When we are discussing about the concept of RACISM & ETHNOCENTRISM. We are referring to issues like Racial Discrimination, Tribalism, Bigotry, Segregation, Apartheid, Prejudice, Partiality, Intolerance, Bias, Unfairness and favoritism.
Now, what does Almighty Allah and His Prophet says about this negative tendencies.
The Prophet (saw) warned us about displaying attitudes of false pride based on race, colour, riches, family, and ancestral ties. He vehemently expressed his opposition towards such unbecoming boastful behaviour. And advised the believers to avoid such behaviour.
Abu Hurayrah related that Allah’s Messenger said: Allah, Most High, has removed from you the pride of Jahiliyah (the age of spiritual darkness before Islam) and boasting of ancestors. One can either be a pious believer or a miserable sinner.
You are the sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust. Let people stop boasting about their ancestors, who are merely fuel in hell, or they will certainly be of lesser account with Allah than the beetle that rolls on the ground with its nose.
One very common poisonous habit that is present across all ethnic groups and nations today is pride of ancestry or tribal affiliation. This makes some feel superior over others who are of a different tribe or clan. This evil superiority complex has been strongly condemned by the Prophet. In fact, Allah’s Messenger has warned that those who do not desist from boasting and being arrogant concerning their ancestry will be fuel for the hell fire, also, in the sight of Allah, they will be of lesser significance than a lowly, repulsive insect.
Those who have adopted this habit of boasting about their tribe and clan should know that they are directly emulating Satan. He became proud when he was commanded by Allah to prostrate to Adam. He felt he was better than Adam because he had been created from smokeless fire, while Adam had been created from dust.
Almighty Allah says: And We have certainly created you, (0 Humankind), and gave you human form. Then We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam so they prostrate4 except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated.
Allah said to Him: “What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you? Satan said: I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.
Allah said: Descend from it (Paradise), for it is not for you to be arrogant therein. So get out; indeed, you are of the debased”. (7.11-13)
It is a sheer ignorance to harbor a sense of pride and feel we are superior to people simply because we are from a different race, tribe, or community. In reality, we are not the ones who choose to be born into a specific tribe or race.
It is Allah who decides into what nation we are born. It is part of His decree, and none of us has a say in the matter.
Some people, however, still feel they are above others only because they are fair-skinned, African, Asian or Arab.
Furthermore, Islam recognises that all human beings have descended from the same parents. As such, we are all equal in the sight of Allah, regardless of our skin colour, race, tribe, language, clan, sex or amount of wealth. In Islam, our different languages and colours are not reasons to boast, look down in contempt upon others, or despise one another. These different skin colours and languages, rather, are for us to identify each other and appreciate the powers of Allah in creating such diversity. By understanding this idea, we can cherish the miracles of Allah’s creation and thus fear Him and humble ourselves in our daily lives.
Almighty Allah has said: “And of His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colours. Indeed in that are signs for those who has knowledge” 30:22
He further, in other verse in 49:13: “0 humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despire each other. Verily, the most honourable amongst you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous. And Allah has full knowledge and is Well-Acquainted with all things”.
The implications of the above verses are that anyone who boasts or adopts an air of pride and superiority because of his/her skin, colour, race or tribe and ridicules others is totally ignorant of Allah’s injunctions.
There is no room for superiority or inferiority complexes in Islam. Allah and His Messenger never gave us that right, because these are evil and highly condemnable. They are the root causes of many divisions, injustice and troubles in our society.
And Almighty Allah has said: Let not a people ridicule or scorn or belittle another people; perhaps they may be better than them. Nor let women ridicule other women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by offensive nicknames. Wretched is the name mention of disobedience after one’s faith.  And whoever does not repent — then it is those who are the wrongdoers. 49:11
Regardless of the religion which they eventually adopt (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, or Hinduism) everyone is born into a state of submission. Hence, no one can claim the ownership of Islam and feel superior merely by being born to Muslim parents. Similarly, one must not feel that she/he is above others only because she/he has studied Islam a great deal; one may have studied Islam extensively and yet may not implement or adhere to its teachings.
Likewise, Muslims should not harbor any sense of inferiority because they have embraced Islam from another religion; they should not feel ashamed and out of place. Indeed, it is often only a matter of time before a revert to Islam will be like the rest. We should also not feel below others because we are poor or from a low socio-economic class, because these are matters that can change quickly.
The Prophet gave us clear guidance, both through his practical pattern of life and in his statements, on how to eradicate all forms of racism and tribalism; at the same time, he also gave us guidance on how to achieving unity and Islamic brotherhood based on true love.
The Prophet said in his last sermon (according to his biographers):
0 people, verily your Lord and Sustainer is One, and your ancestor is one. All of you descend from Adam, and Adam was made of earth. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab or for a non-Arab over an Arab; neither for a fair-skinned man over a dark-skinned man, nor for a dark-skinned man over a fair-skinned man, except the superiority gain through Taqwa. Indeed, the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most deeply conscious of Allah
When we look at the companions of Allah’s Messenger we find a mixture of colours and races together as one family. These included:
-Bilal ibn Rabah – A black former slave from Africa.
-Suhayb ar-Roomi – A European from Rome.
-Salman al-Farisi – A Persian from Asia.
-Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq – A pure Arab.
From where, then, does the racism that we see in the Muslim community emanate? It stems from a lack of understanding of the true meaning of Islam and from our ignorant, corrupted cultures, Black African racism, White supremacy, Arab presumption, and Indian prejudices; all are condemned in Islam. Whoever perpetuates them endangers his/her religion.
Examples of Racial Discrimination
Several examples of the poisonous and destructive nature of tribalism and racism have been seen in recent times.
-The regular killing of Blacks in America
-Tribalist tendencies amongst Muslims.
-Genocide in Rwanda and Burundi.
-The turmoil in Somalia fuelled by pride and discrimination due to clannish superiority complexes.
The result of these conflict was utterly devastation. By reflecting upon the consequences of these conflicts, we can indeed understand why the Prophet warned us so sternly against pride and scorning people.
May Allah enable us to rise above such petty differences in terms of race, colour, caste, creed, socio-economic status, tribe and unite us as one Ummah. Ameen.

Related News