It was a warm autumn morning. As usual I was deeply engaged in my morning routine, dozing off during class. Noise of some disturbances forced me to come back to my senses and I witnessed something that was not so pleasing. My teacher had made groups for the upcoming presentation project; she was announcing the team members so that we could start the collaboration as soon as possible. The last group had a native girl and the rest foreign members. The girl wore such an adverse reaction that we all knew she didn’t like being there. She started convincing the teacher that she wanted to change the group because she doesn’t speak their language which is a very stupid excuse as they knew her’s. This all convincing exercise went on for a while. During that time the foreign students somehow appeared to be guilty of something they had not done, they seemed a bit frightened and insecure. I on the other hand was baffled, trying to comprehend the situation. In the end, we were all regrouped and I and another student chose the foreign group by our choice.
Since that time something is eating me from inside, the least I could have done was defend those students. Neither was I intimidated by circumstances nor was I at a loss for words. Everything I wanted to say was right there in my mind like pieces of Legos perfectly connected. I am still not sure but I think I hesitated because I was scared and I was scared because I was insecure and I was insecure because I too am a foreigner just like them!
What is so despicable about having a dark colored skin or a light one? Does belonging to some other ethnicity really lower down our value as human beings? Does coming to an understanding so meaningless that we prefer hate over love? We are all different from another, we all strive in our own way, and we all have been through different hardships, isn’t that what makes our world so beautiful!
Racism has existed throughout the history, but during the last 500 – 1000 years racism has had significant effect on history. Islam is against all forms of racism and bigotry, it teaches brotherhood no matter the race or color. Unfortunately, many Muslims nowadays have forgotten what our religion teaches us about racism.
Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:
O mankind, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah is knowing and aware.
Surat Al-Hujurat 49:13
The prophet (peace be upon him ) addressed this issue during his farewell sermon proving the significance of the matter.
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 favoritism of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither red skin over black skin, nor black skin over red skin, except through righteousness. Have I not conveyed the message?
Source: Musnad Ahmad 22978, Grade: Sahih
We should never look down on a person because of his/her race or color. We should come back to the teachings of our religion. We must confront it in ourselves, our communities, and our nation. No one person can do it all or do it alone, but we can all do things to help, and in doing so, work collectively to end racism.