The Criticizm expressed when calling to issues concerning Black People
Published on Facebook
by Imam Na'eem Abdullah
Whenever African-Americans or Black people come together, try to build or mobilize - before we can even get to the heart of the issue - we often get into debates, arguments or endless back-and-forths about what we should and should not call ourselves. Even if someone makes a statement, for example, and says “Us Black People, need to ….”; often times we will be arguing about referring to ourselves as “Black” and completely ignore what needs to be done. This confusion has even crept into the Muslim Ummah. This really shouldn’t be a big issue for the Muslim because we have the Book of Allah and Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) which represents the final word on all issues.
﴿يَا أَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي ٱلأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ إِن كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلآخِرِ ذٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً﴾
O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you should disagree, about anything, refer it to Allah, and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day; that is better, for you and more excellent in interpretation. - Qur'an: Surah an-Nisaa' (4), ayat 59.
As Black Muslims (yes, I said Black Muslims) who are waking up to the reality that we have issues which are unique to us; we are also waking up to the fact that Islam, which has the cure to each of these ailments, has been presented to us in an incomplete & impotent form. Not only that, but it appears that the representatives of Ummah have turned a blind eye to our plight. So no one is coming to save us! That’s the reality! As we come out of our slumber, many of us find ourselves debating on what to call ourselves.
Some of us have a problem with being called “Black” for any number of reasons. The reality of the modern world is that its architects have engineered a social hierarchy with “White” at the top and “Black” at the bottom. Everybody knows this even if they don’t openly admit it. Therefore, most people will do anything to be associated with “White” and very few people want to be associated with anything “Black”.
Others insist that we should be named by the “nation” which we claim. And the list goes on!
There are some Muslims who correct, condemn or otherwise attack any Muslim who identifies as “Black”. Some of them say it is wrong to refer to any human by means of color. This is what I have a problem with! It is clear to me that those who have this opinion did not consult Allah and His Messenger when forming this opinion.
عَنْ جَابِرِ عَبْدِ اللهِ الْأَنْصَارِيِّ قَالَ: قَالَ ((كَانَ كُلُّ نَبِيٍ يُبْعَثُ إِلَى قَوْمِهِ خَاصَّةً، وَ بُعِثْتُ إِلَى كُلِّ أَحْمَرَ وَ أَسْوَدَ)) رَوَاهُ مُسْلِم
It has been narrated on the authority of Jābir Ibn Abdullah al-Ansārī who said the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said “Every Prophet was sent only to his own people, but I have been sent to the Red (i.e. the whites) and the Black.” This hadith has been related by Muslim in his Sahīh in the Book of Salāt.
قَالَ الْقَاضِي عِيَاض فِي كَتَابِ الشِّفَا "قِيلَ: السُّودُ الْعَرَبُ لِأَنَّ الْغَالِبَ عَلَى أَلْوَانِهِمِ الْأَدْمَةُ، فَهُمْ مِنَ السُّودِ. وَ الْحُمْرُ: الْعَجَمُ.
Qādī ‘Iyād says in his book Ash-Shifā’: “It is said that the Black (in this hadith) refers to the Arabs because most of their skin color is black. Therefore they are from among the Blacks. And the red refers to the non-Arabs (al-‘Ajam).”
Imām an-Nawawī says the same thing in his own words in his commentary of this hadith.
عَنْ أَبِي نَضْرَةَ حَدَّثَنِي مَنْ سَمِعَ خُطْبَةَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي وَسَطِ أَيَّامِ التَّشْرِيقِ فَقَالَ ((يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّ أَبَاكُمْ وَاحِدٌ أَلَا لَا فَضْلَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلَى عَجَمِيٍّ وَلَا لِعَجَمِيٍّ عَلَى عَرَبِيٍّ وَلَا لِأَحْمَرَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ وَلَا أَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَحْمَرَ إِلَّا بِالتَّقْوَى أَبَلَّغْتُ؟)) قَالُوا بَلَّعَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سلَّمَ رَوَاهُ أَحْمَد
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Nadrah that someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) on the second of the Days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O mankind! Verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab; or of a non-Arab over an Arab, of a Red (i.e. White) over a Black, or of a Black over a Red, except in terms of Taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has conveyed the message. – This hadith has been related by Ahmad.
I have mentioned these 2 well-known statements of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to illustrate that he himself used color as a means of identifying people. He not only used “Black” to identify us but he included the Arabs among them. Therefore, if anyone claims it is bad to identify as “Black” they are claiming that the Messenger of Allah is also wrong! Allah forbid that any Muslim would impute any such fault to Allah’s Last Prophet and Messenger! I prefer the opinion and position of Prophet Muhammad over and above that of any other man, period!