There is absolutely no racism in Islam.

There is absolutely no racism in Islam.

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


How did Prophet Muhammed view black Muslims? black people in general?

What is your opinion 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 on his right side: Towards paradise and I do not care. He said to those who were on his left shoulder: Towards Hell and I do not care. –


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, 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.

As for the Hadith about the obligation of obedience to the ruler, they should be understood within that context – that is, the principle of equality. These Ahadith 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 Hadith 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 Shari’ah of Allah, The Exalted.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, 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 Allah the Exalted, then listen to him and obey.

[Muslim] An-Nawawi may Allah be pleased with 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 Allah, 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 Dawood, An-Nasa’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-Sahih Al-Musnad min Asbaab An-Nuzool (a collection of authenticated Hadith concerning the occasions of the Quranic revelations) did not list the Hadith among the Sahih= authentic Hadith cited in this chapter.

 Even if we assume that it is Sahih=authentic, the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not dispraise Nabtal because of his color or appearance but rather his impiety and ill manners.

With regard to the Hadith reported by Abu Ad-Darda’ may Allah be pleased with him it is Dha‘eef=Weak (weak); Al-Arnaa’oot classified it as Dha‘eef=Weak in his revision of Imam Ahmad’s Musnad. Even if we assumed that the Hadith is Sahih= authentic, 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 Allah) continues to lie until a black spot is scratched on his heart, until his whole heart becomes black”

“He described it as black because black is the color of disbelief; Allah, 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 Ahadith 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 Shari’ah presents and according to what is intended by it.

Racism is a fatal disease and a very dangerous matter. Whenever it spreads in the community, it divides them into groups and parties. The racists act according to their emotions rather than their minds. Islam totally disapproves of this and strongly condemns it.

Islam teaches us that the origin of all mankind is one; all of them belong to Adam and Adam was created from dust. Allah Says (what means): {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. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.} [Quran 49:13]

Allah made different groups and tribes only to allow them to know one another, and not to stimulate boasting or fighting between them. The difference of languages, colors, nationalities, and wealth are not criteria to boast and show off.

Indeed, supremacy and superiority are based only on piety (Taqwa, God fearing) and this is something between Allah and his slaves and no one knows its extent except Allah Alone. The location of piety is the person’s heart and Allah Alone knows what the hearts conceal.

Allah Says (what means): {then it is truly from the piety of the heart.} [Quran 22:32]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The piety is here, (and while saying so), he pointed towards his chest thrice. It is a serious evil for a Muslim to look down upon his Muslim brother. All things of a Muslim are inviolable from his brother in faith, his blood, his wealth and his honor (should be respected).” [Muslim]

In fact, the differences of languages and colors are among the wonderful signs of Allah that proves His Might and Greatness. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said in his last sermon: “There is no preference of an Arab over a Non-Arab, or a white over a black, or a black over a white, except by the (degree) of piety.” [Ahmad]

In another Hadith the Prophet, peace be upon him, said about racism: “Leave it (that call) as it is a detestable thing.” [Reported by Imam al-Bukhari]

Therefore, racism is totally rejected by Islamic teachings. Muslim scholars and reformers have always denounced it. It has always been the weapon of foolish and arrogant people; by using these hateful feelings they always cause much harm to mankind as a whole.

The founder of racism is Iblees (Satan) who objected to Allah’s Order when ordered him to prostrate to Adam. He claimed: {[Satan] said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.”} [Quran 7:12]

So, Allah punished Satan by driving him away from His Mercy and Blessings. Therefore, whoever is affected by this disease should fear Allah and try his best to get rid of it, seeking refuge with Allah.

The best way that could help one to get rid of this disease is to ponder over the Quran and Sunnah, and to read the biography of the companions of the Prophet peace be upon him.

Allah knows best.

Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar

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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.