Last sermon series: Why ‘not being racist’ isn’t enough
As part of his last sermon, our dear Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made it abundantly clear that racism is not part of his path and is something that Muslims should stay away from.
On the day of his farewell sermon, emotions ran high as he said to his Ummah, those standing before him and those absorbing his wisdom through studying his life: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action."
His words sharply declared that racial or ethnic superiority holds no value in the eyes of Allah, and only one's moral character and God consciousness gives you a higher ranking.
Yet as a society, while Muslims accept the words of our beloved messenger and understand why we are all equal in the eyes of Allah, the disease of racism prevents Muslims from doing what they have been commanded to do in treating people equally.
This isn’t an issue exclusive to Muslims – there is discrimination and elitism in all forms of human life, but as we strive for excellence – ihsan – we must tackle these issues head on.
Anti-racism is a principle deeply ingrained within the teachings and values of Islam. Islam recognises and emphasises the equality and dignity of all human beings, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or cultural background.
As Muslims, not only must we unequivocally condemns racism, it’s our duty to actively rise up against it when we see it take place at schools, workplaces, general public and especially in our own homes.
The Islamic concept of tawhid, the belief in the oneness of Allah, forms the basis of equality in Islam because we share the same Creator, regardless of who we are.
The Qur’an explicity states: "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you" (49:13).
What we need to learn from this is rather than using race and culture as a barrier and social comfort zone, we need to go beyond this by approaching other cultures with curiosity and love instead of fear and conditioned hate.
The secret to doing this? Easy: You treat people as individuals instead of projections of your own conscious and unconscious prejudices.
Ultimately, the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) serves as a profound example of anti-racism in action. Throughout his life, he demonstrated the principles of justice, equality, and respect for all individuals, regardless of their racial or ethnic background.
He abolished the pre-Islamic notion of racial superiority, which is what Muslims who have been victim of racism say is coming back.
Anti-racism isn’t just an ethos, as Muslims, it’s our duty. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "A believer is a mirror to his brother. When he sees any fault in him, he should correct it" (Abu Hurayrah), so not only is it our responsibility to simply not be racist, but we need to stand against it when we see it happen.
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