Is Islam racist?

It is claimed that Islam is an anti-black religion and that it favours the white colour. Although it has already been proven that there is no racism in Islam, enemies of Islam do not cease with their mischief. It appears that the primary reason for this is the fact that our black brothers and sisters are increasingly turning to Islam [1][2][3][4][5] and the enemies of Islam do not like it. Our brothers and sisters consider Islam as the natural religion of black people. Hence, those burning in rage, coming up with absurd allegations is understandable.

They present a few fabrications and unreliable narrations from al-Tabari that blacks were created to be enslaved. The reality behind these is that they are Israelite narrations copied into the books of Islamic history and those who compiled these books were not lax about it. Consider the following:

Islamic historians would simply compile all the known narrations about a certain event, regardless of how authentic or reliable each of those narrations were. They would copy the Isnads (chains of transmitters) into their books, in order that the Muhaditheen (scholars of Hadith) could determine which narration was Sahih/Hasan (authentic/good) and which was da’if (weak) or even mawdoo (fabricated). In other words, the historians compiled the narrations, and the Muhaditheen authenticated them. Therefore, based on the above, we find that Tareekh at-Tabari is simply a collection of narrations on certain events; some of these narrations are accurate, whereas others are not. The authenticity of each narration depends on the Isnad (chain of transmitters): if the narration was transmitted by reliable narrators, then it would be accepted as valid, but if it was transmitted by unreliable people, then the narration was to be disregarded. Tabari says in a disclaimer in the introduction of his book:

I shall likewise mention those (narrators) who came after them, giving additional information about them. I do this so that it can be clarified whose transmission (of traditions) is praised and whose information is transmitted, whose transmission is to be rejected and whose transmission is to be disregarded…The reader should know that with respect to all I have mentioned and made it a condition to set down in this book of mine, I rely upon traditions and reports which have been transmitted and which I attribute to their transmitters. I rely only very rarely upon (my own) rationality and internal thought processes. For no knowledge of the history of men of the past and of recent men and events is attainable by those who were not able to observe them and did not live in their time, except through information and transmission produced by informants and transmitters. This knowledge cannot be brought out by reason or produced by internal thought processes. This book of mine may contain some information mentioned by me on the authority of certain men of the past, which the reader may disapprove of and the listener may find detestable, because he can find nothing sound and no real meaning in it. In such cases, he should know that it is not my fault that such information comes to him, but the fault of someone who transmitted it to me. I have merely reported it as it was reported to me (Introduction to Tareekh al-Tabari, vol. 1).

Hence, if one finds a shocking narration recorded in Islamic books of history, one has to be careful before assuming them to be the words of the Prophet (ﷺ). Discussing these would be fruitless as these are fabrications and not the words of the Prophet (ﷺ). Let us take a look another narration presented by those burning with rage:

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, Vol. 3, p. 117. Al-Tirmidhi No. 38].

Presenting the Hadith the way they put it is necessary to show their distortions. Hadith scholars dispute the authenticity of the narration; however, assuming for the sake of argument that it is authentic, let us take a look at the narration in its proper wordings:

خلق الله آدم حين خلقه ، فضرب كتفه اليمنى ، فأخرج ذرية بيضاء كأنهم الذر ، وضرب كتفه اليسرى فأخرج ذرية سوداء كأنهم الحمم ، فقال للذي في يمينه : إلى الجنة ، ولا أبالي ، وقال للذي في كتفه اليسرى : إلى النار ، ولا أبالي

Allah created Adam and when He created him, He struck his right shoulder from where He took out bright offspring as if they were corn, and He struck his left shoulder and took out dark offspring as if they were charcoal. Then He said to those on the right ‘For paradise and I do not mind’ and He said to those on the left ‘For hell and I do not mind’.

It is clear that the original passage from Islam haters is deceptive. The Arabic does not mention white or black race and it would be wrong to think so as there are more than just the white and black races. The Arabic word (ذرية) refers to offspring or descendants. The Arabic words (بيضاء) and (سوداء) can either be white and black or they can also be bright and dark.

This is similar to the following verse in the Qur’an:

يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوهٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ اسْوَدَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ أَكَفَرْتُمْ بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ فَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ * وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ ابْيَضَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ فَفِي رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

On the Day [some] faces will turn bright and [some] faces will turn dark. As for those whose faces turn dark, [to them it will be said], “Did you disbelieve after your belief? Then taste the punishment for what you used to reject.” [Qur’an 3:106]

Here we see that the faces would turn bright or dark on that day i.e. on the Day of Judgment. This means that brightness or darkness on the face would be on that day and a white or a black face in this world is not what it meant. To think so would be absurd as it is against the verse and as also discussed before.

