5 Reasons Race Still Matters in Religion


slave arab

Race Matters in Islam

There is significant evidence of racism in Islamic literature and culture. At the foundation of the bigotry is a common belief in the superiority of Arabs and their divine right to impose their culture upon others.

In The History of the Prophets and Kings, Vol. 9, p. 69, a historical and religious chronicle written by Muslim historian Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838-923), the author writes:

“Arabs are the most noble people in lineage, the most prominent, and the best in deeds. We were the first to respond to the call of the Prophet. We are Allah’s helpers and the viziers of His Messenger. We fight people until they believe in Allah. He who believes in Allah and His Messenger has protected his life and possessions from us. As for one who disbelieves, we will fight him forever in Allah’s Cause. Killing him is a small matter to us.”

There are also several racially disparaging words aimed at Black people in some of Islam’s most rigorously authenticated traditional texts or hadiths, such as in the Sahih Bukhari, where it is written “You should listen to and obey your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.” — Sahih Bukhari 9:89:256

Also the Curse of Ham mythology is interpreted in al-Tabari’s text as the following:

“Ham [Africans] begat all those who are black and curly-haired, while Japheth [Turks] begat all those who are full-faced with small eyes, and Shem [Arabs] begat everyone who is handsome of face with beautiful hair. Noah prayed that the hair of Ham’s descendants would not grow beyond their ears, and that whenever his descendants met Shem’s, the latter would enslave them.” — Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 21, p. 21

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