanin is of one color is false. Melanin exists in brown, black, red and yellow tints and tones, and very often changes as we age.

The Prophet Muhammad instructed that: “Allah does not look at your images or your colors but Hu looks at your hearts (intentions) and your deeds. Creatures are the defendants of Allah and the closest among them to Allah are indeed the most useful to Hu’s dependents.” Yet, still humankind is conditioned to divide based on the illuion of static skin “colors” which are culturally ascribed almost like the colors of a flag and all of its national imaginedness.

Europeans may often have less brown or black melanin than many Arabs. Many Arabs may often have less brown or black than Africans. This is of no more significance than the color of one’s eyes. Moral superiority is not gained by the lack or presence of Melanin in the individual. It is the content of one’s heart and the actions that manifest from it that make one a Muslim or a kaffir. Appearances are often trappings of Shaiytan. May those who seek the Truth, find it.

In 1948, Professor and Historian A.J. Toynbee, wrote that: “The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue.”

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, “Malcolm X”, noted this as he broke from the previously-held `asabiyyah that divided him from so many Muslim brothers and sisters globally. Following his Hajj, he described that: “There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white.

“You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in and with every form of intelligent search for truth.

“During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white’ Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
“We are truly all the same-brothers.
“All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

What greater final word on the matter could there possibly be than this conclusion from so holy a shahid as brother Malcolm?