One of the many aspects of Islam that spoke to me when I was first learning about this beautiful deen was that of equality between races. Racism is something that I have been passionate about for many years and it is something I have no tolerance for. There is no room for racism in our deen and if you are looking for proof of this you won’t have to venture far. Even in the prayer we are to stand shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe. Why? Put simply, it is to keep shaytan away. This requirement in our prayer alone is a significant clue that we are not to feel superior to another for any reason, unquestionably race. Imagine, standing toe to toe and shoulder to shoulder and actually touch someone during prayer while having enmity in your heart for the brother or sister that is touching you. How acceptable is that prayer going to be?
When Prophet Mohammed (SWS) gave his famous sermon at Arafat he wasn’t putting on airs. He lived his words and was our perfect role model. Throughout his mission he did things to oppose ideas that kept people in unfair boxes and binaries. When he made Bilal the first muadthan he did not do it with conjecture. It was to make a statement. The Prophet (SWS) gave Bilal distinction and an honorable place in our great ummah. Futhermore, the Prophet (SWS) made specific mention to racism when he said, “an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab… every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.” He brought this up because he knew it was something that we humans could easily fall into and it is something that we should utterly avoid.
As a convert, it is really interesting to find that many of the ways Islam uplifts humanity to become one often times seem to be merely theories once you become a part of this ummah. How is it that we can pray five times a day yet hate someone for their race? The idea of hating someone based on the color of their skin is truly ridiculous as no one can control into which race they will be born. Allah (AZJ) said in the Quran, “Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God’s sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. “ (The Qur’an , 49:13) It is very shocking for me to hear words being used in Arabic, for example, that would never be acceptable to our North American counterparts. It is common for someone to complain that Westerners are racists and then in the same breath call a black person abd. The Prophet (SWS) said, “Speak a good word or remain silent.” I am not an Arab, and I am by no means picking on Arabs, but this is the word I have heard, and this is the word I know.
I realize that this problem is prevalent in all races. In addition, I cannot sit here and lump every single Muslim together, and that is not what I am trying to do. Not all Muslims are racist, just as not all Muslims are tolerant. However, we all need to be aware of this negative anomaly within our communities and assert it in order to truly live as Allah (AZJ) intended for us. In bringing these issues forward and creating a dialogue we can, inchAllah, do just that. After all, in actuality there is only one true race, the human race.