There is a lot of attention being given to racism at the moment due to the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina. Racial supremacists exist and they believe that one race is superior to all others.

So, let’s talk. What does Islam say about racism? Is there such thing as racial superiority?

The thirteenth line of Surah Al-Hujuraat (The Rooms) translates roughly to English as:
“Oh you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware” (49:13).

It does not matter where you were born. Allah SWT created people of different skin tones for a reason. There are different cultures for a reason. There are different nations for a reason.

Reason: To get to know each other.

My own closet has a mix of Western, Pakistani, and Afghani clothes. I have a Tunisian friend who has Western, Tunisian, Egyptian, and Pakistani clothes in her closet. I have a Pakistani friend who is fully immersed in Korean culture. He is learning the language, cooking the food, enjoying their entertainment industry. He recently became a black belt in the Korean martial art, Tae Kwon Do.

Even though we have never been to Korea, Pakistan, Egypt, and Afghanistan, that does not stop us from learning what we can of their culture.

There is no room in Islam for racism. Allah SWT did not create different races of humans so that one could claim they are better than the other. He created them so that we could learn from each other; so that we could meet each other and have something to talk about instead of having one uniform global culture. Can you imagine how boring a world of one singular culture would be? By sharing experiences, we open the floor for all communication. Communicating what one culture requires as part of its traditions and values creates an understanding of their lifestyles. That is interesting. That is something you can have entire conversations about.

Every Muslim is a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ in Islam. This terminology was chosen intentionally to level the field amongst ourselves. Socially and financially we find ourselves divided into classes. But when we stand in jama’ah and pray to Allah SWT, we are all equals. Our skin colour does not matter in the eyes of our Creator. He made us perfect.
Allah SWT took four oaths in Surah At-Tin (The Fig) before declaring that He created us in the best and most perfect of forms. This means that all of mankind was created in equal perfection. We cannot say that one race is better than another; that one skin tone is more visually pleasing than any other. There is no such thing as racial superiority in religion.

There is a natural fear of the unknown in humans and we avoid this to protect ourselves. This being said, in order to meet this fear, people must be challenged to learn. It is the failure to understand a subject that causes to fear and avoid it. Educating yourself and understanding any subject can lead to tolerance and, really, truly, seriously, a whole new world. If people can learn to be open to differences in appearance and opinion, violent confrontations like the one in Charleston, South Carolina can be prevented.

For those of you who are interested in a thought-provoking read about racism I recommend you try the dystopian Y.A. novel, ‘Noughts & Crosses’ by Malorie Blackman.


Photo Credits: Gerry Lauzon on Flickr 

About The Author

Uni Grad

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