By: Hadiya Abdelrahman
The Prophet said: Let people stop boasting about their ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. All men are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).
“I am not being racist, but sister, you must be careful of them (insert nationality or color)”.
We are the nation of Muhammad. We are a nation that is defined by its faith, and not the color of its people. Yet, what have we become? We pride ourselves to be followers of a religion that is free of racism. That the only way we judge a person is by their faith and never their background or skin tone. Then why is it that the we have become the most racist of people? We quickly jump to reassure non-Muslims, that unlike other religions, we do not have any tolerance towards racism or inequality based on color. Yet, we soon come to realize that although Islam demands its followers to rid themselves of arrogance that accompanies racism, we, Muslims, have a difficult time following through with it. Our masajid are unofficially, the “Egyptian masjid” or the “Pakistani Masjid, or the “Palestinian masjid”. We do not attempt to erase the borders of racism; we only seem to reinforce them. Do we not remember Prophet Muhammad’s last speech? Have we not looked upon his powerful words as a message in which we lead our lives? Did the Prophet not say,
“O people, Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a black has no superiority over white, nor a white has any superiority over black, except by piety and good action (Taqwa).
Indeed the best among you is the one with the best character (Taqwa).” We pride ourselves with features we were born with. We pride ourselves over a color we did not choose.We look upon ourselves as something we have created without ever considering the Creator. The gift of the heavens was not bestowed upon you when you were born fairer skinned than the rest. The gift of the golden tongue was not given to you when you were raised speaking Arabic. And you certainly are not from the chosen ones if you happen to be from the ‘better’ tribe in Pakistan. We have become a people where Islamic words hang as paintings on our walls, but never in our hearts. We have become a people that faith is spoken about, yet never seen through action. To us, the nur of Iman does not glow on the faces of the dark ones. We sometimes acknowledge the light, yet never acknowledge the one that is being lighted. We can sing praises of the good African American brother who stands shoulder to shoulder with us in salah, yet we cannot bring ourselves to recognize him as a potential for our sister. When has the ummah of Muhammad become so shallow? Where the depth of their faith is determined by the color of those reflecting at the surface? Do we not realize that at the time of death we will all be wrapped by the same simple cloth? We will be questioned about what lies within us, not what we are created with. Our reluctance to break outside the ethnic shell is one of the main factors why our Ummah has become as powerless as it is. Our masajid have become cultural centers of those who are nostalgic of a past in a country where their mother tongue is spoken. Our MSAs have become the “South Asian” or “Arab” organizations. We boast of the diverse ummah of Muhammad, yet we have become the antithesis of his message.
Shoulder to shoulder. Feet to feet. Your eyes on the ground. Stand before Allah. Everything fades but the immense power of Allah. You do not care who stands next to you, for he is your brother. She is your sister. We bow our heads, praying that Allah accepts us. We are on the same journey. Break the boundaries of race. Spit out the seed of arrogance. Remember, dust to dust. Nothing determines our worth except our Iman. We are given a test, a trail version before the full purchase, so do not waste it on trivialities of color, of culture, of mother tongues. This all fades away in front of the immensity of our actions and deeds that determines our akhira. It is not the whiteness of your skin, but the purity of your heart that will determine your worth. Whether you are an Arab, South Asian, Spanish, White, or Black, it is a white cloth you will be wrapped with as you are lowered into the ground. Free yourself from the chains of arrogance and racism, and become, once again, the Ummah of the Prophet Muhamad (SAW).