There is absolutely no racism in Islam
Fatwa No: 274222

Question

.How did prophet muhamed viewed black muslims ? black people in general ? .What is your opinions on the following : 1. Mohammed referred to Blacks as "raisin heads". (Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 1, no. 662 and vol. 9, no. 256). 2. In another Hadith, Mohammed is quoted as saying that Blacks are, "pug-nosed slaves". (Sahih Moslem vol. 9, p. 46-47). 3. I heard the Apostle say: ‘Whoever wants to see Satan should look at Nabtal!' He was a black man with long flowing hair, inflamed eyes, and dark ruddy cheeks…. Allah sent down concerning him: ‘To those who annoy the Prophet there is a painful doom." [9:61] "Gabriel came to Muhammad and said, ‘If a black man comes to you his heart is more gross than a donkey's.' Ishaq 243 4. Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle said, "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 5. "Abu Darda reported that the Holy Prophet said: Allah created Adam when he created him (sic). Then He stroke (sic) his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds, and He stroke (sic) his left shoulder and took out a black race as if they were coals. Then He said to those who were in his right side: Towards paradise and I don't care. He said to those who were on his left shoulder: Towards Hell and I don't care. - Ahmad" These are only few, I would really appreciate if I can get some explanations. Thank you

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

We previously explained with evidence that piety and faith are the sole criteria for appraising the value and worth of individuals and that there is no racism in Islam and no differentiation based on color, race or the like. It is important that you refer to Fataawa 86205 and 84769.

As for the Ahaadeeth about the obligation of obedience to the ruler, they should be understood within that context - that is, the principle of equality. These Ahaadeeth highlight that whoever assumes the reins of power should be obeyed regardless of his color or race. They do not imply contempt but a blessing. They do not imply racism but rather eliminate racism so that bigoted people do not take it as a pretext to rebel against a black person if he becomes the ruler.

The Hadeeth means that the black color is not an impediment or a defect but rather that obedience is obligatory to a black ruler, as it is to a non-black one, as soon as he assumes authority. The basic requirement is that he governs the affairs of people in accordance with the Sharee‘ah of Allaah, The Exalted. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said in the Farewell Hajj: "If a black slave with a mutilated nose is appointed to govern you, and he leads you according to the Book of Allaah the Exalted, then listen to him and obey." [Muslim] An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "Scholars underlined that the Hadeeth means that as long as the Muslim ruler adheres to the teachings of Islam and calls people to the Book of Allaah, it is incumbent on Muslims to obey him."

Also, the Hadeeth to which you referred in the question does not suggest that all black people have raisin-like heads; rather, it means that Muslims are obliged to obey the Muslim ruler placed in authority over them even if he looks like that.

As for the Hadeeth about Nabtal, it has not been cited by any of the Sunan compilers (Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa'i, At-Tirmithi and Ibn Maajah). It has been cited only by Ibn Is-haaq in his book Al-Maghaazi. It was quoted from him in some books about the occasions of the Quranic revelations (Asbaab An-Nuzool). The author of As-Saheeh Al-Musnad min Asbaab An-Nuzool (a collection of authenticated Ahaadeeth concerning the occasions of the Quranic revelations) did not list the Hadeeth among the Saheeh Ahaadeeth cited in this chapter. Even if we assume that it is Saheeh (authentic), the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not dispraise Nabtal because of his color or appearance but rather his impiety and ill manners.

With regard to the Hadeeth reported by Abu Ad-Dardaa'  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him it is Dha‘eef (weak); Al-Arnaa’oot classified it as Dha‘eef in his revision of Imaam Ahmad's Musnad. Even if we assumed that the Hadeeth is Saheeh, it does not imply contempt of black people and does not indicate that all black people will go to Hell. It rather describes that the faces of the inhabitants of the Hellfire will be blackened because of their sins and disbelief. Al-Munaawi said in his commentary on the saying of Ibn Mas‘ood: "A slave (of Allaah) continues to lie until a black apot is scratched on his heart, until his whole heart becomes black": "He described it as black because black is the color of disbelief; Allaah, The Exalted, described the faces of the disbelievers in the Hereafter as 'black'; He says (what means): {On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black, [to them it will be said], "Did you disbelieve after your belief? Then taste the punishment for what you used to reject."} [Quran 3:106]" [Faydh Al-Qadeer]

In brief, it is impermissible to interpret the Ahaadeeth out of their context in the light of some incorrect ideas that settle in some people's minds. They are to be understood on the basis of what the just Sharee‘ah presents and according to what is intended by it.

Allaah Knows best.

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