Who ever says the Prophet was black is to be killed!

“Oh, Mankind! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes so that you might come to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, All-Aware.” (Qur’an 49:13)

Ahmad ibn Sulayman, Sahnun’s companion, said “that whoever says that the Prophet was black is killed. The Prophet was not black.”

Source: Qadi Iyad http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/alshifa/pt4ch1sec5.htm

Recently I was discussion with someone named ‘Rider’ who had commented under the recent post titled “Are Arabs superior to Malays and everyone else? Imam Shafi’i and Ibn Taymiyyah think so!”

Rider seems to suggest that it is quite fine to treat African Americans differently from Caucasians in the United States as long as ultimately we are all treated spiritually equal (from our creator).

So those Muslim converts rather they are converts from the Dalit in India, or our African American sisters and brothers coming to Islam expecting not to be treated in a prejudiced manner may need to reassess the reasons for which they came into Islam.

Now coming to this statement.

Ahmad ibn Sulayman, Sahnun’s companion, said “that whoever says that the Prophet was black is killed. The Prophet was not black.”

If I was an apologist for “classical scholarship” I would reply and say, this whole text was really aimed at those who falsely attributed something to the Blessed Messenger (saw) that is not true. Thus, the issue is not rather or not Blessed Messenger (saw) was ‘black’ or not but rather or not someone attributed a false ascription to him. That is what my defend “classical scholarship” at all cost response would be.

However; my rationale I am no longer prepared to defend this kind of nonsense says, “That is all fine and well except that the person could have simply stated, ‘falsely ascribing anything to the Prophet (saw) is punishable by death’.”

It must have been such an issue for this particular point (ascribing blackness) to be highlighted.

Seems like it may even have some merit in it and Allah (swt) knows best. Lastly, it still does not answer the point, why would death be issued against anyone who made false physical descriptions about the Blessed Messenger (saw)? Like if they said He (saw) was 5 9in instead of 5 8in? Or if they said that He (saw) had a broad forehead instead of around one? Seems like correcting someone would be in order rather than a knee-jerk emotional reaction like this. So this drives home the point that this statement seems embedded in some of the more racist elements in the Muslim ummah. Racism is a disease of the heart. So ironically even a classical text called “Al Shifa” (Healing, Purification, Cure) didn’t seem to be free of this himself. Wallahu ‘Alim!

However, I now understand that Muslims like Rider may understand  “Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him.” to mean that yes we are equal in the sight of Allah, however, the understanding of Islam that they have is that some people even among Muslims can be given preference and special treatment simply based upon their ethnic-racial origins.

It is now a curiosity of mine on how they would interact with the Brahman philosophical schools that give sound arguments to the caste system or maybe they wouldn’t try to approach from that angle, seeing that Islam can from Rider’s perspective, share some strong similarities with the Brahman caste system.

Or how appropriate these teachings may not be in a nation like Singapore that teaches meritocracy not based upon purported notions of racial superiority.  Should a nation like Singapore not only be on guard against certain aspects of the Salafi movement but equally should nations like Singapore and others engage more robustly with such concepts coming from ‘traditionalist’.

I was wondering how this bias may cause prejudice among our local Imams, Shyookh, or even Professors when it came to their interaction with people of other races, even judging their term papers.  For example: Let us say that these professors or teachers had this concept that the Arabs are superior to non-Arabs. How might this affect a situation where the Chinese student is performing better than the Arab student in a particular field? Assuming that this is true and that we have some elements in our Muslim community who hold this position on what consistent basis should they be allowed to hold teaching positions or positions of authority over other ethnic groups.

This is a grave matter that any society that has a growing Muslim population needs to look at quite seriously and earnestly.  Allah (swt) knows best and Allah’s help is sought.

Interesting times we live in.


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4 responses to “Who ever says the Prophet was black is to be killed!

  1. Abu Salaam

    Salaam bro,

    Before getting bent out of shape what book was this in? Is it a Hadith? What about the fact that the Prophet’s milk mom who was black? What about his last sermon….”No Arab has superiority over a non-Arab….black, white, etc.”? We all know about Bilal etc. What about the Ayat that mentions being created in different tribes and nations in order to get to know one another not despise one another? When the early Muslims made the first hijrah where did they go? Ethiopia… Before trying to trace the behavior of some Muslim professors or Muslim Professionals to that one saying that you came across, dig a little deeper. They probably have never read or heard of it themselves. Many Muslims are very ignorant of their religion and don’t study. Knowledge would change a lot of things in our ummah today. I’m referring to reverts and “born” Muslims. For instance what is a sutra? What is the most important concept in Islam? Are you allowed to combine your salaah when you’re sick? How about combining and shortening your salaah? Is it even permissible? If so what’s the distance? If there’s bad weather are we allowed to combine our salaah in a group? How about reasons to skip the mandatory jumuah prayer? Is that allowed?

    The point is that just because a Muslim says or does something it doesn’t make it permissible, true, halaal, etc. I can’t count the many times that a Muslim has said something like “In my country we do this”. As if their country provides some proof of authenticity. I know Muslims that don’t make salaah but they only eat 100% Halaal while smoking cigarettes… What’s more important? The Shaytan makes small things seem big and big things seem small.

    Lastly Ibn-Taymeeyah wasn’t an Arab himself…

    Was salaam

    • Bismillah,

      Walakum salaam wr wb.

      If you read the article you will see the source that is quoted. I agree with your sentiments that Islam (at it’s core) does not teach this. Yet, we need to confront a reality that will creep up on sooner than expected (especially those of you following) so called “traditional Islam” which has been couched in the language of acceptance and inclusion for modern consumption. As for me I am not concerned with what Muslims are or are not doing, however; it seems that you agree that even our scholars are not infallible, and Al hamdulillah that is the right trajectory respected brother.

      May Allah (swt) bless you and your family in the new year ahead!

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