Moreover, whenever I read this verse, I imagined something like this:


The image is only presented to convey a general idea and one should not imagine the Day of Judgment to be similar. The point is that some faces (or beings) would be bright while others would be dark (perhaps as if out of spotlight).

To conclude, only a racist person would understand the Qur’anic verse and Hadith to be biased and discriminatory. How is it possible that the Prophet (ﷺ) would discriminate against blacks when he appointed a black man to be a Mu’adhin (Saheeh Muslim, book 4, Hadith no. 741), and said that his footsteps were ahead of his in paradise (Saheeh Bukhari, vol. 2, book 21, Hadith no. 250) and gave him the honor to enter the Ka’bah with him (Saheeh Bukhari, vol. 4, book 52, Hadith no. 231)?

The enemies of Islam are not only racist but also miscreants deliberately attempting to twist and turn the facts in their favour. Moreover, we Muslims in our daily language say that such and such a person has noor (light) on his face irrespective of the skin colour referring to the faith and the fresh and happy look that comes along with it.

Indeed, Allah () knows best.


4 thoughts on “Is Islam racist?

  1. Jazakallahu khair may Allah ta Alaa put barakah in everything you do I would like to add this if you don’t mind

    Islam is against all forms of racism . Racism is the belief that one race is superior to another, or one color of skin is superior to another, or the people of one country are superior to another. Such beliefs are the characteristic of pre-Islamic ignorance (jahiliyyah). In Islam, we believe all races are equal to Allah and the only characteristic that makes someone superior to another is righteousness (taqwa).

    Allah has dignified all of the children of Adam, all human beings and all races in the world.

    Allah said:

    وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا

    We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with definite preference.

    Surat Al-Isra 17:70

    Allah created different races and tribes so that different peoples would recognize each other and learn from each other, not so that the races would fight each other.

    Allah said:

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

    O people, We have created you male and female and made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most noble of you to Allah is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah is knowing and aware.

    Surat Al-Hujurat 49:13

    In fact, Allah created different skin colors and languages as a sign of His creative power.

    Allah said:

    وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ

    Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Verily, in that are signs for people of knowledge.

    Surat Ar-Rum 30:22

    Abu Musa reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى خَلَقَ آدَمَ مِنْ قَبْضَةٍ قَبَضَهَا مِنْ جَمِيعِ الْأَرْضِ فَجَاءَ بَنُو آدَمَ عَلَى قَدْرِ الْأَرْضِ فَجَاءَ مِنْهُمْ الْأَحْمَرُ وَالْأَبْيَضُ وَالْأَسْوَدُ وَبَيْنَ ذَلِكَ وَالسَّهْلُ وَالْحَزْنُ وَالْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ

    Verily, Allah the Exalted 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.

    Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2955, Grade: Sahih

    Righteousness is the only quality that makes someone virtuous in the sight of Allah, not race or skin color or lineage or country. This teaching against racism was delivered by the Prophet during his farewell sermon, indicating how important he believed it was to the message of Islam.

    Abu Nadrah reported: I heard the farewell sermon of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said:

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَلَا إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّ أَبَاكُمْ وَاحِدٌ أَلَا لَا فَضْلَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلَى أَعْجَمِيٍّ وَلَا لِعَجَمِيٍّ عَلَى عَرَبِيٍّ وَلَا لِأَحْمَرَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ وَلَا أَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَحْمَرَ إِلَّا بِالتَّقْوَى أَبَلَّغْتُ

    O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no virtue 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?

    Source: Musnad Ahmad 22978, Grade: Sahih

    Uqbah ibn Amir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

    لَيْسَ لأَحَدٍ عَلَى أَحَدٍ فَضْلٌ إِلا بِالدِّينِ أَوْ عَمَلٍ صَالِحٍ حَسْبُ الرَّجُلِ أَنْ يَكُونَ فَاحِشًا بَذِيًّا بَخِيلا جَبَانًا

    No one is better than anyone else except by religion or good deeds. It is sufficient evil for a man to be profane, vulgar, greedy, or cowardly.

    Source: Shu’b al-Iman 4767, Grade: Sahih

    Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

    انْظُرْ فَإِنَّكَ لَيْسَ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْ أَحْمَرَ وَلَا أَسْوَدَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَفْضُلَهُ بِتَقْوَى

    Behold! Verily, there is no good in red skin or black skin, but rather only by virtue of righteousness.

    Source: Musnad Ahmad 20885, Grade: Hasan

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  4. Excellent article ahki ! You said that “Hadith scholars dispute the authenticity of the narration ” .Did the scholars of Hadith considered this Hadith as weak ?

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