Who Is the First Anti-Racist in Human History?

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By Dr. Craig Considine

This video presents the story of the primary anti-racist, from the seventh century, who set in movement common rules that perpetually modified the discourse on racial equality.

Transcript

Bilal ibn Rabah was born into slavery, a situation that was compounded after he grew to become one of many first believers to comply with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

Bilal’s father was an Arab slave and his mom was a former princess of contemporary day Ethiopia, who was additionally enslaved.

Bilal was dominated by a grasp, who punished him for his conversion to Islam. He dragged Bilal round Makkah, encouraging folks to mock him. He even tried to drive him to resign his religion by putting a big rock on his chest and pinning him on the bottom.

But removed from renouncing his religion, Bilal confirmed a defiance and energy within the face of persecution and violence.

Impressed by Bilal’s steadfastness to the Islamic religion, Prophet Muhammad despatched considered one of his closest pals, Abu Bakr, to pay for Bilal’s freedom.

Bilal, the Muezzin of the Prophet Muhammad (God Bless Him and Grant Him Peace)

Once freed, Bilal rose to prominence within the early Muslim group. Prophet Muhammad appointed him to serve the mosque by utilizing his melodious voice to name the believers to prayer.

Bilal was a black man, and, for some, his blackness made him unfit for such an honor.

On one event, a companion of the Prophet, a person named Abu Dhar, disparagingly stated to Bilal, “You, son of a black woman.”

This drew a swift rebuke from Prophet Muhammad.

“Are you taunting him about his black mother?” requested the Prophet. “There is still some influence of ignorance in you.”

The ignorance the Prophet recognized was rooted within the misguided view that an individual’s race displays his or her ethical character or social standing.

In reality, the Prophet Muhammad’s message of racial equality stood in stark distinction to the prevalent racial animosities of seventh century Arabia.

Scholars consult with the interval previous to the appearance of Islam as Jahiliyyah, a time of ignorance, which included racism.

The First Declaration of Racial Equality

Arguably, Prophet Muhammad was the primary individual in human historical past to declare, in no unsure phrases, that no individual is above one other by advantage of race or ethnicity.

This declaration is crystallized in one of many Prophet’s notable speeches: His Last Sermon, as it’s recognized, which was delivered on Mount Arafat in 632 A.D.

In that sermon, the Prophet Muhammad unequivocally condemned racism when he stated:

“All mankind is descended from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab. And a non-Arab has no superiority over an Arab. A white person has no superiority over a black person, nor a black person has any superiority over a white person, except by piety and good action.”

Ever since then, Prophet Muhammad’s teachings on racial equality have impressed human beings to try for racial equality and justice for all.

Malcolm X’s Life-Changing Journey to Mecca

Consider the lifetime of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, extra generally often known as Malcolm X, the black, Muslim civil rights chief who battled racism within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties.

After performing the Hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage, to the town of Makkah, Malcolm wrote his well-known letter from Makkah wherein he stated:

“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue eyed blondes, to black skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white.”

He added that he had by no means earlier than seen honest and true brotherhood practiced by all colours collectively, regardless of their coloration.

The Hajj, for Malcolm, represented a shift away from racism and in direction of racial equality.

Striving Towards Anti-racism

The teachings of Prophet Muhammad inspired all folks to try in direction of anti-racism, which is sort of completely different than merely non-racism.

While non-racists don’t overtly specific prejudiced views, in addition they don’t work to dismantle racism in any given society.

The Prophet of Islam actively challenged and dismantled the covert, the overt, and the systematic racism round him. He recognized racism as a symptom and recognized its root trigger as conceitedness within the human coronary heart.

As our world turns into increasingly more various and interconnected, it’s crucial that we try to comply with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

I’m not a Muslim myself, however I’ve to say that I’m deeply impressed by the anti-racism of Prophet Muhammad, as a result of he confirmed that an individual is distinguished over one other not by race, however, somewhat, by the standard of 1’s character and conduct.

I’m Craig Considine for the Emir Stein Center.

 

About the writer:

Dr. Craig Considine is a scholar, professor, world speaker, and media contributor primarily based on the Department of Sociology at Rice University. He is the writer of The Humanity of Muhammad: A Christian View (Blue Dome Press, 2020), and Islam in America: Exploring the Issues (ABC-CLIO 2019), amongst others.

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