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Islam and Racism

By:
Hojjat al-Islam Hashmi Rafsanjani
Former President of Islamic Republic of Iran

See what Islam has done one thousand and four hundred years ago when racial discrimination was at its peak in Arabia, and when no genuine Arab was at all ready to have his blood mingled with that of the Iranians, Romans, Africans, and others. In the Quranic verse which I recited at the outset of the Khutbah (sermon) the holy Prophet (S) announced that Allah (SWT) says: "O You men! surely We have created you of a male (father) and a female (mother), and made you nations and tribes so that you may know one another; surely the most honourable (privileged) of you with Allah is the most pious God-fearing among you ...(49:13)."
Here taqwa (God-fearing and piety) is introduced as a pivot and main criterion, and the black, white, yellow and the red races are not different from one another. The Holy Prophet (S) ideologically directed the people quitely well. From the practical point of view, the Holy Prophet (S) went ahead so far that he appointed a person like Bilal Al-Habashi as mu'adhdhin (one who recites the call for salat), who was a pious God-fearing man but had a very rough African face and a quite bad voice.
When for the first time, the honourable Bilal, with such an appearance and a voice, went atop the minaret of Ka`bah and recited the adhan, the Makkan aristocrats stuffed their ears and said, "We ignored all the calamities which have befallen us by the Prophet himself. Now, who is this person?" Well, it was not so, that the Prophet (S) hated a melodious and good voice. We know that good voice has been commendable.
When Al-Imam As-Sajjad Ali Ibn Al-Husayn (A) used to recite the Holy Quran, the water-carrier who carried water to the house of the Imam remained listening at the door for so long that the water in the water-skin on his shoulder would leak drop by drop and be finished. In the Holy Quran, there is reference to the good voice of Prophet Dawud (A) as well.
It was also untrue that the Holy Prophet (S) wanted to welcome a bad voice, but he wanted to emphasize the values. He placed facial colour, superficial beauty, and a good voice as secondary criteria. He highly valued the personality, taqwa, and combatant spirit of Bilal. And Bilal became such a prominent figure of the Islamic State. This is the axis of the Holy Prophet's movement which, Allah (SWT) willing, I will take up in the other parts of my discussion. The Prophet (S) had resolved this matter at that time.
Salman Al-Farsi, who was a non-Arab, was considered by the Prophet (S) as one of the Ahlul-Bayt (A) (Members of the Household of the Holy Prophet (S) [1]. Al-Miqdad, who was the son of a negro woman, became one of the close confidants of the Prophet (S). Allah (SWT) willing, we will place these facts against the deeds of the Europeans who claim to be the advocates of humanity, democracy, and human rights. You will see, how Islam has resolved these very important matters, and has made them revolve around the axis of taqwa (God-fearing and piety).
And you'll see how the world is now suffering with this problem of racism.
Today the Europeans and the Americans commit all the evil deeds of the racists while changing their names into good ones.
Notes
[1] The Holy Prophet (S) said: "Salman is from among us Ahlul-Bayt (Members, of the Household of the Holy Prophet)"

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