What is Islam’s Stance on Racism?

Islam teaches that all people are equal and the only difference between people is their level of piety and god consciousness. In the Qur’an, it clearly states:

“Oh Mankind, We (God) created you from a single pair of a male and a female (Adam and Eve), and made you into tribes and nations so that you may know one another (not so that you despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah (God) is he who is most righteous of you.”
The Qur’an, Chapter 49, Verse 13

So all humans descend from Adam and Eve. In that sense, we are all essentially brothers and sisters. Our differing colours and diversity is not there to cause division but as a method of recognising one another. Such traits do not elevate a person’s status but rather our status with God is based on our level of piety and righteousness. In a further verse from the Qur’an:

“And amongst his signs is the creation of heaven and the earth, and the diversity of your language and colours; Verily, in these are signs for those who have knowledge.”
The Qur’an, Chapter 30, Verse 22

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him – pbuh) is authentically reported to have said:

“Allah does not look at your appearances or wealth but looks at your actions”.

The Prophet (pbuh) also reiterated this point in his last sermon to the people, as can be seen from the following excerpt:

“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).
The Prophet’s Last Sermon [reported in Baihaqi]

As can be seen from the above quote, Islam is the antidote to racism, since in Islam there is no tolerance for racism. Muslims feel it is a duty to convey these messages within our wider society and work towards the common good, both in word and deed.

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