By Imam Abdullah El-Amin
O mankind. We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Surely the most honored of you in the sight of ALLAH is he or she who is the most righteous of you. And ALLAH has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).
There is none more aware of the differences of human beings than the One who created them. It is through the generosity and graciousness of ALLAH that He made us different nations, tribes and colors. Just think for a moment how dull the world would be if everyone were pink and thought exactly alike. We could not learn from each other – and thus, we could not grow. But ALLAH, with His infinite wisdom, has made us different- so we may know each other.
In the early 1960â€™s, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) returned from his pilgrimage to Mecca and made the profound statement that â€œAmerica needs to look at Islam as the answer to its race problem.â€ Here was a man whose mind had been previously clouded by erroneous assertions of Black superiority and Caucasian devilishness. While on hajj he wrote to his wife that he had sat down and eaten with blonde-haired, blue-eyed people and there was no racism there â€“ only brotherhood.
Recently, Mr. Don Imus, radio and television host, made some statements that were deemed to be negatively directed at African-American women. The amount of publicity and his punishment (losing his job) showed the amount of tension it caused and how prevalent racism is in our society. This can be looked at negatively as a sign of hatred, which in some cases it might very well be. But what is more important than firing Don Imus is us directing our thoughts to our differences in the way that Almighty ALLAH looks at us. We Muslim believers are very fortunate because regardless of what our ethnicity or where we live or were born, ALLAH says we are one ummah, and He is Lord (Al-Anbiya:92)
There is a great blessing in recognizing and appreciating the different colors of the human family. ALLAH says that is a sign for us to reflect on. The key point is to reflect on our equal human status rather than our varying hues.
In my nearly 30 years as a Muslim, I am a witness that Muslims, for the most part, look upon other Muslims as brothers and sisters, regardless of their culture, ethnic background, or school of thought. As an example, a Muslim from China can meet a Muslim from the Netherlands while they are vacationing in Brazil, and there is an instant kinship and recognition â€“ and most times a universal greeting of As Salaam alaikum. I have seen this in no other group of people whether it be religious or fraternal. Even Muslims who donâ€™t necessarily like each other still share this kinship. And it is not fake. You know in your soul and heart if someone really likes you or not.
This is a blessing from ALLAH to those who are adherents to the highest form of existence for a human beingâ€¦Islam.
Our charge now is to exercise this brotherhood by more visible interaction of the various Islamic communities. Even if we live, work and play in different areas, we must make a conscious effort to be seen interacting and cooperating with each other. This is not only good for us, but it will also be a sign and a help to those who are not Muslim. It will raise the esteem of Muslims in the general society as having something very positive and beneficial to contribute to the entire world.
Do you want to end racism? â€¦try Islam.
As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin