If a Muslim treats another Muslim badly due to his race or says offensive words to him due to his nationality, is he regarded to have violated that Muslim’s rights? Will he be called to account for it in the Gathering Place in the hereafter?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The religion of Islam does not attach importance to concepts such as racism, regionalism and color. It attaches importance only to belief and good deeds. If a person’s creed is sound and his deeds are good, he has great value in the eye of Allah. If he does not have belief and good deeds, he is worthless regardless of his race, color and appearance. God Almighty states the following:

“Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (1).

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

“Allah does not look at your shapes. He looks at your heart and your deeds.”

The religion of Islam does not look at race or color because the origin of all people is the same and they come from Adam (pbuh). They originate from soil in essence and will return to soil. Therefore, the religion of Islam does not attach importance to concepts such as race and color. Many people in the past boasted and were proud of their race and color but no one takes them into consideration today and they have been forgotten because they had no virtues such as belief and knowledge.

There are also many people who have been known internationally and have not been forgotten regardless of their race and color because their belief and knowledge elevated them. Therefore, it is of ignorance to talk about race, color and region. It stems from not knowing the identity of man. It is Allah who gives colors and divides people into various races. Man has no role regarding the issue. Therefore, no one can claim to be superior - for example because of being Turkish or Arab or because of having white skin. Even if they do, it is meaningless. One does not acquire his race and color by working. If he obtained them as a result of working, it might be appropriate to claim superiority in a sense. However, since his essence and attributes were created outside of his will, he should not talk about them.

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith:

“All of you are descended from Adam and Adam is from soil. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, or a white person over a black person. Superiority is only through taqwa (piety).”

Once, Abu Dharr Ghifari addressed Bilal as follows:  

“O son of black people!” When the Prophet (pbuh) heard it, he said,

“You have gone beyond the limits. The son of white people has no superiority over the son of black people. Superiority is through taqwa.” 

The religion of Islam addresses humanity and says many things in order to eliminate those negative concepts. We would like to quote four of them:

1. “O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person.” (2).

2. "O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah.” (3).

3. “That man can have nothing but what he strives for.” (4).

4. “Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (5)

All the Quranic verses above state that the origin of al humans is the same, that there is no difference among them, and that race, color, language and region do not change the identity of a person. The first verse states that the origin of all people is the same and that they come from a single father; the second verse states that all people are an ummah and that the religion of Islam was sent for all of them; the third verse states that the criterion for reward and punishment is not race, color and region but deeds; the fourth verse states that the only criterion for honor and virtue is good deeds.

A person can and should love his own relatives, tribe and nation. However, he cannot help them related to injustice.

Once, a man said to the Prophet (pbuh):

Is it regarded racism for a person to love his tribe?” The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“It is not regarded racism for a person to love his tribe. Helping his tribe related to oppression and injustice is regarded as racism.”

Footnotes:

1. al-Hujurat, 13.
2. an-Nisa, l.
3. al-Araf, 158.
4. an-Najm, 39.
5. al-Hujurat, 13.

(see Halil GÜNENÇ, Günümüz Meselelerine Fetvalar, II/307)

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