How often are the undertones of racism expressed in our opinions. We sometimes make subtle jokes or judgements that incriminate people of colour. We easily suspect a black man over a white man – does this ring a bell? Whilst many will deny that they are racist persons, it is an unfortunate truth that racism lies in the depths of our hearts.
What is racism?
It can be defined as; “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”
So this includes making racial remarks of someone who is of a different skin colour.
Because of an uneasiness towards South Africa’s troubled past, we often transport ourselves to a utopia, oft reciting the mantra: ‘we are no longer racist. We all live together in peace.’
But is this really true?
The answer is a deafening no.
South Africa has a long way to go from being completely racist to anti-racist. And I would like to implicate the Muslim community in particular. Because Islam teaches us oh-so-clearly that racism is rejected in our teachings both as Muslim and as human beings
Breaking down the barrier
I am well aware that one article will not convince the entire rainbow nation, but whoever will derive some positive aspect, this is for you.
The Prophet (SAW) said ; “Truly your blood, your property, and your honor are inviolable.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #1739]
From the above we can deduce that the Apostle of Allah distinctively warned against violating ones family, ones property and ones honour.
What is family and honour?
Family and honour are all that make a person genetically; physically and emotionally. Insulting someone physically and emotionally is thus a violation. To insult someone based on their appearance, especially in terms of their skin colour is a violation crossed beyond limits. As we know, Allah has created all of us. We do not choose what family we are born into and we cannot choose the colour of our skin.
Therefore, discriminating against a person of a different colour because their skin colour is different to yours, or participating in racial stereotyping and the like; you are violating that person and you have directly insulted the creation of your Lord. Who creates people of colour? Allah alone.
“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious. Truly, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Quran, 49:13)
Are you going to hold such a heavy burden in the court of Allah? I should hope not. So discard your racist ideals.
Not so easy? It really is. People describe racism as being innate. Really? Ask yourself this question? Can you give up a bad habit such as smoking? Can a person give up backbiting? The answer is yes for both.
So likewise, you can surely give up your racist lifestyle. As smoking is a lifestyle, so is racism. Is this the society we choose to live in?
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “O people! Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety.”[Musnad Ahmad, #22978.]
DID YOU KNOW?
Or Sayyidina Bilaal (RA)? Or maybe, Sayyidatina Haleemah (RA) the wet nurse of Rasullulah (SAW) was a black woman?
Oh, but there are countless Sahaabah and heroes in Islam that were people of different colour.
Ever since the days of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Islam has provided a vivid example of how racism can be ended. The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah shows the real Islamic brotherhood of all races and nations, when about two million Muslims from all over the world come to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage.
Islam is a religion of justice, peace and reason. Allah has stated:
“Truly God commands you to give back trusts to those to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice….” (Quran,4:58)
And He has said:
“ …And act justly. Truly, God loves those who are just.” (Quran, 49:9)
We should even be just with those who we hate, as Allah has said:
“…And let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety….” (Quran, 5:8)
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “People, beware of injustice, for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2447.]
And those who have not gotten their rights (i.e. what they have a just claim to) in this life will receive them on the Day of Judgment, as the Prophet (SAW) said: “On the Day of Judgment, rights will be given to those to whom they are due (and wrongs will be redressed)…” [Saheeh Muslim, #2582]
The worst part, is to express your racism to others, so that it will have an influence on them. The best way to rid yourself of racism is to dispel negative connotations to people of colour, to voice only what is good and to embrace all without having any association to their color –despite the persons actions being good or bad. See the person for who they are. It is your duty to teach your children and those around you about equality.
Nabeela Vadi – Cii Radio